Whether fact or fiction, travel stories have the power to evoke gorgeous images, stir your emotions and, if the author is great, you may even be transported to exotic destinations around the world. Allow yourself to be swept away in a glamorous train compartment or skip across blue waters in a ramshackle motor boat. When you finish the story, pack your bags and hit the trail for real!
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
This recent memoir is a journey I think every woman secretly or not-so secretly wants to take at some point in her life. Even if you are happily married at home with the kids, wouldn’t it be so empowering to travel by yourself for a year, as Elizabeth did? She spends four months in Italy enjoying the language, wine and food, then three months in India at an ashram where she meditates and sweats out all of the that heavy Italian food. Finally she finds love in Bali where she works to balance her life and find her own peace. The imagery that is created in the descriptions of these three extremely scenic, culturally vibrant destinations is enough to make me want to do it—not to mention the food descriptions!
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
This is the story of a singular young man, Christopher McCandless, who traipses across the country in search of meaningful relationships with people, odd jobs and amazing experiences in nature. His ultimate goal is to backpack into the Alaska wilderness and disappear from society forever. The author’s recounting of McCandless’ travels take you all around the western US and then north to Alaska where striking imagery of the rugged beauty will evoke the loner in you. You’ll want to set off on your own secluded and reflective venture after reading of the fascinating people McCandless meets and the breathtaking sights he is treated to.
The Beach by Alex Garland
This is a very dark, (thankfully fictional) story abut an English traveler who is backpacking through Thailand. He meets a stranger who gives him a map to a secret, perfect beach and the drama takes off from there! Remember “Lord of the Flies?” The Beach makes it look like child’s play, (pun intended). Even if there is no such thing as a seemingly idyllic beach community where you can shed modern society and live “the dream” this story may still make you want to find adventure in the tropical Pacific, even if it is only drinking snake’s blood.
Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche
This is a modern love story that, again, is the stuff that girls’ dreams are made of. The adventuresome boy asks you to travel around the world with him in his sailboat, but you’re afraid of the ocean? What do you do? Of course, as Torre does in this conversational, witty memoir, you take a chance on love and climb aboard! This story takes the new couple to many coveted Pacific destinations and is peppered with their trials and vicissitudes, both sailboat and relationship-wise.
This epic road trip memoir chronicles two young Argentine men (Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado) touring South America on their rickety old motorbike in 1952. It breaks down, they run out of cash, they witness social injustices and they meet a lot of colorful characters along the way. The trip inspired Che and it will inspire you to either plan a sprawling road trip of your own or maybe even do some good for your community, as Che ended up doing once he finished medical school back in Argentina.
Noella Schink is a travel writer from Portland, Maine. She encourages you to let your imagination run wild within the pages of these stories, then book your own dream adventure! Try car hire in the UK to see ancient castles or sailing around Australia’s powder white beaches. From rental cars to camel rides, wherever you end up, don’t forget a good book!
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