Skip to main content

Ten tales to inspire travel and tourism students

As a travel and tourism professional, you know that each day you're responsible with providing new experiences and lifelong memories to your customers and clients. 

To working passionately as a travel and tourism professional, you need to have the same enthusiasm for adventure. Whether you're keen to explore our local delights, embrace international landmarks or find those magical places just off the main road, experience starts with a first step. Below are ten essential stories to help inspire you on your study journey, as you prepare for your dream career.

'On The Road' – Jack Kerouac

"I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility." 

When it comes to travel books, the main novel is as clear as the sky is blue. Jack Kerouac, and his classic tale, 'On the Road', have inspired generations of people to step out of his or her front door. The book still remains one of the most important pieces of travel writing today. After completing the novel, if you're not packing your suitcase and bounding for the journey ahead, then, perhaps, your inspiration is as distant as certain places on a map.

'In A Sunburned Country' – Bill Bryson

"Australia doesn't misbehave. It is stable and peaceful and good."

Bill Bryson is a heavyweight of travel writing. His words go as well with the theme of travel, as tomato sauce goes with a meat pie. Bryson looks at our backyard with humour and insight, and from an outsider's perspective, throughout the book. 'In A Sunburned Country' looks at the many wonders and perils of our wonderful (and isolated) island continent.

'Travels with Charley' – John Steinbeck

"I am happy to report that in the war between reality and romance, reality is not the stronger." 

Nobel Prize winning author, John Steinbeck, treated his life with the same honesty with which he wrote. Steinbeck knew that the best experiences are not always read on a page but rather lived. In 'Travels with Charley', a travelogue recounting an American road trip with his dog, he paints a vivid, masterful and exceptionally personal picture of the true travel experience. Steinbeck travelled in a camper truck (which he named after Don Quixote's horse) and found out things about himself and life that only travel seems to reveal.

'The Wayward Tourist' – Mark Twain

"I must stop dwelling on these things. It is hard to keep from dwelling upon them, though; for it is difficult to get away from the surprise of it."

Mark Twain was an icon. While renowned for his fiction, 'The Wayward Tourist' is a collection of Twain's observations from his time in Australia, while on a lecture tour. There are plenty of hilarious and interesting descriptions found in this body of work.

'Into the Wild' – John Krakauer

"That's what was great about him. He tried. Not many do." 

While 'Into the Wild' is at times a cautionary tale of what the travel spirit represents, Krakauer still provided a text that will inspire people to search for those majestic places. As Herman Melville once wrote, "It's not down on any map, true places never are."

Regardless of your opinion of Chris McCandless, the lesson to be found is that life is not about waiting for opportunity, but rather about being bold and embracing the chance to find new experiences. 

'Blue Dog' - Louis de Bernières

"Mick looked out in wonder at the land beneath him."

While the book starts with hardship and past tragedy, 'Blue Dog' is a beautifully tender, coming-of-age story, which tells the tale of a boy and his dog. Just as significantly, the novel presents a glorious backdrop of the Western Australian outback. Sometimes the greatest wonder is found in our own backyard.

'Klondike Tales' – Jack London

"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet."

The most famous writer of his time, Jack London lived a life worthy of the tales he wrote. London was a master of natural observation and description, and used his own experiences to inform his work. 'Klondike Tales' is a collection of wilderness stories inspired by London's time spent during the Klondike gold rush and in Canada's Yukon. This led Van Wyck Brooks to declare, "One felt that the stories had been somehow lived–that they were not merely observed–that the author was not telling tales but telling his life."

'The Great Railway Bazaar' – Paul Theroux

"Travel [is] flight and pursuit in equal parts." 

Paul Theroux created a classic piece of writing when recounting his experiences travelling from London to Southeast Asia. The book is a voyage about riding the rails, and combines wit and keen observation. From Europe to exotic orient locations, this captures the purest form of travel.

'The Yosemite' – John Muir

"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world." 

To say John Muir was passionate about the nature he observed is an understatement. Known affectionately as "John of the Mountains", Muir inspired many politicians of his time to preserve the beauty of North America's most beautiful national parks that we still enjoy today. In 'The Yosemite', John Muir combines all of his impressions of the famous environment. What the reader is left with is a book that details the park in a wonderfully accurate and unspoiled way.

'The Alchemist' – Paul Coelho 

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."

Life is about perseverance and keeping on going; no matter what the odds. 'The Alchemist' is arguably one of the most inspiring pieces of fiction. The plot follows a young shepherd on a journey through Egypt as he attempts to fulfil his "Personal Legend."