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The Audiobook Team’s Summer Travel Picks

By Cameron Phillips, Nuria Berbel Torres and Sarunicka Satkuruparan

Summer is here and, as it is often a time of travelling and relaxing, we consider it a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some reading. So, what better way to start the season than by looking at our recommendations for our favourite travel themed audiobooks?

Whether you are a seasoned traveller looking for inspiration on your next adventure, or interested in immersing yourself in a new culture and environment, these listens offer something for everyone.

Cameron’s Pick: In the Weeds, written and narrated by Tom Vitale

Tom Vitale is the long-time friend and producer of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, and In the Weeds is more than just a behind-the-scenes look into the life and travels of an extraordinary man. It is a glimpse through the stained looking-glass into a man who is obsessed with life, culture and how food can tell stories, all through the vehicle of travel. Vitale’s own observations are just as poignant as Bourdain’s, and it is always interesting to see how men like Bourdain are intimately presented. The book takes us back to the places we visited in Bourdain’s award winning travel documentaries No Reservations and Parts Unknown and delicately takes us through both Vitale and Bourdain’s thoughts during filming. It must be very hard to be sincere knowing you are filming something for a mass audience, so this book perhaps offers a greater scope for the thoughts and philosophies of the subjects in question, whether it be about a simple meal the two are having, or conversations concerning the ideas of cultural spaces, travel and cultural assimilation through cooking and food.

Anyone interested in travel and food, but also questions about self and culture, should definitely listen to this fantastic audiobook.

Nuria’s Pick: The Meaning of Travel by Emily Thomas, narrated by Esther Wane

My pick for this week's topic gets right down to the philosophy of why we travel. How can we think more deeply about our travels? This was the question that inspired Emily Thomas to embark on a journey that explored travelling with a philosophical perspective. Part travelogue, part philosophical ramblings is how this book is best described. She begins her exploration in the age of discovery, when travelling started becoming a topic of interest for philosophers. She explores different perspectives, from John Locke’s work on cannibals, Montaigne on otherness and Henry Thoreau on wilderness. On her travels, Thomas enlightens the readers on the dark side of maps and how the philosophy of space fuelled mountain tourism. She also enables us to confront profound issues such as ‘doom tourism’ and its ethics. Narrated by Esther Wane, this is a perfect book for people who love travelling and a great companion for your summer trips. It will help you ponder deeply about yourself and your tourism habits, as well as reshaping your understanding of travel.

Kathryn’s Pick: A Year in Provence, written and narrated by Peter Mayle

I love summer listens that allow me to vicariously live through the travels and adventures of others from around the world. One of my favourite summer picks is A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. This is one of those stories that is meant to be heard, crafting a comforting, beautiful audiobook that transports you to the region of Provence, France.

Mayle is an endearing narrator, inviting you to step into a relaxing life of lavender fields, vineyards and warm summer days on the southern coast of France. A Year in Provence grapples with the difficulty of being inundated with newness as Mayle and his wife transition from wary tourists to contented locals and, finally, family. At times, being away from what is comfortable is frightening, but this travel memoir explores this newness with courage and empowers listeners to do the same. A Year in Provence is the first in Mayle’s travel memoir series. Anyone interested in learning more about this beautiful region and culture will find Mayle’s journey fascinating.

This charming listen inspired my own travels to the south of France and is a lovely companion to inspire your next adventure.


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