Spiritual Places & The Inspired Traveller’s Guide [Book Review]

Looking for a little inspiration for your next trip? Or looking to escape the latest lockdown restrictions? Sarah Baxter’s ‘Inspired Traveller Guide’ series offers plenty. Whether you’re a book, art or zen lover, or even just a lover of off the beaten path places — there’s something for you.

I first came across this series in one of my favourite places in Oxford: Blackwell’s bookshops. In its cavernous depths (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve visited) I found a beautiful copy of Spiritual Places. Its cover stands out amongst the others because of its tactility — more like linen than the paper on a hardback book. There’s also something incredibly enchanting about the golden title. The way it catches the light against the backdrop of illustrations by Harry & Zanna Goldhawk of Papio Press.

Five books make up the series:

  • Spiritual Places
  • Literary Places
  • Hidden Places
  • Mystical Places
  • Artistic Places (2021)

Written by Sarah Baxter — travel journalist and former deputy editor of Wanderlust magazine — the Inspired Traveller series offers information about some of the world’s must-see destinations. Each book acts like a chapter and focuses in on a specific theme. With charming illustrations, these are the perfect coffee table inspiration for the travel lover in us all.

Spiritual Places

Within these pages you’ll experience 25 places around the world that are a ‘balm to the mind and a tonic to the soul’. To accompany each place are evocative illustrations from Papio Press (they also have a beautiful range of Christmas cards!) that only add to this books calming influence.

You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to appreciate Baxter’s Spiritual Places. I found it a fascinating read from a cultural perspective. This book is like a window into the lives of human beings. And as human beings, we’re always looking to find meaning and something bigger than ourselves.

From the manmade Easter Island statues (some of which are buried deep underground), to pilgrim journeys and places of worship. All these locations affect our very human nature: the nature of faith.

This book was such a pleasant escape to far-flung places of meaning around the world. And each place is told as a separate story making it ideal to read in chunks. Whenever you need a moment to be elsewhere, grab the book and dive into another spiritual place.

The Camino de Santiago makes an appearance too — read about my experience with that spiritual place here.

Literary Places

This Inspired Traveller’s Guide is a celebration of some of the best literary works of the past. Looking at the lives of the authors and how they intertwined with their characters, Baxter brings these novels to life through place.

The location and setting of each novel becomes an extra character in itself — brought to life through rich hand-drawn illustrations*.* Anyone who’s read Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights will know how the Yorkshire’s wild moors shaped Cathy and Heathcliff’s story. Or how pivotal Kabul and Afghanistan are to many of the central themes in Hosseini’s *Kite Runner.*

With the cold winter months approaching, and another UK lockdown, curl up beside the fire and discover the places behind the novel.

Hidden Places

Immerse yourself in 25 of the world’s most remote and unknown places. Unearth secrets around the globe through stories as old as time. From prehistoric villages in the islands off Scotland, to underwater monuments, forgotten cities and sacred sanctuaries.

Hidden Places allows the reader to glimpse portions of the world only recently uncovered.

Take the opportunity to understand the history of those places deliberately shielded from view. And be surprised by the human element at the core of each of these hidden places — the stories waiting to be told around the modern-day campfire.

Mystical Places

Prepare to be bewitched by some of the most magical, powerful and arcane locations around the world. Discover their alluring stories as you explore places shrouded in sacred legends and myths as old as time. Think of these places as the rich tapestries of life that make our world just a little more enchanting.

From elves to giants, ghosts and creatures of the sea there are legends in every corner of the globe. Dare you explore them and uncover the history behind the ceremonies, the rites or the supernatural?

Artistic Places

Looking for a little calm and serenity? Then what better way to dip into a book about locations that inspired the greatest expression of self — art.

Artistic Places is due to be released in March next year but promises to be a visual guide to delight all those seeking beauty, solace or reflection. Get ready to be inspired and explore the stories behind some of the most famous masterpieces all art lovers will adore.

The five Inspired Traveller Guides are sure to take you on all sorts of adventures around the globe. Comment below and tell us which one is your favourite and why?

Originally posted on Sage Adventures travel & wellness lifestyle blog: www.sageadventres.co.uk.

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Hannah

Hannah

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Travel blogger, student journalist, lover of adventure and climbing | 33 countries visited | Travel & Adventure Blog @ www.sageadventures.co.uk