11 Books To Read On Your Next Trip

Reading Books

I’m a big reader. I resisted the Kindle for a few years, but it is now my constant companion. Even if I’m just going to grab coffee with a friend, it comes along in case I am early or they are late (or, usually, both). And when I am traveling, it always has at least three books loaded. I’ve put together a list of books that you might like to take on your next adventure. They are all travel related, and will hopefully inspire you ‘on the road’ (which did not make this list). 

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1. Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

A true story, follow Rita Gelman as she travels in the face of a pending divorce. At one point, she ends up on the Galapagos Islands with a research crew, a story that most can only envy. I liked this book so much that I emailed her after I read it! It is a great read, and I recommend it to any woman who wants to travel solo.

2. The Bastard of Istanbul

Follow the story of two families to find the secret that connects them. This book will teach you a lot about Armenian culture and history, especially their relationship with Turkey and the Armenian genocide. The main characters are women, and it is an interesting family narrative that explores a painful history.

3. Wild

I would be doing the list a disservice if I left Wild out. I read this before venturing on a 7-day, back-country trek into Yosemite National Park. And for anyone about to embark on an outdoors adventure, I suggest you pick it up. I related to Cheryl’s inexperience with the outdoors, and marveled at her blind jump into such a difficult venture.

4. Outlander

This series is the entire reason I wanted to visit Scotland. To be honest, everything I knew about Scotland before I visited, I learned from this series. But I hate to break it to you, I have not found a single stone circle that time-travels in the ten months I have spent in that country. But it is just as magical as you expect, and this book will inspire you to visit.

5. Midnight’s Children

Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the date of India’s independence. Part-fiction, but mostly rooted in history (I suppose we call that historical fiction), Saleem’s actions influence the nation in an absurd way. That, combined with his telepathic connection with the other children born during that first fateful hour, leads to a brilliantly written book that takes you through India’s history following independence.

The rest of this list consists of books I have not personally read, but that come recommended. You can be sure I’ve added all of them to my wish list.

6. Just a Little Run Around the World

After her husband died of cancer, 57-year-old Rosie set off to run around the world, raising money in memory of the man she loved. Followed by wolves, knocked down by a bus, confronted by bears, chased by a naked man with a gun and stranded with severe frostbite, Rosie’s breathtaking 20,000-mile solo journey is as gripping as it is inspiring.

7. Around the World in Seventy-Two Days

In 1888, Nellie Bly suggested to her editor at the New York World that she take a trip around the world, attempting to turn the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days into fact for the first time. A year later, she boarded the Augusta Victoria and began her 24,899-mile journey with the goal of finishing in 75 days.

8. The Cat Who Went to Paris

Before Peter Gethers met Norton, the publisher, screenwriter, and author was a confirmed cat-hater. Then everything changed. Peter opened his heart to the Scottish Fold kitten and their adventures to Paris, Fire Island, and in the subways of Manhattan took on the color of legend and mutual love. This book proves that sometimes all it takes is paws and personality to change a life.

9. Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea

At the age of twenty-four, Kira Salak took a three-month solo trip across Papua New Guinea, making her the first woman to have traversed the whole country. Amid the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife, she navigated the island by dugout canoe and on foot. Along the way, she stayed in a village where people still practice cannibalism behind the backs of the missionaries; met the leader of the OPM, the separatist guerrilla movement opposing the Indonesian occupation of Western New Guinea; and undertook an epic trek through the jungle. Four Corners is also an interior journey as she explores her dysfunctional family’s past and the demons that drive her to experience situations that most of us can barely imagine.

10. A Woman Alone

The idea of a journey without companions is too daunting for most travelers. Not so the women of this collection. These contemporary pioneers savor the ultimate freedom of solo travel. Marybeth Bond discovers the dubious pleasures of desert camel-riding when she decides to follow an ancient Indian trading route. Faith Adiele, a black Buddhist nun, enters a deserted train station at 3:00 a.m. in a Thai village controlled by armed bandits. Ena Singh negotiates with Russian police to visit the blue-domed city of Samarkand. In A Woman Alone, these women and others tell their funny, thrilling, occasionally terrifying, ultimately transformative stories of navigating some of the most unusual destinations on the globe.

11. A House in the Sky

As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself visiting its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.” On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.

Have you read anything this list? What books would you add to this list? Give your reviews and suggestions below!