At Champaca, we have spent the past year travelling with books, forced to journey without moving very much. During this time, we found ourselves thinking about travel in new, insightful ways, and we can’t wait to share that with you. And so, we’re thrilled to introduce you to the theme for the Champaca Book Subscription, year two: TRAVEL, and its many forms.
Over the next year, we will curate books 📚 from near and far, which explore different ideas of travel. Sign up for the Champaca Book Subscription to read with us. Can we ⌛ time travel together across histories and places? What journeys have intrepid women made? How do people experience travel when it is not by choice or for pleasure, as with migrations? And what are journeys of the mind like?
Travel writing often reads as fearless exploration of unknown places. Many accounts like this, written in lush prose, are by men. Historically, writing about travel was by colonial explorers going to faraway places, writing home about cultures they encountered, or documenting their journeys. Writing like this usually has a common theme — the traveler discovers new facets to themselves, and offers insights about the people they meet, and places they experience. This genre has influenced a lot of what we understand, in shorthand, as travel — going somewhere else, and making an adventure of it. But is that all there is?
For the kind of year we have all been through, when the virus has changed how we relate to one another and our everydays, travel has taken on new meanings. Migrant workers who wished to get home had no means to travel to safety. Many of us, within the privileges of the home, had to cope with the loss of sociality, and travel inward to reexamine things we take for granted. And most of us travelled in time, by reading books or watching television and movies, to suspend momentarily the uneasy reality that surrounds us. Last year has brought the differences between us into stark reality — how people travel, and why. With that in mind, the Champaca Book Subscription hopes to explore new ways of travelling through the books we share with you over the course of the next year.