Reading lists

Flights of fancy: the best books to seek adventure from your armchair

Sate your wanderlust while experiencing a buzz of adrenaline with these true tales of epic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Howard Calvert
Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

At the moment, the idea of travelling to somewhere other than your country of residence may seem as inconceivable as you actually one day scaling Everest.

But there is a way to transport yourself to the scenes of some of the world’s greatest adventures right now. This list features an array of record-breaking and, in some cases, world-first achievements in exploration and adrenaline-fuelled adventure, packed with life-changing moments of self-discovery and revelations that will serve to inspire you to consider tackling your own Everest once lockdown is over… or at least walking the long way to the supermarket for an ice cream.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Credit: Alfred A. Knopf

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Following the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage, Strayed, then aged 26, impulsively decided to walk the Pacific Crest Trail after reading about it on a book cover. She was famously ill-prepared for the 1,100-mile trek – her “Monster” backpack was so heavy it etched deep wounds into her hips and her boots rapidly fell apart. But the 93-day journey through the wilderness transformed Strayed’s confidence and decisiveness, and she details it all with eloquent and endearing frankness.  

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