Journey – An Illustrated History of Travel

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Journey – An Illustrated History of Travel from Dorling Kindersley bills itself as ‘a must for every armchair traveller’ although it probably needs a warning that you’re going to need a big armchair. It is a substantial tome.

Moving through section by section from The Ancient World to The Age of Flight it covers just about every travel category you could ask for, so it’s reassuring to be reminded that travel is such a big field it’s still possible to find things missing.



• Where’s my favourite early traveler Thomas Coryate, the pioneering penniless predecessor to the wealthy tourists of the European Grand Tour era? I followed Mr Coryate all the way to his (possible) tomb in India a few years ago.
• Captain Cook, Wlliam Dampier, Abel Tasman and other pioneer explorers all get their due, but what about William Bligh who suffered the Mutiny on the Bounty which kicked off the whole erotic-romantic image of the South Seas?
• Louis Blériot, Alock & Brown, Lindbergh and the glamorous Amelia Earhart all feature, but what about the Smith Brothers who made the first flight from London to Australia in 1919?

▲ A short walk from the terminal building at Adelaide Airport in South Australia is the Vickers Vimy, a WW I biplane bomber, which Ross Smith and Keith Smith (and two engineering assistants) flew from England to Australia in 1919. I’ve also paid my respects to the near identical Vimy which made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic earlier the same year, it’s in the Science Museum in London.

• Francis Chichester, the first solo sailing circuit of the world doesn’t get a mention, but nor does Joshua Slocum whose solo circumnavigation took three years and had lots of stops which sounds much more appealing. He completed the trip in 1898.
• The Hippie Trail – Europe to India – features and I get a mention, but what about the Gringo Trail through South America? And youth hostels, they’ve had a huge impact on travel for young people, and what about Gap Year travel?