Drive, Hike, Sail: 5 Riveting Literary Routes

(traveling listicle)

Even if you haven’t read Benedikt Yerofeyev’s Moscow-Petrushka, you have most likely heard about this postmodern work filled with strong words, alcohol, and irony. The same-name 125-kilometer route became cult for many readers — devoted fans used to grab the book and travel through the stations described in it. But there are a huge number of other cult routes in the world literature.

Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, And Indonesia

Plot: American writer’s memoir about the escape from the metropolis (New York) after the divorce, her journey and the incredible discoveries she made along the way became widely known after the 2010 Hollywood film version starring Julia Roberts. The book remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 187 weeks, Oprah Winfrey devoted two episodes of her

show to it, and a follow-up was released: ‘Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage’.

Route: EAT: New York — Rome (four months in the eternal city where the main character had an ‘affair’ with pizza and other local specialties); PRAY: Rome — Mumbai (four months in India in search of spirituality); LOVE: Mumbai — Bali (two months in Indonesia on the island of Bali to finally find balance and love).

Ilya Ilf, Yevgeni Petrov Little Golden America

Plot: In 1935 Russian writers Ilf and Petrov came to the USA as special correspondents for the Russian newspaper ‘Pravda’, got a new ‘noble grey mouse-colored’ Ford, and together with the Adams couple from New York, drove across America from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and back. This became possible thanks to the friendly relations of the then Soviet government with US President Roosevelt. In a subtle and insightful manner characteristic of the authors, a brilliant ideology-free portrait of America and its inhabitants was created. Ernest Hemingway, Henry Ford, Beth Davis, and a number of celebrities of the time appear on the pages of the book. The writers climb up the Empire State Building, visit the White House, where President Roosevelt meets with reporters, discover Hollywood, American football, and a uniquely American invention known as ‘electric chair’.

Route: From Moscow through Paris to New York; from there — across the country — from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Jules Verne In Search of the Castaways

Plot: In the waters of Scotland sailors of the steam, yacht Duncan catch a hammerhead fish, inside which they find a bottle with letters in three languages

saying that the British ship ‘Britain’ was wrecked, and Captain Grant and two sailors were saved, but the coordinates of their locations are known only partially. At the request of the children of the captain and wife of Lord Glenarvan, who owns the ship, the yacht goes looking for the lost.

Route: Glasgow — across the Atlantic to the shores of South America — across the Strait of Magellan to Patagonia — across the Indian Ocean to Australia — New Zealand — Tabor Island (Captain Grant was found here) — Great Britain.

Cheryl Strayed Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Plot: In 1994 American writer Cheryl Strayed decided to walk a part of the 1,100 miles long (1,770 kilometers) Pacific Crest Trail to cope with the emotional distress caused by the recent divorce and death of a close person. In 2012 she issued her memoir, and two years later, a Hollywood film adaptation with Reese Witherspoon was released.

Route: The Pacific Crest Trail runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian one, across the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and partially — the Canadian province of British Columbia. The route passes through 7 US national parks and 28 national forests.

Jaroslav Hašek The Good Soldier Švejk

Plot: The main anti-war novel of all times by the Czech writer Yaroslav Hašek was unfortunately not finished by the writer. The satirical and extremely witty character was immortalized in monuments and films, there is even an asteroid named in his honor. The dog dealer Josef Švejk, commissioned from the army for ‘dementia’, with the outbreak of the First World War is drafted into service, and on his way to the front encounters bureaucrats, policemen, doctors, military tyranny and even ‘has the honor’ to be lost in the game of cards.

Route: Prague (after garrison prison and barracks Švejk was sent to

the front from Prague) — České Budějovice — Bruck an der Leitha (now — Austria) — Budapest (from where Švejk headed for Slovakia with his 11th march company) — Humenné (a city in Slovakia, where there is a monument to Švejk) — Sanok (now Poland, formerly, Galicia, there is also a monument to Švejk there) — Feldstein (now Skelivka village, Starosamborsk district, Lviv region, also boasting a monument to Švejk) — Przemyśl (now Poland) — Lemberg (now Lviv) — Zoltanets and Klimontów (now villages in Lviv region).

So, if you don`t want to keep in mind the sayings of ‘professional pc travelers’ like this one, “I wonder how many mountains, cities and sea resorts I`ve scrolled with my mouse,” pack your backpack and buy your tickets. Riveting literary routes are waiting for you!

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