First off, I am sorry. I could pick only a few travel books, but, for someone who looks at books with utmost adoration and love, this was extremely tough. I wish I could explain how each and every book takes me to a completely different world— a world that I wish I could visit, but that’ll just never end. Here I am to see if books, have EVER inspired the wanderer in you?
A book that has inspired you to take a step to be adventurous? A book that feeds your wanderlust? A powerful piece of literature that has made you yearn to travel, explore and discover on your own! If not, don’t worry! We have a list of books that will make you want to travel (Like, right now!):
Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
This non-fiction book published in 1996 tells a true story of Chris McCandless, a young American who left his comfortable suburban life to explore the unknown in Alaska. Even though McCandless died of starvation after some two years and 100 days into this journey but as you get to read his story, you see that even if it was a short one, he had a pretty fulfilled life. Getting inspiration from Henry David Thoreau, Boris Pasternak, and Leo Tolstoy and his favourite, Jack London, McCandless lived a life of no obligations, no limitations, and no expectations at all. Just exploring the world, life and himself. THAT’S LIFE! Isn’t it?
To give you a glimpse:
“You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.”
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, by Rolf Potts
Who would you call a vagabond? Or Vagabonding? Someone who wanders from place to place without a permanent home and often without a regular means of support. So as you must have guessed, this book advises how to physically and mentally prepare for an extended journey. But most importantly, it suggests an uncommon outlook to living life with a constant sense of curiosity and adventure. It is a nice mix of inspiration and practical advice if you’re planning a long-term trip.
“Travel, I was coming to realize, was a metaphor not only for the countless options life offers but also for the fact that choosing one option reduces you to the parameters of that choice. Thus, in knowing my possibilities, I also knew my limitations.”
The Beach, by Alex Garland
This fictional novel will take you on a journey with a young British backpacker named Richard who is looking for some idyllic, untouched beach in South East Asia. Richard’s quest for adventure follows a map left by his doped-up neighbour, who called himself Mr Daffy Duck.
Instead of “looking for something different”, the book asks you to go beyond mere disillusionment. Also, be ready for some terrifying and frightening twists and turns in the book!
“If I’d learnt one thing from travelling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them. Don’t talk about going to Borneo. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag, and it just happens.”
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
This is a story of a young Andalusian shepherd boy, Santiago, who follows his heart and travels to Egypt on a quest to find treasure and new experiences.
During his journey, where he crosses the blistering Sahara desert, he meets different people who help him find the treasure within himself. Filled with life lessons and inspirations, this book will surely inspire you to keep reaching for your dreams.
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
The Motorcycle Diaries, by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
We all remember Che Guevara, the young revolutionary who helped Castro overthrow the US-backed Cuban government. The Motorcycle Diaries is a memoir that traces early life of this young revolutionary, just a medical student then, who travels up South America on a motorbike with a friend Alberto Granado.
This memoir of Che Guevara stirs your soul as it is both a political and personal journey as during his entire South American travelogue he learns about poverty, politics, and philosophy.
“The first commandment for every good explorer is that an expedition has two points: the point of departure and the point of arrival. If your intention is to make the second theoretical point coincide with the actual point of arrival, don’t think about the means — because the journey is a virtual space that finishes when it finishes, and there are as many means as there are different ways of ‘finishing.’ That is to say, the means are endless.”
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
Released in 1957, On the Road is based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States. Two friends Sal and Dean travel across the United States searching for fulfilment in everything from alcohol and drugs to women and music.
Written amidst the background of ‘50s culture and youthful freedom, the book captures the Beat Generation which was a post-WWII literary movement that explored and influenced American culture and politics.
“…the only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing… but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.”
Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
A spiritual memoir of Elizabeth Gilbert takes us on a journey through Rome, India, and Bali, where she finds her path to happiness.
If you’re up for some soul searching, pick this book and embark on your own spiritual journey to find peace with your own self. Eat Pray Love form a holy trinity for the 21st-century woman inspiring her to pack her bags and get ready to explore the
“art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India and, in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two.”
Read a review of it here.
The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner
What makes people happy and why? Weiner tries to look for an answer through this journey from America to Iceland to India. He tries to bring in a correlation between an individual’s happiness with a shared geography and culture.
The author smartly adds a lot of humour while looking for the secret to happiness where he draws on psychology, science, and history to correlate location and happiness.
“Some people don’t want to be happy, and that’s okay. They want meaningful lives, and those are not always the same as happy lives.”
Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed
A true account of a woman’s 1,100-mile hike from Mexico to Canada over nine mountain ranges – the Laguna to the Cascades, in order to recover from the unexpected death of her mother.
At the age of 22, Strayed lost her mother to cancer and the age of 26, she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail — solo. This brutal (and yes, WILD) hike takes her from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon, and finally finishing in Washington—healing her in the process.
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe, I was strong, I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
This is one gripping and emotional ride which I would always recommend for someone who needs to understand the woes of war-torn Afghanistan. This book tells a poignant tale of friendship, guilt, violence, and honour—set in the world of Afghan life.
With different interpretations by readers of various ages, the book offers a small sense of hope and optimism for Afghanistan’s future.
“For you, a thousand times over”
Hey, so what are you waiting for? Pick up these excellent travel books, and then book your own tickets already and witness these lands yourself!