Last updated October 28, 2017
1. Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs (2005) by Paul Carter
The author makes every word count in this semi-biography, as evidenced by his devoting 14 pages for the first 18 years of his life. Content to get the more mundane parts of his life out of the way, what follows are some hilarious escapades during his time working on oil rigs in far flung places such as Brunei, The Philippines, Nigeria and Russia.
Chock-a-block full of bar room fights, masturbating monkeys and the odd gruesome and lethal rigging story, this is definitely a guy who likes to live hard, party hard and write hard. Certainly one to avoid for the PC-brigade, but if you like your books raw and filled with hilarity, with a more puerile slant, than give this one a twirl.
For more of the same, read Carter’s follow-up book This is Not a Drill (2007), which picks up directly after this story. You might also want to have a look at Chuck Thompson’s To Hellholes and Back (2009) which is a read in other desperate places, albeit without the same hijinx antics.
2. Footloose: Sydney to London Without Flying (2015) by Mark Walters
Footloose is a comedic travelogue covering Walters 9 month overland journey from Sydney to London. The title refers to his penchant for jandals or flip-flops by virtue of not wanting to imprison his feet in closed shoes.
This is a book that will definitely divide people. For some, the off-key and inappropriate humour will be too much while for others it will be guaranteed to provide a laugh a minute. There is probably more laughter material contained within the covers than any other travel book I’ve ever read, with (sometimes questionable) humourous efforts every other sentence. If you’re not put off by the first chapter then this will be one of the funnier and more politically incorrect books you’ll read in some time.
Walters has published a further book Footloose: India (2017), which is as inappropriate as this book. If you’re looking for another Sydney to London jaunt with humour then check out The Wrong Way Home (1999) by Peter Moore, which Walters admits inspired him for this journey.
3. Lost on Planet China (2008) by J. Maarten Troost
Lost on Planet China is Troost's hiliarious travelogue based on his travels around China trying to come to grips with and understand this vast and complex country. Honest and at times unflattering, this is not your run of the mill fluff piece extolling the virtues and beauty of a country but instead shows what China is like from the eyes of a first time visitor.
Since writing his debut book, The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Troost has taken the travel writing scene by storm. Lost on Planet China improves on his earlier offering and provides twice the laughs. However, it is also sure to divide readers into groups that either love it or loathe it. With plenty of inflammatory comments and delivering a large number of gross generalisations based on his own limited experiences, anyone with a mind to, could classify his writings as xenophobic rantings. However, doing so deliberately misinterprets exactly what it is that Troost is setting out to do by writing his book - to entertain and that he does in spades.
Author's speaking with a similar voice to Troost, even if they don't quite write at the same standard, include Paul Carter and Mark Walters.
4. Whatever You Do, Don't Run (2007) by Peter Allison
Australian-born Peter Allison regales us with retellings of his experiences during his career as a safari guide in the Okavanga Delta in Botswana. Each relatively short chapter is self-contained and most of these which will have you laughing at the situations he and his “guests” find themselves in.
If this book leaves you wanting more, you’ll be pleased to know that Allison has written another book fun of more amusing anecdotes in his follow up book Don’t Look Behind You, But… (2009).
5. Hokkaido Highway Blues (1998) by Will Ferguson
Having drunken far too much Sapporo beer, Suntory whiskey and sake at the annual Faculty Cheery Blossom Viewing party, Ferguson is inspired by Japan's national obsession and announces that he will follow the Cherry Blossom Front all the way from Kyushu in the south of Japan up to Hokkaido in the north.
Cycnical without sneering, like a great sour lolly, Hokkaido Highway Blues manages to inform and educate on a wide range of topics in an effortlessly coherent and hiliarious fashion.
Hokkaido Highway Blues might be the funniest book that Best Travel Books has read to date, but Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw is a pretty close second.
6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971) by Hunter S. Thompson - NOVEL
Hunter S. Thompson's legendary road-trippin novel follows Raoul Duke and his Attorney, Dr Gonzo, on their drug-fuelled search for the American Dream in Las Vegas. The book that birthed gonzo journalism, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is widely considered as an American literary classic and one which deserves to read time and time again.
Written as a first-person narrative of someone heavily under the influence of drugs, the story comes across as completely unscripted, somewhat plotless and a paranoid stream of (sub)consciousness spewing up out of its pages. It is seriously depraved, hedonistic and entirely screwed up. There is some extremely heavy, sick $hit going down amidst all the drug taking, which in certain places makes for extremely uncomfortable reading, but which also bizarrely makes Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas not just funny, but extremely hiliarious.
7. Neither Here Nor There (1991) by Bill Bryson
The master of humourous travel writing thoroughly entertains us on his journeys through Scandanavia, Paris, the Low Countries, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. In amongst all of this he also manages to find something to write about in Liechtenstein, which is no small feat!
Bryson writes with killer wit partly retracing his steps from an earlier four month backpacking trip taken in 1973 with his friend Stephen Katz (who Bryson fans will recall from A Walk in the Woods). The retelling of some of these hiliarious stories into this book adds to his current experiences and our enjoyment of the overall story. A laugh-a-page travel book that is sure not to disappoint.
A hard task to try and find something that compares to Bryson’s writings, at least from a humour standpoint, but I Came, I Saw, I Lost My Luggage (1997) by Peter Biddlecombe has some very funny moments in some of the same countries that is definitely worth checking out. Also, New Europe (2007) by Michael Palin is plenty good too.
8. Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw (2004) by Will Ferguson
A funny and extremely well written book detailing Ferguson's travels "in search of Canada" among the outposts and enclaves of the Great White North during the early 2000's. Whilst the trips take place in a non-contiguous fashion over a period of three-and-a-half years, the quality of writing ensures that each of his excursions melds seamlessly with the next, as he travels from the southern end of Vancouver Island in the west to the northern tip of Newfoundland in the east.
Ferguson has a unique voice and storytelling style that is extremely sharp, wry and engaging and Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw is a must read book for anyone interested in the early (European) history of Canada who prefer it served up in an offbeat, fun and lively fashion. It is especially recommended for those with a love for Canada and who are interested in discovering some places off the usual snow trodden path.
Check out Ferguson's back catelogue, where has written at least a further six travel-related books, a number of which centre on Canada such as Why I Hate Canadians (1997) and How to be a Canadian (2003).
9. Are You Experienced? (1997) by William Sutcliffe - NOVEL
I’ve heard it said before that traveller’s fall into two categories – those who have been to India and those who haven’t. Whilst I believe that to be a load of pretentious shite, when it comes to travel writing I’ve always thought that there are two categories of travel book readers – those who’ve read Are You Experienced and those who haven’t.
This novel follows Dave who decides to travel to India, primarily to bed his best mate’s girlfriend and his subsequent disillusionment with India itself and more generally the entire backbacking scene. Having spent three months travelling in India himself during his gap year, the author absolutely nails it when it comes to describing the pretentious souls that have journeyed to India either to get it on their travelling resume or to find themselves.
What this book lacks in story length, it more than makes up for in hilarity and a read that you must experience yourself.
If you’re looking for something similar, you could do a lot worse than reading The Beach (1996) by Alex Garland or The Backpacker (1997) by Dave Harris.
10. Where's Wallis? (2006) by Brian Thacker
Where's Wallis (Travels without a guidebook) is an unpretentious and funny retelling of Thacker's experiences through this a group of disparate countries after hearing the name of a country he'd never heard of at the 2004 Olympics. Each country runs to between 40 to 90 pages each, providing ample opportunity for Thacker to get himself lost and marooned, meet fascinating locals, ex-pats and royalty, get up close and personal with the wildlife and dodge the odd bit of civil unrest.
Fans of Thacker, who has written a further six travel books, will be familiar with the lighted-hearted approach he takes to writing and should not be surprised that Where's Wallis delivers some genuinely hilarious moments. As Thacker states "There's no danger of me asking deep and meaningful questions. I just want to know important things like where to buy beer and where the best beach is". Of course, there is (slightly) more depth to Where's Wallis, than that, with a modicum of historical information provided on the countries he travels through, as well as some dispensing of general worldly facts and knowledge.
11. The Sex Lives of Cannibals (2004) by J. Maarten Troost
There’s a lot to be said for a dead beat lay-a-about who manages to extract cash from people by writing about his experiences whilst trapped in the life of a house husband on an equatorial atoll in Kiribati.
Appealing for its political incorrectness, this book is at times bitingly funny although the title of the book is very much a misnomer, conjured up either by the author of editor in order to elicit more interest in the book. Don’t expect to be too much the wiser about Kiribati life on completion of this book, but do expect to be entertained.
If you enjoyed this book, try anything by Bill Bryson or something by Peter Biddlecombe, which is a bit more dated.
12. New Europe (2007) by Michael Palin
The companion book to the TV-series of the same name which was filmed in 2006 and early 2007, sees Palin visiting those countries in what used to be called Eastern Europe, as they look increasingly to the west and inclusion within the European Union.
Visiting such a large number of uniquely different countries ensures that there is a wide range of interesting encounters for both the book and TV series. Whether it is having conversations with transsexual gypsies in Bulgaria, watching belly dancers in Turkey or discussing important matters with Ukranian or Polish politicians, Palin serves up these offbeat experiences in an amusing, yet dignified manner.
Palin's style of humour may be the most mimiced of all time (via his Monty Python days), so finding someone who writes like his is no easy thing - probably Bryson or Will Ferguson come the closest.
13. Footloose: India(ish) (2017) by Mark Walters
Walters second offering, India(ish) has the same offbeat and politically incorrect humour as his previous book Footloose – Sydney to London Without Flying (2015), but this time focuses on his loose circumnavigation of India (via land).
After a brief false start on the type of adventure he was looking to undertake, Walters delivers an enjoyable book of his 3 month loop of India taking in everything India can throw at him. The book benefits from being slightly more focussed without quite reaching the same levels of humour. Certainly there’s plenty in this story for those who enjoyed his first book or are looking to dip their jandal in the water with their first foray into the zany humour of Walters.
You don’t need to read the first instalment of Footloose before this one as the two books are standalone. If you’re also looking for a non-rose tinted glasses viewpoint of India within some humour, then you’ll definitely want to check out William Sutcliffe’s novel Are You Experienced? (1997).
14. No Shitting in the Toilet (1997) by Peter Moore
A funny send up of travel guides which in addition to providing generalised (un)helpful sections on the usual things you’d see a travel guide such as transport, health, eating and accommodation also provides the author’s top 10 lists on a variety of more specialised topics such as top 10 shitholes, top 10 rip-offs and top 10 horrific bus rides.
Like a guide book, this is something you can easily dip into at your own pleasure and has the added bonus that if you don’t like it can also be used in emergency situations while travelling in third world countries if you’re caught short and don’t fancy going local.
15. The Wander Year (2011) by Mike McIntyre
A collection of short dispatches, each about 3 pages long, which formed part of a regular travel series for the Los Angeles Times during 2000 detailing the author and his girlfriend’s year long trip around the globe.
Some poignant, nearly all funny, the stories are written chronologically as they visit 20 countries as varied as Scotland, Nepal, New Zealand, Morocco, Bolivia and Cambodia. There is little by way of detail of each country they visit and major sights such as the Taj Mahal regularly receive only one paragraph. The narrative instead focuses on general travelling observations that could apply to us all in any situation. I finished this one setting, due to the engaging writing style and was disappointed when the book came to an end. Due to barely scraping the surface of each place visited, it did make me wonder, however, just how good this book could’ve been with a more in-depth approach.
Whilst this journey included a lot of flying between destinations and is a bit dated now, if you enjoyed it, then Peter Moore’s overland journey between London and Sydney, The Wrong Way Home (1999), should also appeal.
16. In a Sunburned Country (2000) by Bill Bryson
Bryson goes down under and details his travels through the Australian outback and its “civilised edges” in his usual humorous and insightful fashion. What shines though is his pure love of the place and its people, even when detailing the numerous gruesome and painful ways in which the countries non-human residents can kill you.
Packed full of Australian history and vernacular, this will have you speaking the lingo like a fair dinkum Aussie larrikin in no time before grabbing your swag to go bush yourself.
As the modern day master of travel humour writing, Bryson has plenty of other books to immerse yourself in before searching for other stories. Once you’ve exhausted yourself on Bryson, have a look at Vroom With a View (2003) by Peter Moore or anything else he writes.
17. The Wrong Way Home (1999) by Peter Moore
Peter Moore’s first travelogue details his overland journey from London to Sydney as he follows in the hippy trail popularised during the 1960’s and 70’s. The author effortlessly weaves humour throughout the story which adds to this great journey and despite the trip occurring in 1994 still resonates well.
Travelling through war torn areas such as the former Yugoslavia and a brief foray into Afghanistan, there’s a multitude of off-piste and irregular destinations that successfully separates this book from your standard run-off-the mill travelogue and makes this a right on read.
Once finished with this story, make sure you go back in the opposite direction via Jamie Maslin’s The Long Hitch Home (2015) who co-incidentally faced the very same overland journey crisis as Moore some 20 years later, proving difficulties in travelling never change.
18. A Walk in the Woods (1997) by Bill Bryson
Concerned at the rate at which the Appalachian wilderness is disappearing, Bill Bryson teams up with his long-forgotten college friend, Stephen Katz, to walk the granddaddy of hiking trails, The Appalachian Trail. Told in Bryson's usual humourous fashion, this story of two middle-aged mountain men shambling down the pathway munching on Snickers bars is an extremely fun read and one that brings the AT to life. Bryson's writing and humour is as crisp as a New England autumnal morning and he describes the Trail and environs so well that you almost feel spared from having to take that walk in the woods yourself.
Needless to say, there's plenty of other Bryson books on offer that will allow you to get your fix once you've finished gamboling with this book.
19. Always Feel a Friend (2004) by Peter Biddlecombe
Travelling businessman Peter Biddlecombe provides a collection of insights into 19 countries scattered around the globe with his own unique brand of slapstick humour that is unlikely to appeal to all. Written like a travel author overdosing on Ritalin, we find ourselves one minute reading about the ethnic make-up and history of Macedonia, the next about American spy satellites over Kosovo before veering back again to the architecture of Macedonian churches and mosques.
Always Feel a Friend covers a range of lesser known countries such as Kosovo, Cape Verde and the Cook Islands, which guarantees that you will learn something about a country you didn't know before. And despite the rapid fire and relentless delivery of Biddlecombe's humour, there are some genuine quality observations imparted.
Biddlecombe has written a further 10 travel books, mostly in the same fashion as Always Feel a Friend, which are worth a read is this book grabs you. Else, Brian Thacker's book have a similar feel to them and also are worth picking up.
20. A Piano in the Pyrenees (2006) by Tony Hawks
Most of us who might stumble into a mid-life crossroads wouldn't go off and purchase a house in a new country, but then again most of us aren't Tony Hawks, a man known for taking on absurd bets such as travelling around Ireland with a fridge for 100 pounds.
Hawks' tells this ex-pat story in an easy-going and likeable fashion doused in a fair amount of laddish humour. Don't expect any real soul-searching moments but you can expect a genuinely nice read, accompanied with visions of Hawks tickling the ivories in an idyllic location.
Hawks other travel books are also worth reading including Round Ireland With a Fridge and Playing Moldovans at Tennis. He also makes a habit of this renovating house malarky and describes a subsequent effort, this time in Devon, in Once Upon a Time in the West .... Country.
21. Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (2013) by George Mahood
George and his mate Ben set off from Land’s End to travel the length of England and Scotland on bike to John o’ Groats. Nothing too extraordinary in that, except they start out with nothing except the underpants they each are wearing and a camera to document their travels.
Whilst technically a cycling travel journey, the book is more about the challenge they’ve set for themselves around not spending any money, although you do also get a feel for the countryside around then. It is a great tale as to their resourcefulness and generosity of the people who they meet along the way. Told with good humour and genuine humility this is a story that officially, is a very nice read.
Pick up Tour de Armenia by Raffi Youredjian (2014) if you’re looking for a similar off the beaten path cycling travelogue.
22. The Sun in My Eyes (2001) by Josie Dew
A light-hearted cycling travelogue detailing Josie Dew's second trip around Japan, The Sun in My Eyes is an enjoyable book that is much more than your typical cycling jaunt around a country.
Latching onto a winning formula by not focussing too much on the cycling aspect of the journey, Dew instead concentrates on the wonderful, friendly people whom she meets along the way. In addition to this, she spends a fair amount of time taking in the sites that Japan offers, rather than simply cycling on past. By doing so, she is able to provide history of these places and as a result of the insights that she shares, we are able to get a much better feel for the country and its magnificent sites.
If you're looking for another cycling-focussed travel book written with humour then you might also like to check out Tim Moore's Geronimo or French Revolutions.
23. Three Men in a Boat (1889) by Jerome K. Jerome
No, you haven’t read it wrong, this is a story that was published in 1889. Described as a comic novel this is an all time English favourite that somehow has managed to transcend 130 years and arguably be as funny now as it was at the end of the 19th century.
The fictional journey in a row boat down the Thames River from Kingston to Oxford and back again is merely the portal for the author to regale the reader with usually unrelated humorous stories. And while this is light on the travel component, it is a story that is well worth reading and guaranteed to have you smiling frequently and more than likely astounded at how the author’s insights about would not seem out of place in modern day life now.
Make sure you pick up the free kindle version, which is a steal at twice the price, and if impressed with this, do the same with Jerome’s follow-up book, Three Men in a Bummel (1900).
24. The Long Hitch Home (2015) by Jamie Maslin
An unstoppable read which follows the author as he hitchhikes from Tasmania back home to London, a distance of over 17,000 kms through 19 countries.
What might otherwise be just another themed “a to b” travelogue is set apart by its inclusion of some extremely thought provoking historical and geopolitical insights of the countries he passes through. And while his expressed views may not be to everybody’s liking, he writes in an easy going, engaging and oftentimes humourous fashion which makes this book both an enjoyable and informative read.
If you liked this, then check out The Wrong Way Home (1999) and Swahili for the Broken-Hearted (2002) by Peter Moore or Three Men in a Raft (2002) by Ben Kozel. For something more focussed on geopolitics pick up Robert D Kaplan’s The Ends of the Earth (1997).
25. The Full Montezuma (2000) by Peter Moore
Moore’s second foray into epic overland journeys, see him this time bringing along his girlfriend of six weeks, referred to as the GND (the Girl Next Door).
Over six months the author and the GND travel through Mexico and all of Central America before watching the Australian cricket team take on the West Indies in Jamaica. From here a quick trip to Cuba before going full circle back to Mexico.
The book is a good read with some great experiences not least due to Hurricane Mitch that proceeded their arrival and throwing their travel plans somewhat into disarray. The only downside is that the constant references to the bickering between the author and the GND becomes repetitive and distracts from the quality of the rest of the story.
Peter Moore has a number of other books in similar vein worth reading if you liked this one that should keep you entertained for a while.
26. Destination Saigon (2010) by Walter Mason
Destination Saigon is a series of short “chapters” between three and eight pages long centred on an experience of Mason as he enlightens us on the peculiarities of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people. Despite its title, although mostly based around Saigon and Hanoi, the book ranges across the entire country taking us to out the way destinations that aren’t on the typical tourist to do list.
Mason’s snapshots of the people and country with which he has fallen in love with are superbly packaged and do a wonderful job of providing insights into the Vietnamese mind set and way of life. This makes it a great read for those looking to travel to this country or for those who have returned and want to make some sense of their time while they were there. As a Buddhist, himself, the stories are imparted in a loving and gentle fashion and surprisingly with a healthy dose of humour.
Mason has written a further book in similar fashion within the region called Destination Cambodia (2013) which should provide additional reading if you enjoyed his writings.
27. The Backpacker (1997) by John Harris
Reading like a misogynistic version of Alex Garland’s The Beach on steroids, this supposedly true story traverses South East Asia and briefly Australia after the author initially embarks upon a three week holiday to India. Here he meets up with his soon-to-be best friend and heads off in search of a life of sand, booze, drugs and beautiful girls and sets in motion an outlandish set of circumstances that come across as more fiction than true life.
You’ll need to dispel a certain amount of belief in order to fully enjoy this book and it won’t appeal to a wide range of people due to the stereotyped depiction of non-Westerners and constant frequently of prostitutes, but the writing is crisp and the stories so wonderfully entertaining that it’ll have you searching for your backpack well before the end.
The similarities to The Beach (1996) by Alex Garland, make this the obvious candidate to read if you liked this book and haven’t already done so (is there anybody that hasn’t read The Beach, though?).
28. Torn Trousers (2015) by Gwynn & Andrew St. Pierre White
A charming and often times funny story about a husband and wife who decide to trade-in their Johannesburg life to manage a safari camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta.
Having no experience of managing a safari camp, this is a story full of humourous anecdotes of their adventures and. most especially, the matatas they had dealing with staff, wildlife and the occasional rogue tourist. With alternating chapters written by each person, this is a book that focuses less on safari experiences and more on the wildlife office politics, which differentiates this story from others. Certainly, one to read for anyone with rose tinted glasses thinking that the grass is greener over in safari camp.
Peter Allison has written two books, also in Botswana that are well worth checking out - Whatever You Do, Don't Run (2007) and Don’t Look Behind You, But… (2009).
29. A Land of Two Halves (2004) by Joe Bennett
Having relocated from Britain and lived in New Zealand for the past 16 years, Joe Bennett decides to hitchhike his way around the country to help him make a decision whether he will continue to stay living there.
The path of his journey is somewhat dictated by where the people picking him up are heading which ensures that he visits a number of places that are off the usual tourist trail and makes for a more authentic exploration of the country. Imparting a fair amount of history on each place as he goes, this story is as much a story about the people he meets as it is the journey per se, in similar fashion to Bill Bryon’s books. And whilst some may find his attitude towards some of these people condescending, it is all the more forgivable as he his is just as quick to turn his razor wit inwards on himself.
It is refreshing that Bennett doesn’t gush over the sights he encounters, preferring to present things in his own unique way and for a number of readers his caustic sense of humour will not appeal, but there is no denying he has an eye for detail and great ability to translate the mundane into some very amusing anecdotes.
30. Where the Hell is Tuvalu? (2002) by Philip Ells
Describing the two and a bit years Ells spent working as the People's Lawyer, or the People's Liar as came to be known, in the world's 4th smallest independent nation during the mid 1990's, Ells self-deprecating humour makes this an interesting read.
Where the Hell is Tuvalu? provides a bit of knowledge on what life on Tuvalu is like and given the dearth of books available on this tiny Polynesian nation, is definitely recommended for anyone wanting to find out more about Tuvalu.
Given his visit to, and Tuvalu's close historical connection to Kiribaiti, the book naturally lends itself to comparison with J. Maarten Troost's book, The Sex Lives of Cannibals. While Where the Hell is Tuvalu? contains a greater number of funny events that take place, Troost's superior writing ability makes his book the pick of the two by some distance.
31. Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn (2009) by Jamie Maslin
Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn provides glimpses of life in Iran from the viewpoint of a young British backpacker as he is showered with hospitality from nearly all he meets during his journey in and around the country in 2007.
Maslin utilises a light-hearted approach to describing his time in Iran whilst also infusing this travelogue with a good smattering of history. Whilst the book is entertaining and there are flashes of the quality of writing that made the Long Hitch Home so good, in general it remains relatively unpolished. For someone specifically interested in Iran or looking for a different take on Iranian attitudes, however, this is worth a look.
32. Beyond Dubai (2014) by David Millar
Millar takes us on an historical travel journey around the United Arab Emirates as he attempts to convince his girlfriends of the cultural merits of the UAE, beyond the stereotyped images of glitzy shopping malls.
Extremely well researched, the book provides a veritable treasure trove of information on the history and potential places of interest to visit in the Emirates and neighbouring Oman. Whilst not laugh out loud funny, the author’s observations are injected with humour and he makes what might ordinarily be a dry story, very interesting. An honest account of the region and written almost as a guide book narrative, this is certainly one to read for anyone interested in relocating to the UAE.
33. Fat, Forty and Fired (2005) by Nigel Marsh
A warts and all story covering the Author’s year off from work as he looks to reconnect with children, wife and self after being made redundant.
As befits someone who has previously done stand-up comedy, there is plenty of laugh out loud moments of which some are cringe-worthy given how close the strike to home. While the story is mostly an inner journey, there are some actual travels around Tasmania, to the UK and Italy which gives this a nice balance.
Whilst a superficially a light hearted approach to a life changing event, the book covers off some deeper issues and themes that face not only the author himself, most probably all of us. This most probably is of more appeal for those of us questioning our 9 to 5 existence and of a certain age (cough… 40’s… cough) but one that I definitely enjoyed.
34. French Revolutions (2001) by Tim Moore
Despite claiming not to be cyclist, the author decides to cycle the 3,630km Tour de France route that is due to take place in a month’s time. Whilst a few shortcuts occur on the way, his efforts are rather remarkable, most especially given the number of “watering” stops that he takes along the way in order to refuel in the appropriate French fashion.
Whilst the writing is very witty, be aware that the focus is very much on the riders and history of the Tour de France and less on the surrounding countryside and towns that he passes through. As such, this will appeal more to cycling aficionados and most especially to Tour de France nuts than someone who might be looking for a travelogue through France.
Moore has written a number of other cycling stories which you could check out if you enjoyed this one, such as Geronimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy (2014).
35. Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? (2008) by Thomas Kohnstamm
Drawn instantly to this book due to its title, it consists of a small part expose on the travel guidebook writing industry but predominantly focuses on the author’s drug, alcohol and sex trysts, whilst attempting to update the north-eastern part of the Lonely Planet guidebook.
At times, there are some genuinely funny parts and the book is well written but in the most part the author’s overdose of cynicism and forced depravity come across as somewhat contrived with a deliberate attempt to court controversy.
A reasonably quick read and certainly in the R-rated category, but for my mind there are better offerings in a similar vein such as To Hellholes and Back (2009) by Chuck Thompson.
36. Continental Drifter (2001) by Tim Moore
Continental Drifter details Moore’s journey as he retraces the footsteps of Thomas Coryate, an English traveller in the early 17th century who was credited with bringing the eating fork (and the umbrella) to the English dinner table (although one assumes he left the umbrella in the coat rack).
Travelling through modern day France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands in his Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Moore undertake this Grand Tour of Europe popularised by British aristocrats during the 17th and 18th centuries in his usual offbeat fashion. Whilst the book does have some funny moments, I found myself midway through tiring of the journey and drifting off myself.
If you looking for a more upbeat, and in my opinion, better read of a European journey, read Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There (1991).