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Captivating reads to inspire your next travel getaway

How many of us visit a destination purely based on the allure of Instagram photos, Youtube videos, blogs and guide books? All valid sources of intel, of course — yet potentially shallow when it comes to the wealth of travel-inspiring reads at our local bookstores and libraries. 

Sure Travel Journey’s Assistant Editor, Rebekah Funk, shares some of her favourite reads and how they’ve inspired trips to far-off places (as well as plans of adventures to come!). 

1. Shantaram 

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.” 

Powerful opening words to this novel by Gregory David Roberts, set in the underworld of India’s most densely-populated city, Bombay (now called Mumbai). The story follows Lin, an Australian convict with a fake passport who is searching for love, meaning and a way to disappear — and is allegedly (though perhaps loosely) based on the life of the author. 

His story is gripping, tumultuous, thought-provoking and in some parts, hectic (ie. torture) — but it left me wanting to travel to India to experience its chaos, colour and unparalleled culture. A book I'd read again!

Visit India with Sure Travel 

Qatar Airways flies to 13 cities in India, including Goa, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Get in touch with us if you’d like to plan a trip in 2019 and take advantage of up to 40% savings in Economy or Business class.

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2. The Harry Potter series 

There are few stories more magical (literally) than the seven-book Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. While Rowling created another world of wizards and witches for readers, many of the books’ settings are based on real places in the United Kingdom. 

In fact, she completed the first at a cafe in Edinburgh (because she struggled to pay the heating bills at home as a young single mother on government assistance) — and characters like Harry, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley were hatched on a train from Manchester to King’s Cross Station in London. 

See Scotland with Sure Travel 

Edinburgh is a magical place to travel, full of history and a hopping-off point to Scotland’s famous Highlands. Go there with Sure Travel and Qatar Airways in 2019 and save up to 40% on Economy or Business Class flights when you book and pay before 16 January

. . . 

3. Pride and Prejudice 

A literary (and Hollywood) classic, this book (and others like Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey or Emma by its author, Jane Austen) has inspired many a trip to England’s romantic countryside and historic estates. 

I visited Bath and the fairytale Cotswolds in June, when green rolling hills and flowers in bloom made it easy to imagine picnicking scenes from the book. It was the sort of place you could wander or spend an afternoon on your back, reading and watching the clouds go by. 

All Austen’s books mention Bath, as she lived in the city for about five years (you can tour her Georgian townhouse and have tea). While settings like the country estate at Pemberley were a fictional creation, it’s believed by some to be based on Chatsworth House, near Bakewell in Derbyshire — all-in-all, plenty of picturesque places to explore if you’re a fan of this author and novel. 

Walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen 

Visit Bath and the English Cotswolds with Sure Travel and save up to 40%. In England, Qatar Airways flies to London, Birmingham and Manchester. Contact your nearest agency to enquire or book (before 16 January 2019). 

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4. Long Walk to Freedom 

I’ve long been inspired to read personal biographies of the world’s biggest heroes in an attempt to discover what events — and surroundings — made their shaping mark. There are few people who could weather 27 years in prison and come out the other side ready to forgive and unify a nation. 

“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” 

Former President Nelson Mandela’s optimistic biography attests to his passion for South Africa and its people — including his belief that all are created equal and must fight against racism, socio-economic divides and oppression in all its forms. The book inspired my original trip to Cape Town in 2012 (along with another called Playing the Enemy by John Carlin), yet it was the people I met here that kept me coming back year after year. 

South Africa to the world 

Lucky for South Africans, save up to 40% when you fly from Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban with Qatar Airways. Contact your nearest Sure Travel agency to plan your next trip! 

. . . 

5. The Hobbit 

While J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythical land of "Hobbiton" was the stuff of his imagination, modern depictions of "The Shire", set in New Zealand, have this country at the top of my travel bucket list! Well that — and the beaches, hikes, vineyards, volcanoes and Maori culture.

Want to go to New Zealand? 

Qatar Airways flies to Auckland International Airport — save up to 40% when you book and pay with Sure Travel before 16 January (for travel until 20 May). 

. . . 

6. The Count of Monte Cristo 

Set in France, Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean, it’s hard not to be enthralled by this classic tale of an innocent man, wrongly accused and imprisoned — and his subsequent quest for revenge. 

An island fort called Chateau d’If (off the coast from Marseille’s tourist-lined beaches) was forever immortalised as the site where author Alexandre Dumas imprisoned his character, and today, the perfectly-preserved site is accessible by boat. I was there in 2009 and it’s definitely worth a visit! 

Visit Marseille’s infamous Chateau d’If 

Qatar Airways has flights to the French Riviera via Nice, or stop off in Paris for a view of the Eiffel Tower first! 

France (and its neighbouring countries) has inspired too many great works of literature to count — find one that speaks to you and contact our agents to start planning your next trip to Europe! 

. . . 

Let travel inspire your own stories! 

Plan your next adventure with Sure Travel and save up to 40% off all Qatar Airways flights in Economy or Business Class when you book and pay before 16 January 2019. Discounted prices are valid for travel before 20 May 2019 and are subject to availability at the time of booking. 

Passengers who book during the promotion period will also receive 50 per cent bonus Qmiles and Qpoints in Economy Class, and double Qmiles and Qpoints in Business and First Class. 

“No matter where passengers choose to travel, when they experience a new destination first-hand, they become the author of their own unique story,” says Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Ehab Amin. 

“With this new promotion, passengers can easily choose their next adventure and are truly spoilt for choice with Qatar Airways’ ever-expanding global network of more than 160 destinations.” 

The airline recently launched direct services to Gothenburg, Sweden; Mombasa, Kenya; and Da Nang, Vietnam. It has a host of new destination launches planned for 2019, including Valletta, Malta and Isfahan, Iran. Exciting! 

Go there with Sure Travel 

Additional Terms and Conditions may apply — contact your nearest Sure Travel Agency to enquire or book, or call +27 (0)861 47 48 49.

Go there!

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