GrandAhh, the road trip. There’s something terribly appealing about the idea of packing a bag and taking a car or motorcycle, or other mode of transportation, and setting your sights on the dusty freedom of the highway. The romance of such a journey has tempted many writers and resulted in some gorgeous classics - both fictional stories and true accounts. Perhaps the most famous would be Jack Kerouac's On the Road, an homage to the jaded, poetic nihilism of the Beat Generation from various cars and buses, with an eclectic mix of companions along the way, exploring America and Mexico.

Others set out with strange agendas, such as English comedian Tony Hawks, who wrote 'Round Ireland in a Fridge after making a drunken bar bet that he could hitchhike around Ireland with a refrigerator, or famous chef Anthony Bourdain, who travelled around the world on a quest to find the perfect meal in his book A Cook's Tour.

From the rumbling seats of Harley Davidsons, to the backs of pickup trucks and beyond, let the siren song of the open road pull you in with these 25 essential road trip reads.

25 Road Trip Reads

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert M. Pirsig

A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Hunter S. Thompson


A simple assignment to drive to Las Vegas and write a short article about a motorcycle race goes bizarrely astray in this drug-fuelled, surreal tale.


On the Road by Jack Kerouac
On the Road
Jack Kerouac



While presented as a novel, this beat classic about hitchhiking and exploring America and Mexico is widely acknowledged to be autobiographical.



Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
Travels with Charley
John Steinbeck


In 1960, at age 58, John Steinbeck set out with his French poodle, Charley, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.



The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
The Bean Trees
Barbara Kingsolver



Taylor leaves the familiarity of small-town home in a dilapidated Volkswagen Beetle and on her road trip, discovers new friends and even new family.



Road Fever: A High-Speed Travelogue by Tim Cahill
Road Fever: A High-Speed Travelogue
Tim Cahill

The road trip to end all road trips: from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a record-breaking 23.5 days.



Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon
Blue Highways
William Least Heat Moon

At a turning point in his life, William Least Heat-Moon packed up a van he called Ghost Dancing and escaped out of monotony and into the American countryside.

 

Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers
Investment Biker
Jim Rogers


A world renowned financier covers terrain--both literary and geographic--where no man, and certainly no investor, has ever gone before. On a motorcycle.



The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
The Songlines
Bruce Chatwin


Part adventure story, part philosophical essay, this extraordinary book takes Bruce Chatwin into the heart of Australia on a search for the source and meaning of man's restless nature.



Charles Kuralt's America: Charles Kuralt
Charles Kuralt's America
Charles Kuralt

In this wonderful memoir that spans some 30 years, Kuralt recounts his many journeys and adventures all across the country in a battered motor home.



Smile, You're Travelling by Henry Rollins
Smile, You're Travelling
Henry Rollins


The former punk rock guru chronicles a year spent rehearsing, recording, and touring for the Rollins Band's final album, and shares travel stories from his trip around the world.



A Cook's Tour : Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines by Anthony Bourdain
A Cook's Tour
Anthony Bourdain



Inspired by the question, "What would be the perfect meal?," from California to Cambodia, A Cook's Tour chronicles the unpredictable adventures of America's boldest and bravest chef.



My Mercedes is Not for Sale: From Amsterdam to Ouagadougou...an Auto-Misadventure Across the Sahara by Jeroen Van Bergeijk
My Mercedes is Not for Sale
Jeroen Van Bergeijk


The author road-trips from Holland to Africa in a rusty, 1988 Mercedes, encountering corrupt border guards, active minefields and more along the way.





Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure by Dave Gorman
Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure
Dave Gorman

The tale of how a UK comedian's obsession with an internet word game took him around the world meeting eclectic people and gathering material.

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman
Long Way Round
Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman


McGregor and Boorman travel Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia; across the Pacific to Alaska; then down through Canada all the way to New York - on motorcycles.



Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon
Jupiter's Travels
Ted Simon



In the late '70s, Ted Simon rode 63,000 miles over four years through 54 countries in a journey that took him around the world, through breakdowns, revolutions and more.



The Road to McCarthy by Pete McCarthy
The Road to McCarthy
Pete McCarthy


In search of his Irish roots, McCarthy travels from Morocco, where he tracks down the unlikely chief of the McCarthy clan, to New York, and finally remote McCarthy, Alaska.



Vroom with a View : In Search of Italy's Dolce Vita on a '61 Vespa by Peter Moore
Vroom with a View
Peter Moore



A side of Italy rarely seen, with Peter Moore rattling around the country on an ageing Vespa scooter — like himself, a little rough around the edges, but basically still OK.



Hey, Dad! by Brian Doyle
Hey, Dad!
Brian Doyle



The road trip across Canada starts out as a nightmare for teenaged Megan trapped in the car with family, but becomes an unforgettable experience.



The Motorcycle Diaries : A Journey Around South America by Ernesto Che Guevara
The Motorcycle Diaries
Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Three years before Che Guevara's fateful meeting with Fidel Castro, he set out on his motorcycle on an eight-month voyage of discovery around Latin America.



Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
Round Ireland with a Fridge
Tony Hawks

Tony Hawks made his way from Dublin all over Ireland--and back again to Dublin. Hitchhiking. Accompanied by a refrigerator. Be careful making bets while drunk.



Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita
Vladimir Nabokov


While Lolita is a tale of obsession, it is also a classic road trip book, with much of Humbert Humbert's interaction with Lolita occurring in a car, driving across America.


Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron
Shadow of the Silk Road
Colin Thubron

Colin Thubron covered some 7,000 miles in eight months—out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey.





The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer

From the Wife of Bath to the plowman to the knight, Chaucer's witty, bawdy characters recount their backgrounds on this pilgrimage to be remembered.



Route 66: The Mother Road by Michael Wallis
Route 66: The Mother Road
Michael Wallis

A fascinating social history of Route 66, which spurred a revival of the dying American road, evokes the magic of the people and landscapes that surround it.

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