Literature’s Best in Travel – Around the World with Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway in Kenya, 1953, Look Magazine

A friend and I were talking about Ernest Hemingway the other day and I realized that not only was he one of the most consummate drinkers writers in American history, the guy really got around.

Be that some of his travels were in the defense of liberty from the ruddy face of fascism, and some of them were to shoot elephants, he nevertheless moved between America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean and painted each place with the colorful brushstrokes only foreign lands can inspire.

I’ve dedicated this post to Hemingway and his travels not because his lifestyle is one to mimic but to find how following his path from continent to continent could lead you from your own obsessions (literary, alcoholic or otherwise) to catharsis through travel.

I’ve listed the following works in geographic not chronological order, in a way that would allow someone, perhaps you, to visit the places he lingered in and travel to as a trip through Papa Hem’s world of drink, character, war and romance.

As is the custom, below is the trip as Trip Planner sees it. Note that some of the spots on the itinerary are not programmed into Trip Planner (either too small or too Cuba) but AirTreks can get you most anywhere with personal customizations (except places on the USA embargo list, i.e. Cuba).  Click the image for a closer view.

Birthplace – Oak Park, Illinois.

Islands in the StreamBimini, Bahamas

Follows the fortunes of a painter on the picturesque Caribbean island of Bimini during World War II.

Old Man and the SeaCuba

Set more on the waters than in Cuba per se but a great description of the working class Cuban mentality and a brave clash with the elements.

To Have and to Have NotKey West, Cuba

Where a boat owner is forced into running contraband between Cuba and Key West. Hemingway spent a great deal of time in Key West and has a true emotional attachment to the location, shown vividly through his writing.

The Sun Also RisesPamplona, Spain

Hemingway lived in Spain and during one of its most dramatic time periods. Sun Also Rises captures the spirit of that time, and even sodden in alcohol it was depicted brilliantly, and not just the bullfights.

For Whom the Bell TollsSegovia, Spain

Hemingway traveled again to Spain to cover the Civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from “the good fight”. The Spaniard personalities are priceless.

Moveable FeastParis, France

Quite possible the best portrayal of Paris that has ever, and ever will be, written. No trip to Paris is complete until this book is read. Oh and visit the Rue Mouffetard to see Hem’s old apartment.

The Garden Of Eden – Cote d’Azur, Camargue, France

A wonderful and dramatic Mediterranean honeymoon book. He paints the landscape of the region like no one else ever will.

Farewell to ArmsMilan, Italy

Portrays Italy in the belly of the beast of war. Great character development in a great place in a tragic moment in history.

Across the River Into the TreesVenice, Italy

Set in the island city of Venice at the end of WWII. Shown with tender admiration for the people and a city at a particularly unique moment in time.


Green Hills of AfricaKilamanjaro, Tanzania

Out on a two-month safari in the big-game country of East Africa. Evocative of the region’s beauty, tremendously potent in character, culture and custom. Widely held to be one of the twentieth century’s classic travelogues.

Final resting place – Ketchum, Idaho

If you want to instill a little inspiration into your own life with a trip like this, or else to customize your own, get the party started by clicking the Trip Planner link (in red) below. Long live Papa!