10 Great Travel Writers and Their Renowned Work

There are numerous renowned writers all over the world, and we can get lost in a sea of great travel writings that have made their great marks in the literary world.

Here in this blog article I have highlighted 10 great travel writers – both deceased and the living who have graced life circumventing the world, bringing us with them through their writing. In this article, I have discussed shortly who they were and how they lived their lives before and leading up to their writing career.

Not only that, I have also included some of the writers’ last words upon death. Doesn’t it interest you what are great people’s last words?

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Marco Polo

Marco Polo

  • Born: 1254
  • Died: 1324

Personal Life and Travels

Being one of the first and ancient travel writers, Marco Polo grew up in a family of travelers, his great uncle named Marco too and his father Niccolo were travelers. However these facts were contested in history. Polo’s first expedition was towards Asia at the age of 17. At 21, Polo was appointed by Kublai Kan as foreign emissary to India and Burma. From then on, Polo has been successful with his father and uncle Maffeo, and was able to amass wealth. He returned to Venice and later on during the war with Genoa, he was captured. He wrote his first travel book in prison which later on quickly spread in Europe.

Some Renowned Works

The Travels of Marco Polo or The Travels had five versions in Franco-Venetian, Old French, Tuscan, Venetian and Latin. It was said that the book was in collaboration with Rustichello who was a professional writer of romance, saying he added some elements that romanticized the book and suddenly appealed popularly to its readers.

Polo died of old age with last words “I have not told half of what I saw.”

Laurence Sterne

  • Born: November 24, 1713
  • Died: March 18, 1768

Personal Life and Travels

Prior to Sterne’s writing career, he was ordained as a priest. He was quite involved in politics but later on withdrew himself due to disinterest towards it. Later in his life he traveled to France and his journey became the inspiration for his publication, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy.

Sterne died quite young at the age of 54 due to declining health and tuberculosis, his last words were “Bugger Bognor”.

Some Renowned Works

Sterne was known for his works such as A Political Romance, and The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, and Gentleman. His most successful travel writing was the A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy which was written by Sterne on the verge of death due to tuberculosis.

Mark Twain

  • Born: 1835
  • Died: 1910

Personal Life and Travels

Twain didn’t originally dreamed of becoming a writer, in his young age he wanted one dream: to be a steamboatman and later on in his life became a successful one up until Civil War. Despite retiring early as a steamboatman, Twain traveled often later in his life. He also became a miner, however failed at it. He then became a journalist for Territorial Enterprise.

In his old age, Twain suffered depression from the death of his daughter and wife, his last words were “Give me my glasses.”

Some Renowned Works

Twain’s first book was Roughing It which was inspired by his experiences in the American West. While his first successful publication was The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. His writings for the Union about his travels to Sandwich Islands also became popular. Two of his most notable works were The Adventure of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Norman Douglas

  • Born: December 8, 1868
  • Died: February 7, 1952

Personal Life and Travels

Douglas, prior to his writing career was in diplomatic service until it ended due to a sexual scandal. Following this, he then became a writer as he traveled between Capri and London. His travels included the Mediterranean, Britain, America and Europe which helped him write his travel books. Douglas didn’t only write travel books but also have written numerous renowned novels.

Douglas died of drug overdose, his last words were “Now is not the time for making new enemies.”.

Some Renowned Works

In the entirety of Douglas’ life he has published five renowned travel books entitled: Siren Island, Fountains in the Sand which was about his travel in Tunisia, Old Calabria, Alone which was about his journey in Italy, and Together was about his travel in Austria.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

  • Born: 1899
  • Died: 1961

Personal Life and Travels

Hemingway grew up in an affluent family. Hemingway’s first publication was for a school newspaper in his junior year. Like many writers, Hemingway was a journalist first before he became a novelist. He also was part of the Red Cross following a rejection from the US Army Navy due to poor eyesight. Hemingway successfully traveled Europe.

Hemingway took his own life and his last words were “Good night my kitten.” directed at his wife.

Some Renowned Works

Although Hemingway was mostly known for his fiction works, such as The Sun Also Rises his debut novel, Farewell to Arms which was inspired by his war experiences, and Life, he also had renowned travel writings such as Tuna Fishing in Spain and Trout Fishing All Across Europe: Spain Has the Best. As widely known, Hemingway was recipient of prestigious awards of Pultzer Prize for Fiction and Nobel Prize in Literature.

Freya Stark

  • Born: January 31, 1893
  • Died: May 9, 1993

Personal Life and Travels

Stark was born to a family inclined to art. Her mother was an artist and his father was a painter. She lived a thriving life since she was young as a flower farmer in Italy. Later on she graduated from Bedford College, London having studied languages. In World War 1 she served with G.M. Trevelyan’s British Red Cross ambulance. She began traveling as she headed for Beirut via ship. She traveled through Lebanon, Iran, Arabia and Turkey. She then traveled through Lebanon with great risk and in secret as traveling then was banned. In Iran, she did trekking through the wilderness.

Stark died of old age and there was no known record of her last words.

Some Renowned Works

One of her first successful publications was The Valle of the Assassins which was inspired by her discovery of the fable Valleys of the Assassins. Her travels through Arabia resulted into three successful publications: The Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramaut, Seen In The Hadhramaut, and A Winter in Arabia. As she traveled exhaustively in Turkey, her journeys inspired several books into publication: Ionia a Quest, The Lycian Shore, Alexander’s Path, and Riding to the Tigris.

Hunter Thompson

  • Born: 1937
  • Died: 2005

Personal Life and Travels

Before Thompson became a writer he was verily into sports and athletics, he never graduated high school following imprisonment due to robbery. Upon his release, Thompson enlisted for the military and trained at the Lackland Air Force Base however, was later on discharged. Afterwards, he became a journalist for a newspaper in Pennsylvania.

His travels covered United States along with his football team, South America, as a journalist, and a huge portion of his time was spent traveling the 1968 Presidential Campaign trail. He also traveled to Vietnam as he covered the end of Vietnam War.

Like Hemingway, Thompson took his own life, his last words were written in a suicide note saying “Relax – This won’t hurt.”

Some Renowned Works

His first successful work was the Hell’s Angels, detailing the account of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club providing readers an unbiased perspective of the group. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 which mostly focused on the Presidential Campaign of Richard Nixon. Also, The Curse of Lono which was inspired by his experiences traveling Hawaii.

Paul Theroux

  • Born: April 10, 1941

Personal Life and Travels

Like some writers, Theroux did not start right away pursuing a writing career. After graduating with a degree in B.A. English, Rheroux headed for Malawi as part of the Peace Corps and taught there. However, he was declared persona non grata for aiding a political rivalry of Prime Minister Hastings Banda escape. He then continued becoming a teacher in Uganda. However, following a vehicle accident, he and his family decided to move to Singapore and there at the University of Singapore he continued teaching. Later on, his family settled in United Kingdom.

Theroux is still living and continues to be a great travel writer.

Some Renowned Works

The first ever publication of Theroux was a novel entitled Waldo and published several novels thereafter. Years after his great success as a travel writer commenced upon the publication of The Great Railway Bazaar, which was regarded as a classic for travel writing. The novel was about his four-month journey from London to Europe, and then Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and his return through the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Pico Iyer

  • Born: February 11 1957

Personal Life and Travels

Iyer was born in a well-learned family. His father Raghavan was a philosopher and political theorist and his mother Nandini was a religious scholar. Later in his life, Iyer became a professor at Harvard and taught writing and literature. Following his teaching career, he joined Time as a writer on world affairs, from then on he traveled exhaustively from North Korea to Easter Island and from Paraguay to Ethiopia.

Iyer is still living and continues to become a great travel writer.

Some Renowned Works

Iyer’s renowned travel works are non-fiction such as Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, The Global Soul, and the Man Within My Head. He is also a successful resource and inspirational speaker around the world.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Born: 1969

Personal Life and Travels

Gilbert grew up in a quiet simple family in Connecticut, she obtained her fondness for literature through a family habit of reading together. Her journey in life was a great inspiration to her writing career. She has managed to work day jobs such as a waitress, bartender, and magazine employee as she thrived to write in between.

Some Renowned Works

Gilbert is widely known for her novel, Eat, Pray, Love. She wrote for Esquire and had a short story published entitled Pilgrims. She then became a journalist to reputable companies such as The New York Times Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Real Simple, Allure, SPIN, and GQ. She also published a book The Last American Man which received nomination for National Book Award.

There you go! I hope you enjoyed reading this blog article!

This article was written by Charm from inkmypapers.

10 Great Travel Writers and Their Renowned Work was last modified: by

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