National Travel Week

As the Omicron surge fades into the rear-view mirror, and millions of Americans look to make up for lost time, pundits and agents throughout the country all seem to agree: travel is back. 2022 is set to be the biggest year for leisurely travel since the onset of the pandemic sent the number of travelers passing through TSA checkpoints plummeting by nearly 90% back in May of 2020. In many ways, travel has been quietly back for months, as the work-from-anywhere revolution has freed a large chunk of the global workforce from traditional office life. While many people remain apprehensive about traveling—which is certainly understandable—these so-called “digital nomads” have traded in their cubicles for lightweight laptops and publicly accessible Wi-Fi that one might find in, say, a Parisian café or a hotel lobby in Berlin. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not the airlines will be able to handle the pending surge.

For Californians desiring a change of scenery, but who may not have the luxury of a flexible work schedule, the good news is that your public libraries have your back. As noted recently in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “As much as libraries are known for books and reading . . . libraries demonstrate that they are hubs of free public workforce services that include advanced technology and community resources.” Here at the San Jose Public Library we offer no less than 25 different locations with free public WiFi that anyone can use. Want to get out of town? Simply checkout one of our wireless hotspots (see our FAQ’s for details). Need a space for teleconferencing or a virtual interview? Reserve a room in SJ Works at the King Library downtown—and don’t forget to grab a bite at San Pedro Market Square or catch a Shark’s game while you’re here. Looking to vacation closer to home? You can check out a free pass to a California State Park or a local museum through the library’s Discover & Go program. Not only do we have the resources to support your remote work, we have books and graphic novels for those of you looking to get away and disconnect as well.

National Travel and Tourism Week begins May 1st and runs through the 7th and there isn’t a better time to consider whether you’re up for a little sight-seeing. The annual event ushers in the official beginning of travel season in the United States with special events and regional deals designed to get you off the couch. To that end, we’ve put together a list of our favorite graphic novels and illustrated travelogues to help inspire you:

Travel Graphic Novels and Illustrated Travelogues

Ruins, book cover

Ruins by Peter Kuper

This vibrant graphic novel is filled with stunning artwork and tells the story of a couple’s sabbatical year in Oaxaca, Mexico. It won an Eisner Award in 2016 for Best Graphic Album.

You & a Bike & a Road, book cover

You & a Bike & a Road by Eleanor Davis

An autobiographical comic journal that chronicles the author’s epic bicycle trip across the Southern United States, from Arizona to Athens, Georgia.

Carnet De Voyage, book cover

Carnet De Voyage by Craig Thompson

Penned by the author of the classic graphic novel, Blankets, as he embarked upon a rigorous promotional tour, this travelogue includes sketches from France, Spain, Morocco and the Alps.

Tokyo on Foot, book cover

Tokyo on Foot by Florent Chavouet

Created over a 6-month period the author spent intimately exploring Tokyo, this book features beautiful illustrations of one the biggest and most culturally significant cities in the world.

Pyongyang a Journey in North Korea, book cover

Pyongyang a Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle

While the author, Guy Delisle, has written several excellent illustrated travelogues, Pyongyang gives us a compelling view of a country and culture that Americans are rarely able to see.

The Venice Chronicles, book cover

The Venice Chronicles by Enrico Casarosa

Known at various times as “the City of Water” or “the City of Masks,” Pixar artist Enrico Casarosa gives us a stylistically stunning depiction of Venice through 144 expertly water-colored pages.

Daytripper, book cover

Daytripper by Fabio Moon

The story of an aspiring novelist repeatedly reimagining his own death as he struggles with mortality may not seem to merit a place on this list, but Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba transport us to Brazil through their incredible illustrations, all while poetically contemplating the meaning of human life.

An Age of License, book cover

An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

A lovingly drawn, romantic graphic memoir that combines a love of travel with a love of food born from the author’s trip through Europe promoting a prior book.

You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons, book cover

You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons by Mo Willems

A compilation of illustrations beloved children’s author Mo Willems drew immortalizing every individual day of a year-long backpacking trip through more than 30 countries.

To Timbuktu, book cover

To Timbuktu by Casey Scieszka

Steven Weinberg and Casey Scieszka’s graphic memoir recollecting their meeting in a Morocco, and their first two years together out of college, spanning nine different countries.

On the Camino, book cover

On the Camino by Jason

This graphic memoire details the author’s 500-mile trek down the historic Camino de Santiago in Northwestern Spain to commemorate his 50th birthday.

Persepolis, book cover

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

A graphic memoir that frequently ends up on banned book lists to this day, Persepolis details the author’s childhood growing up in Iran and Austria during the Islamic Revolution and is widely considered one of the best graphic novels ever written.