The perfect combination for love of books and travel
My favorite thing in life is to travel, explore and see all that I can before I leave this life. It doesn’t take much motivation to get me out the door and on my way somewhere, however there are few books I have read that have made me want to drop everything and hit the road.
When reading a good travel book, I like to learn about the places the author has traveled, as well as what they have discovered about themselves through their journey. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” not only because it was about a woman who took off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone, but also because she used her experience to overcome depression.
1. “Travels with Charley: In Search of America”
I love road trips, dogs, and John Steinbeck, so of course I loved “Travels with Charley.” I even had a dog named Charley. Steinbeck is an author whose writing style I admire. In this book Steinbeck sets out from Long Island, New York, up to Maine and then across the northern part of the United States to Seattle. He and Charley, his standard poodle, then travel south and back to New York across the southern part of the country. I love that Charley and America are just as much a characters as Steinbeck.
2. “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America”
Bill Bryson is another author whose writing style I absolutely love. I also love road trips, especially through small towns. So Bill Bryson writing about a road trip through small-town America is just about perfect. Bryson’s quick wit and cleaver dialog make reading about his back-roads travel through the country a hoot, as well as informative about the towns where he traveled. Don’t expect all small towns, though. He does visit some rather large ones too.
3. “A Walk in the Woods”
This is Bill Bryson’s hilarious account of attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail. And again Bryson is so informative, you’ll finish this book with a wealth of knowledge about the trail, from how it began to how many murders there have been on it. One aspect of this book that I love is the dynamics between Bryson and his friend, Katz. They are also extremely relatable because both are everyday guys who take on a long-term backpacking trip. My friends and I often make comparisons to them while we are on the trail. I highly recommend this book for anyone thinking about hiking the AT.
When I first started reading the reviews about Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” I knew I was going to love it. Not only is it about backpacking and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, but it is about a woman who did it alone. We all have times when we want to take a sabbatical from our situations so we can reconnect with ourselves, and the trail is a great place to do that. Strayed is not afraid to say how she messed up on the trail either, and I actually learned a few backpacking tips from her newbie mistakes. I think it is extremely brave to travel alone as a female, especially when exploring the wilderness.
5. “Eat, Pray, Love”
Although I was not fond of how the book ended, I did so much enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert’s desire to travel alone for a year to discover who she was. After going through a rough divorce, Gilbert travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia to indulge in life and get to know herself better. I loved how she dove into each country and immersed herself into its culture to learn and grow as a person. Again, I find it very noble to travel alone, and believe it is one of the best ways to get to know yourself.
Do you have a favorite travel book? Comment below, I’d love to hear why and add it to my to read list.