With summer just round the corner, you can be forgiven for letting your mind wander to your summer plans and how you will escape the humdrum of day-to-day life. One such way would be to embark on a road trip around Europe. Set a starting point, home for example, a furthest point, Poland perhaps, and map-out a proposed round-trip route.
If you’ve never done anything like this before, you’d be excused for having a few nerves. But you will be entering into a long and romantic tradition of road tripping. There are many books you could read to get you into the spirit, or to take with you as holiday reading. Here are five great books:
1. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
The ultimate road trip book has recently been made into a Hollywood hit. This book follows the passage of Sal Paradise from New York along the iconic Route 66 all the way to Los Angeles, California. This book really portrays the freedom that setting out on the road can offer.
The passage from North East to South West America is a well-trodden one in both real life and fiction. For many Americans it is a way of retracing their heritage. The Californian gold rush of the early 20th century saw many poor Americans pack all their belongings onto wagons and migrate across the vast continent to the riches promised in California. This is a powerful book that colourfully describes the joy to be found on the open road.
2. America Unchained – Dave Gorman
British comedian, Dave Gorman, wrote this book as an account of his month-long quest to travel from California to Georgia. This may not be the hardest journey, but it is the way he did it that makes his trip a challenge.
He set himself the mission of avoiding all chain-style businesses, a hard task in America. Fuel, food and accommodation had to be found while avoiding the chains. The question is did he succeed? You will have to read the book to find out.
3. Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
This is a book that looks at the sheer amount of time needed to embark on such a long road trip. The open road gives drivers the space and freedom to get lost in their own thoughts and think their problems through. Travelling by bike, Pirsig explores his own mind more so than the roads etched into the American landscape. Will your road trip offer such peace and quiet?
4. Round Ireland With a Fridge – Tony Hawks
This British comedian and author’s journey started as many hair-brain plans tend to, with a bar bet. The challenge was thrown down to hitchhike around Ireland … with a fridge.
What really makes this book worth reading is the weirdoes and oddballs you are bound to attract trying to hitchhike with a fridge in tow. A prince and bogus king are just a few of the friends he and his companion made along the way. What is even more surprising is how well received he was by the people of Ireland as he travelled around, becoming an iconic image during his month’s travel.
5. Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck
This travelogue details the trip around the United States that Steinbeck took with Charley, his trusted companion who just so happens to be his French standard poodle. The journey is taken in a camper van so that he and his best friend can try and experience a personal attachment with the nation around them. This is certainly something that will be on offer to any road tripper. As you travel through regions and across boundaries the diverse makeup of a country and continent is unravelled. This experience is something you will never feel when you choose a plane as your means of travel.
Have these books made you think twice about taking a road trip? Perhaps you will need a car? Hire one from easyCar and hit the open road. Taking these books with you on any road trip, big or small, is sure to set your imagination running and make you appreciate the joy of independence and freedom you find on the open road.