Check out travel books, magazines and get whisked away

Traveling is one of the great joys of life. It is fun and exciting to visit new and interesting places. But not everyone has the financial means or physical ability to travel. That’s where armchair travel comes in. by: SUBMITTED - Check out 'Arthur Frommer's Travel Budget' from the West Linn Public Library.

If you’ve never heard the term before, armchair travel is pretty much how it sounds. You relax at home while reading a book or watching a film about some other place, whether it’s the next state over or somewhere far away. You can experience other people, cultures and places without having to deal with airport security lines, lost luggage, strange food or learning a foreign language.

When I have the travel bug and my vacation is still two months away, here are some of my favorite armchair traveling resources.

Visit the photography section of National Geographic’s website at and you can lose hours of your day enjoying the magnificent travel photography on display there. Wild animals, people, cities and countryside are all represented in the stunning images.

There are many fun travel blogs online these days. One of those is called Jack & Jill Travel the World ( The blog started off as a travelogue of their 2011 we-quit-our-jobs-to-travel-the-world adventures, and now describes their frequent trips and vacations.

Travel extraordinaire Rick Steves is the host of “Rick Steves’ Europe” on OPB. If you don’t catch it on TV you can check out one of the DVDs from the West Linn Public Library. Pop in a disc and let Steves show you around Scandinavia, Germany, Ireland by: SUBMITTED - 'A Walk in the Woods' is a narrative about two unprepared men attempting to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.or Turkey. He describes the culture and history of the places he visits and he is great at getting firsthand insights from the locals.

There are several excellent travel magazines that will give you a glimpse into faraway destinations. “National Geographic Traveler” is one of my favorites. The “Summer at the Lake” article in the June/July issue last summer was a wonderful look at the world of rocking chairs on the cabin porch, late afternoon swims, early morning kayak excursions and the haunting call of loons at dusk. “Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel” is another of my favorites, and “Northwest Travel” is a great magazine for the armchair explorer who wants to learn more about our own little corner of the world.

One of my all-time favorite armchair travel books is “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson.

He recounts the tale of his attempt to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail with his friend Stephen Katz. Neither of them are suited for hiking and hilarity ensues.

Another great travel narrative is “Tales of a Female Nomad” by Rita Gelman. It’s the story of how the author did what we all say we’d like to do if we could: She sold her possessions in 1986 and started traveling the world. Here in 2013, 27 years later, she is still traveling!

Happy armchair traveling!

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