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Five books for armchair travelling

If you love travelling as I do, then these are difficult times. You’re pretty much stuck in your home and the sight of your neighbour’s…

If you love travelling as I do, then these are difficult times. You’re pretty much stuck in your home and the sight of your neighbour’s porch is like going to London, since it’s the farthest you can go. And if you visit family from time to time, that’s basically like your annual holiday to Dubai but this time you look like you are in a Sci-fi movie all kitted up in masks and gloves and shying away from eating a snack as that might mean, you remove your mask.

These are challenging times. I am not a great fan of flying, but once I settle down in a plane on my way somewhere, the buzz is indescribable. And to think that I might not get to see the inside of an international flight for a while is daunting. But in these pandemic times, we all learn new ways of doing things.

So, here we are with book and time travel. Remind yourself of your last holiday and travel from your couch to those places. Memories are pearls. Remind yourself of the most fun you had on a holiday or at an International conference. Plot your next holiday, maybe in a year. Check out where you did not visit the last time and plan your holiday right. I am currently writing down places I have always wanted to visit. Antarctica, Latin America, the two continents that I still have not managed to visit in my well-oiled travel history across the world. But today, I would like to guide you in your travelling from your armchair through books and honestly, it’s a great sport for just travelling around the world. Quite exciting.

Here is my selection.


1. Ox Travels. This is one of my favourite books for time travel of all times. Used to raise funds for the British charity Oxfam, it’s a collection of shorts by over 30 travel writers on various encounters across the world. The window of travel opportunity is amazing. From Aminata Forna’s Beggar King about her return to her home country during the war and the amazing performance of a beggar at the Freetown airport to the tiger re-incarnation stories in humans and the story of Buddhist nuns whose greatest sacrifice is a hunger strike where they eventually give up their bodies, no collection has taken me around the world to incredible places to meet amazing people like Ox travels. Edited by one of the finest travel writers, Michael Palin, this is a highly recommended book for travelling from your couch during this pandemic. A most enjoyable book.

2. The Art of War by Sun Tzu. This book about military strategy written in the 5th century continues to resonate across the world. How best to understand how the Chinese are dominating the world. Written by Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, it has continued to inspire military strategists in Eastern and Western Europe, while influencing strategy in legal affairs, lifestyle and other related areas. Travel to 5th century China and today’s China through this classic.

3. 1,000 books to read before you die by Patricia Shultz is a handy travel guide. Travel is such a good education and I have been blessed to go from Sweden to the US, to China and Thailand, From Ghana to Senegal, to Mali and Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Senegal to the Netherlands. From the UK to Malta to Mauritius and France among many, many countries I have been very lucky to visit, I am doubly educated as a result. Sarah Baxter’s book helps you plan your next adventure. It has 1,100 dazzling pictures and over 500 lively texts. The world as you have never seen it before. Grab a copy.

4. Hidden Places by Sarah Baxter. Sarah takes you to the places you never even knew you should be. Also, destinations you can only access by foot from the safari in Kenya, to the phantom of Germany’s black forest, as well as the jungle, covered belly of the Mayan. Find the secret Citadels with Sarah. A wonderful book.

5. Stories of the Sahara is written by novelist and free-spirited explorer, Sanmao. She takes us through the hottest deserts of the Sahara coloured by her memories in an incredible travelogue. Really, in the end, all travellers want to find is a sense of belonging in a world that does not make sense. Eye-opening journeys to desert bathhouses, a storm in the desert and adventures into the unknown. We may be Africans but we truly have never travelled across our continent as we should. Plan your post-COVID trip from your armchair and enjoy this armchair adventure. It’s worth it. Trust me!



This is when to travel through cooking. Food is a journey. Grab a Greek cookbook or an Indian or Chinese cookbook and travel with the author through cooking. Surprise your family.

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