While I was studying in New Zealand, I took a class titled, “Travel Narratives.” I thought it would be right up my alley, combining my love for travel and writing. “This should be an easy A,” I thought. WRONG. Oh so wrong. Probably one of the most horrible classes I ever had to endure. I actually went to it maybe 3 times all semester, ugh sorry Mom. The good thing the class did however, was open my eyes to new books and stories about travel. Now, mind you I didn’t read all 13 novels assigned during the semester because hello, I was busy having an adventure of my own; I didn’t want to read about one. But, most have made to my wish list of reads. Well, now that I am adult, I am trying to read more and stimulate my brain in ways other than the TV and Internet. This year, my goal is to read one book per month so that I am always learning and discovering.
To fuel my never-ending lust for travel and adventure I though the perfect topic for all the books would be just that- travel!
Here is my must read 2015 Travel Inspired Books:
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Because, duh, what travel book list would be complete without this classic. For those who don’t know, this novel follows Kerouac’s adventures traveling across America (and Mexico!). Known as the book that defined the Beat Generation, this is a wonderful tale filled with jazz, poetry and drugs. “The only people for me are the mad ones.”
- The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. One of Twain’s most popular works as well as one of the best-selling travel books of all time, Twain writes of his adventures on board a charter vessel as is takes him through Europe and the Holy Land.
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a memoir of Elizabeth and her quest to find herself. After a divorce, she sets out to discover the world and herself by what else? Travel. Take a trip across Italy, India and Indonesia while in your comfortable apartment.
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Now turned major motion picture, this is a memoir of a 26-year-old woman who takes a solo trip across the United States via the Pacific Crest Trail. Hey, if it’s good enough for Reese Witherspoon, it’ll be good enough for me, I’m sure.
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. Set in the 1960s, Steinbeck takes his poodle, Charley, and sets out on the open road. He and Charley start in Long Island, and boarder the United States from Maine to the Pacific Northwest, down to California, across to Texas, through the South and finally back up to New York. The 10,000-mile journey was made so Steinbeck could see America before his death. Sad.
- Travels with Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn. This memoir details the adventures of Martha and occasionally Ernest Hemingway (cool). She was a journalist who covered every military conflict from the Spanish Civil War to the Vietnam War. This tells the stories of various adventures all along the way.
- Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. The story of Christopher McCandless, he ventures to Alaska after graduating college. Of course, before doing so he burns his money and wallet, sets his car on fire and ensures no trace of him is left. The free spirit in you will love the tale of the boy who set out to live a life off the grid.
- The Backpacker by John Harris. Another memoir, John tells of his journey around the world with a risky partner. Of course, any memoir wouldn’t be complete without drugs, cons and parties. Dangerous adventure to get you through!
- Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. This is the story of Krakauer’s adventures and disaster on Mt. Everest. Paired with bad choices and adventure, this is the true story behind the 1996 disaster when eight climbers were killed and several others stranded.
- In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin. This story charts a six-month journey made by Chatwin in 1972. Filled with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history and unforgettable anecdotes, this is a story that is sure to fuel your lust for life and adventure. Chatwin takes the reader through the southern tip of South America.
- Great Plains by Ian Frazier. Frazier takes his readers on a thrilling adventure across the Heart of America. Covering more than 25,000 miles in three years, discover the site of Sitting Bull’s cabin, an abandoned house once terrorized by Bonnie and Clyde and more!
- The Art of Travel by Alian de Botton. Saved for last, this book takes a philosophical look at travel. It explores the reasoning behind why people feel the need to travel the world. Alian de Botton analyzes our need to travel and the disappoint we sometimes feel when trips don’t measure up to expectation.
If you cannot travel in life, allow the books and your imagination to take you where you body cannot. Of course, if you can travel, let the books be inspiration and pass the hours spent on airplanes.
Happy Reading, cheers!