Traveling is one of the most liberating experience a human being can have in a lifetime. Studies also show that traveling is good for your intellectual and emotional health. If traveling is for free, I believe we are all going to pack our bags in a heartbeat. Although not all of us can travel anytime on just a whim, there are other forms of traveling such as reading. By reading books, you will get to travel far and wide without leaving the comforts of your home. If you prefer this form of traveling or you just simply need some travel inspiration, here are the best travel books to fuel your wanderlust:
1. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
You can never go wrong with this classic. If you need some inspiration to go backpacking and hitchhiking across the country while searching for your purpose or rediscovering yourself, this is a must-read for you. One of the best quotes from this novel is when Kerouac said,” I just won’t sleep,”. I decided. There were so many things to do.” You can lose some sleep finishing this one or
2. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
The hero in this story joins a caravan traveling to Egypt in pursuit of finding the treasure in his dreams. Along the way, he encountered a lot of challenges, but he eventually conquered them. His journey ends with him going back to where he came from and eventually finding the buried treasure there. The best lesson Paulo Coelho teaches in this book is that “wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” This is a perfect read if you are planning an itinerary for Egypt or somewhere that has a desert.
3. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
You may have seen the movie version of this, but trust me the book is even way better. Khaled Hosseini is an extraordinary storyteller and The Kite Runner is his masterpiece. This book is a fascinating yet painful read about two boys who grew up together yet was forced to be apart under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. One escaped the chaos in their country and moved to America while the other one was forced to stay behind. Amir, the boy who was able to escape to America eventually finds himself traveling back to Afghanistan as an adult in the hopes to make amends of his past and with Hassan, the other boy in the story.
4. The Beach, Alex Garland
Are you planning to backpack around Southern Asia? The Beach is a novel by Alex Garland set in Thailand. Richard, the hero in this novel, is a young English backpacker who met a mentally disturbed Englishman who goes by the alias “Daffy Duck” in his budget hotel in the famous Khao San Road in Bangkok. Little did he know, his adventure was only starting when he received a hand-drawn map from Daffy Duck detailing directions about a secluded island with hidden beach and lagoon in Thailand. Richard then started his quest of looking for the said island along with his newly found friends, Etienne and Francoise. In their quest, they realized that they found more than what they expected and an even bigger adventure starts. If backpacking, adventure, and Southeast Asia are on your bucket list, add The Beach in your reading list.
5. Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
Into the Wild is a non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer about Christopher McCandless. There’s a huge chance that you may have already read this as a requirement in high school or college. This international bestseller details the life of Christopher McCandless after he graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. McCandless kept a journal which made it easier for the author to retrace his steps during his last two years on earth. After graduation, he gave away his college fund, lost contact with his family, and began travelling across the Western United States. His adventure ended when he died of starvation in the Alaskan wilderness after surviving there for approximately 113 days. Critics mostly agree that Christopher McCandless did what he did and ventured into the wild to find some sort of enlightenment.
6. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
This is Hemingway’s first best seller. In this novel, he talks about the lives of expats who left their liv Paris and ended up watching a bullfight in Spain. This book fuels your wanderlust because Hemingway did a great job painting a picture of the Parisian life as well as the colorful life in Spain, although the scene revolving bullfighting in the country was a little brutal.
7. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
The popularity of this novel was increased when this was turned into a movie in 2013. The story revolves around a teenager named Pi and a fearsome Bengal tiger. When Pi’s family decided to sell their zoo in India and move to Canada, they all boarded a freighter along with some of their remaining animals, which included the Bengal tiger. On their journey, a tragedy struck them in a form of a terrible storm. Their ship sunk, and Pi and the Bengal tiger were the only survivors. Pi and Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger, then tries to avoid yet trust each other at the same time while sharing and surviving on a lifeboat. Their days of trying to survive slowly rolled into weeks and months until they arrived in Mexico. Richard Parker then runs into the wild and left Pi for good. He was never seen again. Pi eventually was taken care of and he fully recovered and lived a long life although some people were skeptical about his story of surviving in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
8. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland is a fun and a good read not just for kids, but also for adults. You may have already read this as a child, but re-reading this as an adult may give you a different feeling. This book may just fuel your wanderlust as Alice takes you through her wonderful and magical journey after falling down the rabbit hole.
9. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
This is a personal favorite of readers who are recovering from a heartbreak and trying to rediscover themselves, but this book is also great for your wanderlust. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, takes you along with her journey in pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she wanted out of life. She takes you along Rome where she studied the art of pleasure and rediscover her love for food. She then travels to India and embarked on months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, Indonesia, a series of fortunate events happened to her. She studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence, became a pupil of a local medicine man, and she fell inlove again. If you are in the mood of traveling and looking for a paradigm shift in your life, this is a perfect read for you.
10. A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
According to critics, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Byrson will make you put on your hiking shoes and head to the woods. If you are planning to go hiking along the Appalachian Trail, then you should read this book. The author talks about the history and ecology of the trail which stretches from Georgia to Maine. If you don’t have the luxury of time or energy to strap those hiking boots yet, read this book to fuel your wanderlust. Maybe after the end of the last chapter, you will be inspired to go hiking or even camping.
11. Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins
This young adult literature can also fuel your wanderlust even if you are already a mature adult. Anna is about to enter her senior year in Atlanta when she was shipped off to a boarding school in Paris against her will. The author takes us around the City of Light and reminds us the confusion and magic of young love.
12. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long Term Travel, Rolf Potts
If you are looking for a proper guidebook for long-term travel, Rofl Potts wrote a detailed one for you. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term Travel talks about taking time off from your normal routine from six weeks to four months to two years. The author suggests you use this time to discover and experience the world by giving you necessary information about how to finance your travel
time, how to determine your destination, how to adjust to life on the road, and how to find work and volunteering overseas to name a few. This book will fuel your wanderlust by emphasizing that vagabonding is more than just a plant of action, but an outlook in life- and a good one at that.
13. A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle
Provence is a province in Southeastern France. It is quaint, charming, and extremely beautiful. Peter Mayle introduces the earthly pleasures of living the Provencal life. He narrates what it is like to move in into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote countryside. A Year in Provence tells us that sometimes, a slow-paced life in the country is sometimes even more satisfying than the city life that a lot of us are used to.
14. Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes
Reading Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes will not only inspire you to travel to Tuscany but will also make you consider to actually live there. Frances Mayes started a new life when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside. She detailed the moments about the unforeseen challenges and pleasant surprises that came with renovating an old villa in Tuscany. Reading the book will make you think of the olive plantation, sunflower farms, and the sunny and beautiful hills of Tuscany.
15. In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson
This is the second book of Bill Bryson on this list. In a Sunburned Country, he talks about his experiences in The Land Down Under- Australia. In this book, he described Australia as a place with the friendliest inhabitants, and the country with the hottest and driest weather. As a common knowledge to everyone, Australia also has a lethal wildlife which includes sharks, crocodiles, and snakes to name a few. Even with these, Bill Byrson still adores Australia, it’s cold beer, safe cities, and constant sunshine. If you are planning to visit this country and celebrate summer in December, Byrson’s In a Sunburned Country is the perfect travel guidebook for you.
16. Just One Day, Gayle Forman
Allyson, the sheltered American good girl, takes us along in her journey through Shakespeare travel and her quest for her almost-true-love the year after waking up in Paris after spending one perfect day with the laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter.
17. The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton
If you need more information about how and why we should travel, Alain de Botton makes a compelling point in his book “The Art of Travel”. In this book, he considers the importance of noticing everything and appreciating the exotic.
18. Wanderlove, Kirsten Hubbard
This novel by Kirsten Hubbard is a perfect fuel for your wanderlust. Bria, the heroine of this story, joins a guided tour of Central America in her quest for independence and her passion for art which she has neglected for a while. As it turns out, it was not the tour she hoped for. She then meets Rowan, a backpacker and a dive instructor, and Starling, Rowan’s humanitarian sister, and eventually joins them as they continued to journey off the beaten path. The novel is greatly influenced by the author’s career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking across Central America. If you need an ultimate backpacking and travel inspiration which may lead to self-discovery, this is a perfect read for you.