Who, on Wednesday night, found themselves desperately gluing everything from cardboard boxes to colanders to their sprogs (or grandsprogs) in preparation for dressing up on World Book Day? While we're undeniably jealous that it's only the kids that get to dress up as their favourite characters (#ageist), we did get to thinking about the inherent links between books and travel; books, much like travel, have the power to transport us to other countries, times and worlds - getting us beneath the skin of someone else's life. Meanwhile most holidays are only enhanced by the company of a good yarn. So we've picked five classic books and chosen the destinations that most reflect them. Off we go down the rabbit hole then...
If You Like 'Alice in Wonderland'... Go To Madagascar
From weird and wacky endemic flora and fauna to bizarre landscapes blanketed with red limestone needles jutting from the earth and baobab trees the size of multi-story buildings, you'd be forgiven for thinking Madagascar was in fact the subterranean fantasy world, Wonderland. While we can't promise any grinning cats, we can guarantee an abundance of cheeky lemurs (eight different breeds to be exact), 11 types of chameleon and 75 species of bird. All of which can be experienced on a tailor-made trip with amazing guides at every stage.
If You Like 'The Lord Of The Rings'... Go To New Zealand
We're going to throw it out there and say The Lord of The Rings films most definitely lived up to the much-loved books. Rolling emerald hills, ominous active volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, New Zealand was the perfect backdrop to do Tolkien's books justice. Make like Frodo (sans ring) and head towards the monumental Mount Doom (aka Mount Ngauruhoe) on a scenic light aircraft tour for unparalleled views of this spectacularly spooky stratovolcano. Step into the lush pastures of the 12-acre Hobbiton movie set for a guided tour and fall in love with the beautiful landscapes of the Kaimai mountain range. Wash it all down with a pint at the famous Green Dragon Inn, or we can arrange any number of vineyard voyages.
If You Like 'On The Road'... Go To The USA
If the hitchhiking escapades of Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise kept you captivated in Jack Kerouac's On The Road, then perhaps you'd like to try a bit of USA road tripping for yourself (decidedly un-hitchhiker-esque with Original Travel, we might add). One of our favourite areas to embark on such an adventure is the Carolinas, which boast bustling cities as well as beautiful beaches. Discover the cobblestone streets, pastel houses and horse-drawn carriages of charming Charleston by bike, which despite its diminutive size, packs a big punch in terms of history (the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter), culture and fantastic food. Skirt along the coast to magnificent Myrtle Beach, where we can arrange everything from deep-sea fishing to kayaking tours of the backwaters.
If You Like 'Where The Wild Thing Are'... Go To Kenya
If you enjoyed Sendak's children's book Where The Wild Things Are, you're certainly going to enjoy seeing some real-life beasties in Kenya. The Masai Mara allows for some sensational safaris, where sightings of the Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes) are all but guaranteed. For an entirely different safari experience head to Laikipia in central Kenya, where riding safaris allow you to access places that 4x4s cannot reach, so you can feel totally immersed in the nature around you. After seeing some big game, up your beach game on the Lamu archipelago, which is also great for waterskiing, reef snorkelling and swimming with dolphins.
If You Like His Dark Materials... Go To Svalbard
Svalbard is synonymous with Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, a place where polar bears still outnumber humans in an other-worldly wilderness. Located half way between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is a vast realm which is 60% glaciers, peppered with phenomenal fjords, snow-drowned mountains and jaw-dropping Northern Lights. Live an arctic fairy tale with some eerie ice cave trekking, snowmobile safaris (keep an eye out for polar bears with their cubs) and huskie-led adventures with a team of expert mushers. If you want Svalbard on steroids, head to the other end of the earth, Antarctica. The 'white desert' is a starkly beautiful continent which is best explored on a cruise, where you'll have the option to kayak, hike and snowshoe around the world's most southerly destination.
If You Like 'The Jungle Book'... Go To India
Forget your worries and your strife and head into the jungle of Kanha National Park in India with a wildlife specialist (unfortunately not a happy-go-lucky sloth bear or a wise panther), where the iconic Jungle Book is set. Boasting over 1,300 square miles of thick forest and savannah plains, Kanha is one of India's best-known tiger reserves, and best explored on an early morning Jeep safari. Your guide will be able to tell you all about the tigers, antelopes and gaurs (the largest cattle in the world) you'll encounter, as well as the vast number of bird and butterfly species which call the region home.
If you want to find out more about our World Book Day destinations get in touch.