I am a bookworm and whenever I am engrossed into a good book I am fully immersed, even more so, when it covers a destination, which is a fantastic way to travel without even getting on a plane! From a good book you can glean so much about a place, whether its the history, the culture, the people or even the wildlife.
If I know I happen to be travelling to a specific destination soon, I love pre-reading travel stories about the place, to build up the excitement! I also love reading books based in Kenya, non-fiction and fiction,where I am from, as its lovely to have all the familiarity as well as learn about its history, politics, culture and wildlife.
Born Free by Joy Adamson
Growing up in Kenya, one of my favourite books has been Born Free by Joy Adamson, which details Joy and her husband’s efforts to raise and rehabilitate lions in Kenya in the mid-20th century, with a particular focus on a lioness called Elsa.
I think its where my love for Wildlife Conservation stemmed from and it also gives an in depth insight into issues and controversies that surrounded different approaches to conservation and animal rehabilitation that continue to this day, such as trophy hunting and poaching, although we also now have new issues such as unethical animal tourism with the rise of social media and destinations seeking new ways to make money, often at the expense of animals.
Since then, the Born Free Foundation, set up by actress Virginia McKenna who starred as Joy in the film Born Free based on the book, and her son Will, has been an organisation I have supported, as I admire their efforts in Wildlife Conservation globally.
The Born Free Foundation has also published a children’s version of this book, making it a great introduction for kids who may be going on safari for the first time.
Find out more about Born Free here.
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
If you are interested in colonial Kenya, Out of Africa is the first hand account of Danish Karen Blixen who travels out to what was then British East Africa to marry her second cousin and to start a coffee plantation.
In Nairobi you can visit the Karen Blixen Museum which was her former farm and residence until 1931, somewhere I visited after reading the book a few years ago.
The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre
John Le Carre is one of my favourite fiction authors and his book The Constant Gardener (also a film) is about a British Diplomat who believes that the murder of his activist wife in Kenya has more sinister roots than reported.
The novel touches on corruption and explores the darker more troubling side of the after effects of colonialism and independence.
Particularly resonating with me is the location of some of the book, in Muthaiga, where I actually live in Nairobi!
Read about Kenya here:
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Never have I wanted to visit Tuscany and buy a rural Tuscan villa more than when I read Frances Mayes ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ about finding out her husband is cheating on her from a writer whom she gave a bad review, and then going into depression. In an attempt to rise from it, she is encouraged by her best friend to take a tour of Italy, during which on a whim she decided to decides to buy a rural Tuscan villa. While my husband isn’t cheating on me, it is the descriptions in the book that had me intrigued about the Tuscan countryside and when I arrived myself eventually (without the funds to buy a villa sadly), it was just as described and blew me away!
Read about Tuscany here:Things to do in Tuscany
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Has a movie/book/TV series inspired travel or have you visited set locations in a certain destination? I would love to know in the comments below xx