Must-Read Travel Books

In my opinion, the true success behind any great book is not solely judged by its awards, but by the way the book imprints on your mind. Any book, especially one about travel, should expand your mind to contextualize the wide world of exploration from the comfort of anywhere you are in the world. According to experienced globetrotters, here are 10 books about travel that you must read. Prepare yourself for some serious fernweh...


1. The Art of Travel, by Alain De Botton

The Art of Travel examines a new perspective of travel. This book is not so much a traveling guide per say, but takes a closer look at the philosophical perspective of the activities of traveling for pleasure. The book examines personal thought mixed with the elements of travel you may experience including airports, museums, landscapes, and hotels. The interesting thing about this book is that it dares to ask what the point of travel may be- instead of the typical "how-to" travel books that simply suggest how to spend your time.


2. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road, by Kate Harris

This book examines the traveler within. As many of us take the journey through life, we rarely stop to think about the impact we have on ourselves, and the world. This memoir encapsulates the journey of our writer traveling by bicycle along the Silk Road. The story challenges the reader to push themselves beyond their limits and the limits we place on the natural world. This captivating book will leave you wondering what we are doing here in this universe and what our purpose is.


3. A Woman Alone: Travel Tales From Around the Globe, by Faith Conlon, Ingrid Emerick, and Christina Henry de Tessan

Traveling can be daunting to the average person, especially to women. In this book, however, nothing will hold these women back from the journey of their dreams. These bold women tell their stories of their travel, and the incredible freedoms that come with doing it solo. If you're looking for strong women giving you real life travel inspiration, I strongly suggest this book.


4. A Moveable Feast, by Lonely Planet

Some people live to travel, others travel to eat (I'm definitely more of a travel to eat kinda girl). This book features various stories by different writers as they experience cuisine throughout the world. These food adventures are absolutely life-changing and are sure to make your mouth water! Cuisine around the world is so different, and experiencing cultural diversity from these regions can nourish you physically, emotionally, and intellectually. This book has the ability to inspire your next journey, and your next meal.


5. The Year of Living Danishly, by Helen Russell

This book underlines the heart-warming wonders of 'the world's happiest country', Denmark. So we wonder, what is the secret to their success? This book explores Denmark firsthand as Helen makes Denmark her new home. She covers everything from childcare and education to food, sexism, and taxes- encompassing a larger understanding of the area. This book takes us through a humorous, and interesting journey to show us where the Danes foster their happiness.


6. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, by Kristin Newman

This memoir poses as a funny, sexy spin on mastering the art of vacationing as everyone begins to settle down in life. The author takes us through one of the most common reasons young-people hold back from traveling; to settle down, start their career, foster relationships, and start a family. She discusses attending numerous baby showers and weddings for her friends, and her dire need to escape this 'normal' way of life. She takes us on her journey to find love. Love, not for another man, but for herself, her freedom, and her travel.


7. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, by Rolf Potts

Many people are glued to the idea of a perfect two-week vacation. The excuses of life and distraction typically don't allow people to travel for more than that short time-frame, yet this book challenges us to think differently. Vagabonding teaches you how to travel and how to think about travel for the rest of your life. The book teaches the importance of understanding a culture for a period of time that actually allows for assimilation. Tips provided include financing your travel, adjusting to a new way of life, and handling travel adversity.


8. The Beach, by Alex Garland

There is continually a preconceived idea about the way a 'beach paradise' should look. This book challenges you to understand the real beauty behind vacations and to eliminate any physical expectations of your next journey, since sometimes, they don't live up to your expectation. Instead, think about everything that makes that area unique. Find beauty in the people, the local wonders, the cuisine, and the landscape. After reading this book, you'll understand why those things are much more worthwhile than simply your understanding of 'paradise'.


9. The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho

I'm telling you... this book will move your soul. Coelho tells the story of a young shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His journey teaches him about the essential wisdom of listening to your heart and following your dreams. My favorite part of the book? The author provides breathtaking quotes throughout the story to remind you of who you are and who you want to be. These quotes instill inspiration and connectivity as you explore your place within the world.


10. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, by Eric Weiner

Similar to The Year of Living Danishly, this author explores regions that are said to be the happiest in the world. This book tells a story with a unique mix of humor, psychology, and science as he answers questions about what it is to be happy, and why some countries are known to be happier than others. It's fascinating to understand what makes societies happy all around the world and how they differ so immensely from one another. A truly fun and lighthearted read.


Traveling means something different to everyone. Whether you choose to go just for fun, to relax, to study, or to understand, traveling has the ability to create a unique experience. As humans typically get used to being stuck in their own ways of life, books help to pull us out of that reality. Reading helps us to understand traveling as something more than just an opportunity to get away. Instead, traveling teaches us what it means to be free, to be curious, and to be happy. Next time you travel, try to think about it in a way you have never done so before. Need some inspiration? These 10 books about travel are sure to change your outlook.

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