The Best Travel Audiobooks I Listened To In 2020

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Welcome to the Travelman Podcast! I’m your host Ben and if you’re new to the podcast Happy New Year! On today’s episode the first for 2021, I’ll be chatting about my favourite travel audio books I listened to last year. There was 10 in total that I listened to. I’ll also be talking about another three that I really enjoyed!

I’ll also talk to you briefly about what’s going on in my life, kinda like a mini I’m Inspired Now. So, enjoy the podcast!

So firstly, let’s just cover what myself and many other Melbournians have been living through in 2020 and then we’ll get to the audiobook recommendations.

So, Happy New Year listener I hope you had a great Christmas/holiday and hopefully 2021 will be a much better year! For most of us lockdown is still a reality, Covid sucks, but what can you do. There’s some vloggers out there on YouTube still travelling the worlds but for most of us including me, there’s no way we are seeing different parts of the world until we can control Covid or even get the spike!!!!!!! Vaccine!!!!!!

Let’s talk about 10 travel audio books I listened to last year in 2020. I also have another three that I can recommend that I listened to that aren’t travel related.

Step by Step, Simon Reeve

Simon Reeve, he’s a guy that I really enjoy watching on TV, I like that he seems mostly unscripted on TV, it feels pretty much the same in this book. This is his memoir on his travels. You see how much he’s been through. You realise at the end of this book that Simon is just a very down to earth guy, he wasn’t given everything on a plate and really worked hard to get where he got. He admits to not being the best student. This book is based around all his travels and particularly The Equator which I haven’t seen. He discovers so many interesting places and nearly even dies in Africa of Malaria. Brilliant. 10/10

The Call of the Weird, Louis Theroux

This is Louis in his element, meeting the strangest people in the America. He’s a strange guy Louis but the people he meets is what makes this book so compelling. He doesn’t care what he says to people or what they say back to him. It’s incredible who he meets along his travels in America. The stories and the way he extracts information from the weirdest and wildest people in America is fascinating. Very good book, Louis Theroux is a story teller and amazing interviewer! Brilliant! 10/10

Walking the Americas, Levison Wood

The first Levison Wood book I ever listened too. Levison is a very interesting man, who takes chances. I think at most times his chances are calculated. In this book, he travels through some dangerous places with his friend that he met in Mexico. In this audiobook he guides you through his 1,800 mile trek along the Americas. He travels through eight countries, from Mexico all the way down to Colombia. He even attempts the Darian Gap. He captures your imagination with the way he writes and the people he meets along the way. He pushes himself to extremes. Brilliant! 10/10

Walking the Nile, Levison Wood

Great book, the second of the books I’ve read by Levison. Again, a great listen and always Levison gets himself out of the stickiest of situations. He starts off in Rwanda in 2013 and makes his way up the Nile. He follows the river for nine months and travels over 4,000 miles by foot travelling through six nations, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan and Egypt where he finishes at the Mediterranean Coast. Midway through the book the most tragic thing happens to one of his fellow hikers. This puts a sad emphasis on the book, but it’s enjoyable and very interesting the rest of time. It’s very well written and you feel like you’re on the expedition with Levison. Enjoyed it thoroughly. 10/10

Pravda Ha Ha, Rory MacLean

Rory MacLean is an amazing travel writer. He’s also a bit of a risk taker like Louis Theroux and Levison Wood. He travels from Berlin to Moscow, a trip he had done in reverse 30 years ago. He meets some very interesting people along the way. At points in this book you think he’s going to get himself in a bit of trouble but you realise he’s got it all under control. The meeting with the rich Moscow chicken Tsar is the best. He also meets an African guy in Germany, who he helps and genuinely cares for. He ends up meeting up with him again on his return to London. Beautiful book, well written, and very interesting if you know little about Eastern Europe. Awesome! 9/10

Around the World in 80 Trains, Monisha Rajesh

Monisha is a great writer, respect to her. This book is very interesting because you follow her travels all the way from St. Pancras station in London around the world. She takes you on different trains and she meets interesting people along the way. Definitely after reading this book you may consider taking some of the train trips she’s travelled on. She travels 45,000 miles, and travels through countries like Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, North Korea and Canada. Great listen and book won the National Geographic Traveller Award for best travel book of the year. Awesome book! 9/10

Looking for Transwonderland, Noo Saro-Wiwa

I loved this book and have tried to reach out to Noo Saro-Wiwa without response back. I’m not sure if she does interviews but I’d love to talk to her about her travels through Nigeria and going back there after the heartache of why she left. It’s a great listen. She talks about growing up in London but still having a huge connection to Nigeria having to go back and forth as a child. Her father Ken Saro-Wiwa, was killed which prompted her not to return for years. When she returns, she realises how much it’s changed and how much it hasn’t. It makes you really want to consider travelling to Nigeria to check it out. Sounds like a very interesting place! Awesome book! 9/10

Born A Crime, Trevor Noah

Trevor is definitely a story teller. Born A Crime is a great story about Trevor’s life, he talks about life in apartheid and his freedom. I find it extraordinary how he was able to recount so many childhood memories, and dialogue he had with people. He talks about violence which happened to him and his family, issues with having a white dad and black mother. It’s funny at times and sad at other times. The story of his life and what he has been through is very interesting and worth listening too. Awesome book! 9/10

Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer

If you know anything about the main protagonist in this book Into the Wild then you’d know he’s a little unnerving. Fantastically written. Christopher McCandless is the guy that wants to see the world and won’t let anyone come in his way. He renounces all his earthly possesions and chooses to hitchhike across America. He meets some very interesting people that he befriends. He harbors amazing friendships that he then just drops when he needs to keep moving along on his adventure. His determination to get to Alaska and live off the land with limited supplies and knowledge is harrowing, although he’s unprepared for the worst. Fantastic book. 9/10

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer

Great book with heaps of twists and turns. Is better than the movie, which was still very good. I loved hearing about his climb up Everest, and his explanation on how it felt to climb the tallest mountain in the world, and how much of it was a struggle. What a harrowing story to tell, writing notes the whole way up and down Everest. Some great characters and great conversations. He captures his climb up to the summit of Everest perfectly. I didn’t realise that the decent is harder than the ascent. He climbed Everest because he was writing a piece for Outside Magazine. Fantastic book. 9/10

Other Books I read but aren’t travel related!

Unexplained, Richard MacLean Smith

Richard MacLean Smith, from the podcast Unexplained writes about 10 of the world’s most real-life mysteries that are still yet to be explained. It’s a great listen featuring UFO’s, reincarnation, demonic possession. I had a great time listening to this book because I enjoy the weird and the absurd and the downright strange. Awesome book! 10/10

Pet Cemetery, Stephen King

You gotta love Stephen King books. I listened to this last year also and I have to say it was fantastic and I didn’t want the story to end. I had a great time listening to this gruesome story about animals and people that come back to life if they’re buried in the Pet Cemetery. Stephen has a way to make your hair stand on end and make you listen nonstop. Stephen King is one of if not my favourite authors to date. I love horror fiction. This is one of Stephen’s best books! 10/10

Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey

The most recent audiobook I’ve listened too. I listened to this quick audio book with my wife Mandy on our trip around Lakes Entrance in my state of Victoria. If you’ve seen Matthew McConaughey’s book in the stores and you’re wondering if to listen to the audiobook or read the book then I’d suggest listen to the audio book and listen to how Matthew narrates the story of his life and stuff he’s gone through. It’s an incredible listen and an audiobook I’ll always remember, one because of the honesty of Matthew and because I was on a real awesome road trip with my wife. Matthew talks about his time in Australia with a real weird family, and also talks openly about his family and falling into acting.10/10

Thanks for listening to the podcast, if you have any good audiobook recommendations, which you think I’ll like you can email me a list at or send me a message to my various social media handles. @travelmanpodcast on Instagram and Twitter or my private @travelmanben on Instagram and @ausnative on Twitter

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