travel books

Souvenir Sunday: read an illustrated history of travel

Journey – an Illustrated History of Travel, published by DK in association with the Smithsonian Institution, arrived in the mail a few weeks back and our household has been leafing through it since then.

It’s a big coffee table-style book – 440 pages, in full color and pretty heavy – and is separated into 7 chapters, or “ages,” each tackling advances, experiences and the means by which humans have made their way around the world.

Chapters 1 through 3 tackle the Ancient World (including travel in ancient Egypt and the travels of Odysseus and Alexander the Great), travel that powered trade and conquests, including the travels of Marco Polo, and The Age of Discovery, when explorers set out to find “new” parts of the world.

Chapters 4 through 7 dig deep into the ‘The Age of Empires’, ‘The Age of Steam,’ ‘The Golden Age of Travel,’ and “The Age of Flight,’ with lots more achival images, historic maps, artifact images, bits of journals, and works of art.

I was delighted to find a spread on the Wunderkammern – or curiosity cabinets – that collectors began putting together in the 16th century to show off souvenirs such as shells, preserved animals, scientific and mechanical obects, and other odd tidbits they’d picked up on far off journeys or purchased from others who had gone on adventures.

The three voyages of Captian Cook are detailed, as are the inventions and inventors that brought the world flight.

There are sections on the rise of the manufactured souvenir, World’s Fairs, Grand Hotels, luggage labels, national parks, efforts to create maps that accurately reflect the world and parts of it, camping, Route 66, travel to every corner of the world, the Jet Age, space travel – and much, much more.

Towards the end of this big book there’s a section of biographies stretching from Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, to Amelia Earhart, Thor Heyerdahl, Ernest Shackleton, and Amerigo Vespucci.

This one is a keeper and a good gift for anyone interested in travel or history.

All images from Journey – an Illustrated History of Travel.


Travel and read: titles to consider

Here are some of the travel-related books that have shown up on my doorstep recently.

All are on my ‘must-read’ list for the next few weeks.

Former flight attendant and great writer, Tiffany Hawk, has written Love Me Anyway, a novel about the “complexities of love, friendship and family – and the excitement and loneliness that comes from living everywhere and nowhere, and the surprising detours life can take when you set out to discover the world.”

Author, artist, songwriter (and more), Julia Cameron has written Safe Journey: Prayers and Comfort for Frightened Flyers and Other Anxious Souls :

Pilot and air travel writer Patrick Smith debuts Cockpit Confidential – Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel in early May and it’s jam-packed with information about the nuts and bolts of flying as well as lots of behind-the-scenes information and even a handy glossary. I’ll be circling back around in a few days with details about my interview with Smith on the book.

And, in the guidebook category, I’m thinking of booking a trip to New York City just so I have an excuse to visit all the cool things and destinations described in Secret New York: An Unusual Guide , by T.M. Rives.

What’s on your bookshelf?