A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, by Eric Newby

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Stories are what set me on my odyssey; books transported me from my childhood bedroom in Staffordshire to exotic corners of the world. Eric Newby set a new bar for travel writing in the mid-20th century. He hilariously narrated his adventures in Afghanistan, treating a climbing expedition to the summit of Mir Samir like a walk in the park. I love his style and self-effacement.

Richard Francis Burton


Burton was probably the greatest of all the Victorian explorers. He was a passionate anthropologist who was utterly fearless and got truly stuck in. He spoke 27 languages. I think we’d have had a lot of fun adventuring together; we share the same passion for meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.

The Grand Tour

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Not the Amazon series! I studied the history of travel writing at university and was fascinated by this phenomenon of young Britons travelling around Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. I read the personal diaries of eccentrics like James Boswell and realised that what they got up to wasn’t all that different from the gap-year youngsters of today.

The Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

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Marcus Aurelius, aka the “philosopher king,” is one of antiquity’s greatest thinkers, and his lessons in The Meditations are wise, inspiring and full of foresight; for example, “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.


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“I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite, but of all the countries I’ve travelled to, Nepal has a special place in my heart. The landscape is sublime, the environment is diverse, but above all the people are warm and welcoming.”

Read more: June Cover 2019: Yenny Wahid Shares Her Family Traditions And Values That Enrich Life To The Fullest