I love how reading a book can take your mind off of everything except what’s happening on the pages in front of you. All books offer an escape in that sense, but travel memoirs take it to the next level. Locations and cultures come to life, transporting you to a place you’ve never been or even dreamed existed. Here is a quick breakdown of my personal favorites. Open one up, escape, enjoy. Warning: increased wanderlust will result.
- What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman: I’m not going to be able to do this book justice—it’s that good. First of all, it is laugh out loud funny and contains a lot of steamy romance (what’s not to love?). Secondly, the author puts her thoughts into words so well, making the reader privy to inner debates that are super relatable. I love a book that causes me to stop reading just to immediately discuss said book. Her different perspectives on life and travel became the fuel for many conversations I would subsequently have with friends. Finally, the author’s life is a traveler’s dream—being able to have a career and still get in a solid 3-4 months of travel per year. If only I could be that lucky. She picks amazing countries to visit, and I loved experiencing them through her eyes. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
- The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner: The author travels to some very unique, off-the-radar places, which made me love this book. I have always said there are only a few places in the world I would never go. If a place isn’t on my bucket list, it’s probably because I don’t know about it or what it has to offer yet. Geography opened my eyes to some blissfully happy countries—places we all could learn from and places that have now been added to my bucket list.
- The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents. One Conventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner: This is the book that made me realize you can quit your job and travel the world for a year if you really wanted to. And I loved realizing that. It also gave an honest perspective about what it would actually be like to do so—all the way from how it feels spending every single day in a foreign country with 2 people you don’t really know that well to how it feels experiencing a new country and falling in love with it. If you have a serious case of wanderlust or are going through travel withdrawals, this book is a great inspiration. The story has stayed with me for many years since reading it. Bravo Jennifer, Holly, and Amanda.
- The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman’s Search for the Meaning of Wife by Janna Cawrse Esarey: This book was exciting because although I’ve spent many hours daydreaming about traveling the world, I had never thought about “sailing the world.” Which is exactly what this couple did—even though the author was not an experienced sailor by any means. It teaches the ever important lesson that no dreams are out of reach no matter how big or impossible they may seem. That being said, this couple went through more ups and downs emotionally than they did physically (despite dealing with the constant swell of the ocean in a small sailboat). This was an intriguing read about discovering the world via the sea and also about discovering the extremes of what it means to be in a relationship (a.k.a. stuck on a boat together for a year). However, what surprised me most: life on a sailboat isn’t as solitary as you might imagine.
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love is one of the most popular travel memoirs out there, taking place in Italy, India, and Indonesia. Travel has a way of healing, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey is a testament to that. Her story is one not to be missed.
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: Going along with the same theme, Wild is also a story about setting off into the unknown with the hopes of moving on from a devastating event and finding peace through travel. The author goes through an amazing transformation physically and emotionally. Her strength shines through and makes for quite an inspirational read.
- A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena De Blasi: I discovered this book after visiting Venice in real life, and reading it was a great way to keep my memories alive. Venice is beautiful and romantic, which is exactly how I would describe this novel.