Unsuitable for Ladies- The Travel Book to Read

If you are looking for a good travel book to read, I highly recommend Unsuitable for Ladies: An Anthology of Women Travellers. It is the type of book that any self-respecting female traveller should have ready by the bedside or in the suitcase. This excellent collection is composed of snippets of adventures written by women as early as the 1800's. describes it as:
A who's who of 200 adventurous women travelers, explorers, scientists and writers, organized geographically. Editor Robinson provides a short introduction for each along with a helpful selection of maps. In this anthology ranging over 16 centuries, she includes excerpts from the Victorian-era derring-do of Mary Kingsley, war accounts of Florence Nightingale, Karen Blixen's memoirs and some of modern writer Dervla Murphy's adventures.

It is the kind of book that you must savor. Meaning you don't have to hurriedly read it straight through. The style of words may seem outdated but the characters are modern- so full of wit, sass and guts. Personally, I find it most useful for a quick inspiring read about exotic places or exciting misadventures. I would even dare to suggest that you try randomly picking a page and reading it. The more dated ones with the flowery but proper English text are the best! Every time I read them, I feel as though it is a story from a letter that one my kindred female travelers has sent to me by "post".

It's fascinating to think that back then they had no cellphones, no cameras, no internet and no Facebook to help them update folks back home. You either had to write everything down and wait to get back home after surviving a long trip across the ocean or you wait for the next port of call to post mail. I know! It gives me the chills when I think about not having the modern comforts that we are now used to.

Pity really. We should envy the earlier travelers because they were free from these distractions which allowed them to be purely immersed in their explorations. They were also free to discover everything for the first time- no googling "first female to travel across Papua New Guinea" only to find out that Kristina Dodson had already done it or no naysayer commenting on your blog or status update that base jumping off of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil is no longer an original idea (I checked it has be done:

Nowadays, all sorts of information about a destination is already on the internet- from reviews on accommodations, must see lists, itineraries and maps. It makes me think about how we are getting ahead of ourselves. We are already predicting the experience before it even happens. There is such a thing as over planning a trip you know!

In any case, I leave you with an excerpt from Lady Florence Dixie's Across Patagonia, 1880:

" What was the attraction in going to an outlandish place so many miles away?...Precisely because it was an outlandish place and so far away, I chose it. Palled for the moment with civilasation and its surroundings, I wanted to escape somewhere, where I might be as far removed from them as possible. Many of my readers have doubtless felt the dissatisfaction with oneself, and everybody else, that comes over one at times in the midst of the pleasure of life; when one wearies of the shallow artificiality of modern existence; when what was once excitement has become so no longer, and a longing grows up within one to taste a more vigorous emotion than that afforded by the monotonous round of society' so-called "pleasures"."

Do you have any good travel reads you want to share? Leave it on the comments field below.

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