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Armchair Travel

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“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”

Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

What kind of traveller are you?

What kind of traveler are you? Do you travel to get away? Do you travel to rebel? Do you travel for adventure? For connection? Whatever your reason, get away on your favorite armchair with our collection of ebooks. Curated from the armchairs of your CU librarians. 

I am a Rebellious Traveller

Motorcycle Diaries cover

The Motorcycle Diaries

Join the young Ernesto “Che” Guevara on his long journey across South America by motorcycle, hitchhiking, boat; through mining communities and leper colonies. Experience the adventure that informed Che’s rebelliousness.

“I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I will be with the people.”

Che Guevara

The Letters of Allen Ginsberg

The letters of Allen Ginsberg, sent back and forth between some of America’s most prolific--and most rebellious--travelers gives an intimate view of the beat movement.

“I wait for life like this to break me down to no attachments maybe because none so sublime as I can emotionally imagine exist”
Allen Ginsberg to Jack Kerouac, December 29, 1954

On the Plain of Snakes

The LA Times review of this book is titled, “What happened when Paul Theroux bought an old Buick and set out across Mexico” and if that doesn’t pique your interest then we just aren’t sure what else to say. Also, to be clear, the title is On the PLAIN of Snakes, not Snakes on a PLANE. Theroux bought a Buick, not a Boeing.

“The only sound was birdsong, soon overwhelmed by the headlong buzz of two Border Patrol officers on all-terrain vehicles, zipping past me much too fast on the flat paths, their big wheels tossing up damp sand.”
Paul Theroux

The Poetry of Jack Kerouac

Always unsatisfied with traditional, postwar American society, Jack Kerouac carved his own way of life out of travel and writing. Join Kerouac’s rebellious spirit in this collection of poetry.

"There go the birds, flying west a moment. Who’s ever going to know the world before it goes?”
Jack Kerouac

I am an Adventure Traveller

Pacific Passages

Stuck at home, looking for a dose of travel adventure? This anthology of surf writing, spanning several centuries, may be just what you need whether you’re close to the ocean or landlocked.

“Show your knowledge of surfing on the back of the wave” 
Patrick Moser

Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel

Although written over a hundred years ago, parts of this book are laugh out loud funny. Three friends set out to escape the city in late Victorian England to boat and camp along the Thames and run straight into misadventure and absurdity. The real star of the show is Montmorency, the dog. Hathi Login Instructions

“We went downstairs to breakfast. Montmorency had invited two other dogs to come and see him off, and they were whiling away the time by fighting on the doorstep. We calmed them with an umbrella, and sat down to chops and cold beef.”
Jerome Jerome

West with the Night

Beryl Markham, who grew up in Kenya in the early 20th century, penned this “classic of outdoor literature” sharing her experiences as an African bush pilot and racehorse trainer. Remarkably, she was the first woman to complete a solo east-to-west crossing of the Atlantic by airplane - capped with a dramatic crash landing. All that, plus her writing was praised by Ernest Hemingway, who called it “bloody wonderful.” Hathi Login Instructions

"A map says to you. Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not... I am the earth in the palm of your hand.”
Beryl Markham

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This travel story presents many forms of adventure: a cross country motorcycle trip, philosophical exploration, and bonding between father and son.

“The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”
Robert Pirsig

Isabella Lucy Bird's "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains"

Isabella Bird traveled to Colorado in the 1870s. This is a riveting and true account of her travels in the Rocky Mountains, complete with an outlaw named “Rocky Mountain Jim” and an early ascent of Longs Peak.

“The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.”
Isabella Bird

I am a meta-traveller

Extreme Pursuits

Are you interested in the larger conversations surrounding travel? Including both voluntary and involuntary travel, the author examines travel writing texts from the last thirty years and connects the dots between travel writing and the global tourist industry.

 “travel writers— as many of them are only too well aware— carry considerable responsibilities: in their capacity to critique the tourist industry they serve, but also in their ability to offer alternative ways of looking at, engaging with, and imaginatively transforming the worlds through which they travel, and the world in which we all live.”
Graham Huggan

Romancing the Wild

This is an in-depth view of adventure travel and ecotourism. Who are the tourists who pay for these adrenaline rushes and what are the values which motivate them? This interesting account takes a deep look at the construct of “wilderness.”

“By pursuing adventure, we seek to produce drama in our own experience.”
Robert Fletcher


We all wish we could travel now, but we can all still reflect on traveling. And what better destination than Colorado? Pick up this title to reflect on the rapid post-war changes of Colorado’s high country, where travel became a way of life--and not always in a good way for the mountains we love.

“The history of land and leisure in the high country certainly makes one wonder, can popular environmental concern rooted in consumerism ever be truly ecological?”
William Philpott

The Darker Side of Travel

Have you ever wanted to visit a macabre location or a dangerous place? Then you just may be a dark tourist. Pick this title for a description, overview, and analysis of this travel phenomenon.

“There is evidence of a greater willingness or desire on the part of tourists to visit dark attractions, and, in particular, the sites of dark events.”
Richard Sharpley and Philip Stone

On the Border

The border between Mexico and the United States has its own unique, bi-national culture. Written in the mid 1980s and focusing on the US side, Tom Miller captures the people, food, music, stories and conflict of that time. This account was the first to call the border a third country, one that is 2,000 miles long and twenty miles wide.

“The magnificent Santa Elena Canyon came into view at the southwester corner of Big Bend National Park. Sheer rock rose from the river on both sides, carved by centuries of constant flow.“
Tom Miller

Travel Writing

If you love travel books, then you might love this book about travel books. In Travel Writing, Casey Blanton explores travel books historically, theoretically, and critically, by engaging with important and influential travel writers.

“Travel books...are...metaphors of a quest for ground zero—a place where values are discovered along the way, not imported; a place where other cultures can have their say; a place where self and other can explore each other's fictions; a place that, as Ishmael warns us, "is not down on any map."

Casey Blanton


I am a work traveller

Moby Dick : or, The Whale

Follow Ishmael, sailor and whale hunter, as he is trapped in the desperate and deadly quest to kill the great white whale that took Captain Ahab’s leg. We may be working from home, but join Ishmael as he travels for work.

“There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath...”
Herman Melville

The Odyssey

Odysseus just really wants to get home. Unfortunately for him, it takes ten years … and he’s on the bad side of more than one Greek God. Fortunately for we readers, a lot of crazy stuff happens to him on the way. Meanwhile, back at his palace, his wife has to do some fancy footwork to avoid a bunch of tiresome and disrespectful suitors. We’ve linked the Robert Fagles translation, but we also have online access to one by Samuel Butler.

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns Driven time and again off course, once he had plundered The hallowed heights of Troy.”

Travels with Charley; in search of America.

After feeling as if he lost touch with the American public, John Steinbeck, author of classics such as Grapes of Wrath, embarked on a 1960 road trip with his poodle Charley. His travels took him across almost forty states and provided a view of American life at that time, the beautiful and the bad. Recommended to read while spending time with your favorite canine companion.  Hathi Login Instructions

"The great get-together symbol is the cup of coffee. I found I often stopped for coffee, not because I wanted it but for a rest and a change from the unrolling highway.”
John Steinbeck

The Worst Journey in the World

If you ever thought you had a hard job, head (way) south with Apsley Cherry-Gerrard in this memoir, where the disastrous 1910 voyage to the South Pole is recounted. Home never feels as good as when you’re traveling for work.

“We knew that the polar party must be dead. They might be anywhere between Hut Point and the Pole, drifted over by snow, or lying at the bottom of a crevasse, which seemed the most likely thing to have happened.”
Apsley Cherry-Garrarrd

Tracking Apollo to the Moon

This is the story of manned space-flight, told by Australian astronaut Hamish Lindsay. For decades, people across the world have watched space missions from the comfort of the living room. Find your favorite reading nook and learn about some of the greatest space missions from an author who was directly involved.

“We know the last step of our journey along the track to the Moon’s surface down to a second, but who can isolate the first step? It winds back into antiquity, to people and places not even recorded”
Hamish Lindsay

I am a nature traveller

Among Flowers

Well known for both her fiction and non-fiction, Jamaica Kincaid joins a group of botanists traveling to Nepal on a seed gathering expedition. The book is part description of her journey, part memoir and part reflection on the practice of gardening.  Hathi Login Instructions

“And my difficulties were these: I found each plant, each new turn in the road, each new turn in the weather, from cold to hot and then back again, each new set of boulders so absorbing, so new, and the newness so absorbing, and I was so in need of an explanation for each thing, that I was often in tears, troubling myself with questions, such as what am I and what is the thing in front of me.”
Jamaica Kincaid

Walden - Life in the Woods

Henry David Thoreau didn’t just travel to get closer to nature--he stopped and built a cabin there. If you’re stuck looking out of a window, pick up this title to imagine your view is the shores of Walden Pond.

“Begin where you are and such as you are, without aiming mainly to become of more worth, and with kindness aforethought, go about doing good.”
Henry David Thoreau

The Practice of the Wild

In this collection of essays, Gary Snyder shows us not how to travel to nature, but to experience it. If you’d like to travel to get closer to nature right now, let Snyder show you the right way to do it.

“There are paths that can be followed, and there is a path that cannot--it is not a path, it is the wilderness. There is a “going” but no goer, no destination, only the whole field.”
Gary Snyder

Hell or High Water

Who really ran the first river descent through the Grand Canyon? John Powell and his party are credited but a Colorado prospector debated that claim at the time. James White asserted that he first entered the Colorado above the San Juan River. This is the story of how Whit’es account was believed and then discredited - a book about a Colorado mystery.

“It was clear from the start that determining what really happened to White in 1867 required an investigation into a very odd case; all the players were dead and could not be questioned; corroborating eyewitnesses were lacking; even circumstantial evidence was somewhere between thin and nonexistent.”
Eilean Adams


Silhouette of child reading, Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash