A compelling book has the power to change your life. Moving from one chapter to another is an adventure in itself, inspiring you to take action and follow suit. Many of the travelers I’ve met are avid readers and students of the written word. On idle nights in hostels or campsites, I’d find them in a quiet corner, holed up with a book.
In my case, it was Jack Kerouac’s ”On the Road,” which led me to decide that I would spend my life discovering the rich possibilities of this “too-big world.”
Today, the travel genre has expanded, with titles spanning how-to guides, reportage, down to the deeply personal. Whether you’re stuck at work and itching to book that vacation, or in some remote corner in the world, a good travel book will certainly invoke a spirit of adventure.
To help you get started, here’s a list of some of my favorites so far:
1. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World – Eric Weiner
This book is exactly what it says it is, and more. Eric Weiner straddles along philosophical writing and humorous memoir with eloquent restraint. We’re taken into a journey to the “happiest” places on earth where we learn about the different ways people define contentment. On the surface, it reads like an enjoyable, ordinary travel book but it gives profound insights on how a place shapes us and offers secrets to why some people are happier. Ultimately, the book will inspire you to find your own happiness.
Image from https://www.ericweinerbooks.com/
2. The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home – Pico Iyer
Any Lonely Planet or Baedeker will tell us where to travel, but itinerant scholars like Pico Iyer will tell us how to and why. The book contains bite-size details of Iyer’s travels around the world, which act as visual guides to his deeper discussions on life as a modern nomad. If you want to know more about the global village our world has become, “The Global Soul” offers a taste.
Image from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/677168.The_Global_Soul
3. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed
Image from: https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Found-Pacific-Crest-Oprahs-ebook/dp/B005IQZB14
4. Dark Star Safari – Paul Theroux
Image from: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Star-Safari-Overland-Capetown/dp/0618446877
5. In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin
Image from: https://www.amazon.com/Patagonia-Penguin-Classics-Bruce-Chatwin/dp/0142437190
6. Soul Mountain – Gao Xingjian
Image from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45961.Soul_Mountain
Other Recommended Books:
- “The Motorcycle Diaries” (1993) – Ernesto “Che” Guevara
- “Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World” (2001) – Rita Golden Gelman
- “West With the Night” (1942) – Beryl Markham
- “The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost” (2011) – Rachel Friedman
- “Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle” (1965) – Dervla Murphy
- “Shadow of the Silk Road” (2006) – Colin Thubron
- “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” (1962) – John Steinbeck
- Seven Years in Tibet (1953) – Heinrich Harrer
- “Into the Wild” (1996) – Jack Krakauer
- “The Art of Travel” (2002) – Alain de Botton
Brooke has been a connoisseur of back roads and obscure places since she was a girl. Growing up in a small working farm, she knew at a young age that there was so much to see and understand about the world. Since she left home at 17, she’s been gallivanting around the world. She’s a go-to resource for fearless Euro travel and extreme budget adventures. Her colorful experiences moving from one country to another with only time to spare will surely inspire you to leave the rat race and chase your backpacking dreams.