Best travel books to inspire wanderlust
It is said that "Outside a dog, books are a man’s best friend”. And what shall we say about travel books?! These books make our imaginations travel greater distances than we could actually do in this limited lifetime. Travel books have been a major part of our travel planning and research. They have been a companion in the boring train, flight journeys and any dull day. Not just a companion, but many of these books have been an inspiration.
We asked some of our favourite travel bloggers around the world for their favourite travel book that inspired them to travel the world. And while travel books can be of various kind, we are specifically referring to stories - true or fictional that stimulates those cells that love wandering. Some of these books many not fall under the category of travel per say but the way they describe a location or experiences are bound to make you feel immersed in a foreign land. We are not talking about travel guides here. So, here’s a compilation of 30 books that were suggested and that will surely inspire wanderlust and make you want to go to places you might have not even heard about.
1. EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert
Contributed by Manpreet from HelloManpreet.com
Eat Pray Love is a beautiful book based on a woman who believed to have it all - a career, a husband and she felt she was living a life of bliss. Until she got a divorce. This led to her wanting to discover her true purpose and what she wants from life. She first travels to Italy and learns how to appreciate nourishment. In India, she learns the power of prayer and meditation, and in Bali, she unexpectedly finds the power of true love.
While travelling around the world, Elizabeth journals her experiences of travels. This journey was one where she looked for comfort within herself, after experiencing a very difficult divorce. What makes the book amazing and a must-read is that she talks about so many unique and small details of places that we might underestimate. It’s a great inspiration to set yourself to have the best travel experience ever.
Not only is this book a great inspiration to explore some of the most magnificent places in the world, but it inspires you to be influenced by the world on a much deeper level. It teaches life lessons that you can hold onto forever, reminding you that you are in control of your life and how you want to live it.
2. WILD by Cheryl Strayed
Contributed by Lee from The Travel Scribes
If you’ve even got a passing interest in hiking or travelling in the USA, you need to immediately get your hands on a copy of Wild, penned by Cheryl Strayed.
Strayed, a hapless hiker who had never really gone on a walk longer than an hour, gave up all the trappings of suburban life – her job, house, car and husband – to set off on her very first backpack and walk over 1100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayed starts her solo journey of discovery in the Mojave Desert, making her way through the states of California and Oregon before finally arriving in Washington, at the Bridge of the Gods.
The writer knows nothing about long-distance hiking, and her inexperience shines through, but it’s the stories of those she meets on the ‘road’, how she overcomes her fears and her breath-taking descriptions of her beautiful surrounds that make this a must-read memoir. Undoubtedly one of the best travel books to inspire wanderlust, Wild was also made into a blockbuster feature film, starring Reese Witherspoon.
3. DOWN UNDER by Bill Bryson
Contributed by Pauline from BeeLoved City
When it comes to travel books, Bill Bryson sets the standard! This American author is well known for his best-selling books about the USA and the UK but also has one about Australia! Down Under (also known as In a Sunburned country in North America) is going to make you want to jump on a flight to Australia right away. In this book, Bill Bryson tells us everything about his travels in Australia. Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne; everything is in there!
The most interesting thing about it is that it’s not just a travel book, it’s a culture book. Bill Bryson immerses himself into the Australian culture. He stays with locals and tries to understand what Australia is all about. He also mentions the wildlife and aboriginal culture which is quite interesting.
Finally, it’s very funny! Bill Bryson has a bit of a gift for ending up in the most hilarious situations. Reading Down Under, is like travelling through Australia with the best travel buddy you could ever find.
4. NINE LIVES by William Dalrymple
Contributed by Amrita from Tale of 2 Backpackers
William Dalrymple is a noted historian who has penned several books on the Indian subcontinent. Nine Lives is a collection of nine stories based on his travel in the Indian subcontinent. The nine stories are about 9 very different individuals who Dalrymple had met during travel in India.
The nine protagonists are entirely different from each other and the path they had chosen is neither easy nor common. The beauty of the book is that it tells the story of very different journeys which seeks a common goal.
The book gives an interesting insight into the culture, religions and festivals of India. The readers will get a taste of the diversity and uniqueness of the people and culture of India.
This book will make you more interested and inquisitive on the culture and traditions of India and will inspire you to travel to the nooks and corners of India.
5. MARRIED TO A BEDOUIN by Marguerite van Geldermalsen
Contributed by Maartje & Sebastiaan from The Orange Backpack
Married to a Bedouin, where Marguerite writes about her life in Petra in Jordan, will spark your wanderlust. She travels around the world by herself in the 70s and ends up in Jordan at some point. She visits the rock monuments at Petra, meets a local Bedouin and decides not to leave. Sounds like one of your daydreams when travelling, right? Though the book doesn’t make you understand how Marguerite falls in love with a Bedouin she can hardly speak with, you do get why she doesn’t want to leave.
The place is beautiful. Most people know Petra from its famous Treasury and the Siq, but Petra is a huge city with many rock temples and houses. Many of these old rock houses in the abandoned city are used by Bedouins for hundreds of years. Marguerite lived in one of those ancient rock monuments for years, close to the famous Treasury. The autobiography will draw you towards Petra for sure, making you want to hike around this enormous ancient town in the rock desert.
6. LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
Contributed by Diana from Travels in Poland
As one of the best-known high fantasy classics, made even more popular after it was transformed into several movies, the Lord of the Rings is an amazing read of three books. Written by J.R.R. Tolkien over 80 years ago, the series of books has inspired a cult following and has sold hundreds of millions of copies.
The story revolves around a ring that has a powerful force and changes hands through generations, finally landing in the hands of Frodo Baggins. The story follows the adventures of Frodo as well as his friends as he goes forth on a journey to take the ring away from the Shire. The backdrop of the books has been terrifically depicted and popularized in the New Zealand landscape in the movie as well. The detailed description of locations and the travels that Frodo and his friends are on creates truly mystical and beautiful places in one which would inspire you to travel and live an amazing adventure. It is a must-read for travel enthusiasts as its fantasy fiction creates a longing to move, discover and seek adventure.
7. TALES OF THE ALHAMBRA by Washington Irving
Contributed by Joanna from Andalucia in My Pocket
One of the most inspiring books that will make you dream of visiting Granada, in Spain, is Tales of the Alhambra. This is the book that brought the Alhambra on the touristic radar, now being the most visited monument in entire Spain, with over 3 million people from all the world coming to see it every year.
Tales of the Alhambra is a collection of essays and sketches written by Washington Irving during his visit to Granada. Back then, the Alhambra was left to despair after being destroyed in the French siege from 1812. It acquired further damages 9 years later after an earthquake. Irving asked for permission from the archbishop of Granada to live inside the palace for an entire month and that is where he got the inspiration to write the book.
Tales of the Alhambra is a book combining both myths and narrations of historical events wrapped around his travel journal involving the now famous monument.
8. THE WHITE MASAI by Corinne Hofmann
Contributed by Martina & Jürgen from Places of Juma
The White Masai is an autobiographical book and gives deep insights into the cultural life of Africa, as well as into its breath-taking landscapes. It’s about a 27 years young Swiss girl named Corinne, who is with her boyfriend Marco on a holiday to Kenya. On an excursion, she meets a local Masai warrior Lketinga and falls in love with the exotic man straight away. Both of them speak broken English and therefore have communication problems, but still, they quickly get closer. Corinne visits the Masai’s village, which is not far from her hotel and gets to know the local Priscilla, who speaks English well and can mediate.
Overwhelmed by the beauty of the country and her feelings for Lketinga, Corinne decides to move to Kenya. But first, she has to go back home. She ends her relationship with Marco and sells her business and her flat. Despite all warnings from friends and relatives, she moves to Kenya after half a year. In the book, The White Masai, Corinne tells her own story about the many wonderful moments, but also the tragic problems of this unusual relationship, about new friendships, her serious illness and how she survived in the bush.
9. LAND OF JADE: A Journey from India through Northern Burma to China by Bertil Lintner
Contributed by Jitaditya Narzary from The Travelling Slacker
Land of Jade is one of the most iconic travel books that are surprisingly not that famous. Maybe this is because it focuses on a region that itself is rarely discussed or explored by tourists. What makes it even more astounding is the circumstances, both personal as well as external, which were so difficult that most other people would have given up.
The author Bertil Lintner was banned from entering Burma (Myanmar) due to his political reportage. Yet, he plans to enter illegally through Northeast India along with his wife Hseng Noung, who is a photographer. On top of that, their daughter is born in Nagaland when they were planning to enter Burma, Yet, they go ahead with the risky plan, carrying their month-old daughter with them!
They enter Burma through the Mon District of Nagaland, which borders Northern Burma and then spend months in the strife-torn land before finally escaping to China. Do note that this region is a highly unstable one, with several insurgent groups constantly fighting with government forces. Even the insurgent groups of North-eastern India find refuge in these impregnable jungles. This travelogue also describes meetings with many rebels and narrow escapes during encounters, and in general, provides rare insights about the people and politics of a region that few have traversed.
10. THE ART OF TRAVEL by Alain de Botton
Contributed by Jasmine from The Travel Quandary
The Art of Travel is not your typical travel book. You won’t find a love story or a transformational journey. The book is not based in any one place, nor does it revolve around a protagonist or a group of characters. Rather, The Art of Travel is a collection of Alain de Botton’s travels and an analysis of voyages taken by fellow renowned explorers and public figures including French poet Charles Baudelaire, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh and the biologist Alexander von Humboldt.
Alain de Botton is a Swiss-born British philosopher and author. His writing focuses on philosophy’s relevance in everyday life, inciting curiosity and deep-thinking in his readers. In The Art of Travel, de Botton tells readers how and why we ought to travel. He analyses the anticipation of travel versus reality, considers how our hunger for the exotic fills a void we cannot seem to satiate at home and reminds travellers to search for beauty in the granular details in every step of our journeys. If you already know where you’re inspired to travel to, The Art of Travel will supplement your wanderlust, encouraging you to consciously move through this world with heightened senses.
11. SHANTARAM by Gregory David Roberts
Contributed by Tanayesh Talukdar from Shoestring Travel
Gregory David Roberts, an Australian author, is a former heroin addict and also convicted bank robber who escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1980 and fled to India where he lived for ten years in Mumbai.
The book is loosely based on Gregory’s life and his uncertain future. In Mumbai, he finds a God figure in a local mafia boss, an Afghan named Khader and a lover in a mysterious Swiss woman who inspires the most in this novel.
What the novel teaches the most is how it is always finally your decision to start over, how to rectify from the mistakes you need to forgive yourself first, come to peace with yourself and accept everything coming your way with compassion and love. Reading this book will help you to know Mumbai in detail before visiting as it talks about the places to visit there, the eateries, the people and much more.
12. NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND by Bill Bryson
Contributed by Alysa Tarrant from Voyaging Herbivore
Notes from a Small Island is a laugh out loud narration of Bryson’s journeys around England in the 90s. As an American, he takes a unique perspective on England in an era before cell phones and Google maps, and instead explores everything from caves in London, to the tiniest villages nestled in the English countryside.
The book begins along the southern coast of England as Bryson takes a ferry over from France and recalls his younger days when things seemed a little shinier and his back hurt a little less. He takes you all the way up through England, and before you know it, you’ll have a strong urge to hop on a train and see where the journey takes you.
Bill Bryson is a world-renowned travel writer known for his many books that take a look at the happier sides of life. Whether you’re wondering how the universe was created or you want to follow Bryson as he putters around England trying different pubs and getting caught in the rain, you’ll easily enjoy every second of his stories.
13. THE DA VINCI CODE by Dan Brown
Contributed by Jayashree from DoiBedouin
Dan Brown is known for his gripping takes on historical bibliographies. He is indeed the literal master of intellectual cliffhangers. The Da Vinci Code is more than just a thriller. It is just the brain food needed in this lockdown. But do not just gauge it on a thriller mystery scale. The chapters are strewn with codes and cryptic messages that would factually take you on a quest through Europe.
Starting with a murder at the Louvre Museum, the quest begins with the clue left by the victim. A Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo da Vinci. Solving a Fibonacci series, Langdon, sided by Sophie, gets a cryptex, from the Bank of Zurich, connecting to the Holy Grail. Decrypting the cryptex, they find a second cryptex and a riddle pointing where to look for. They end up travelling to the tomb of Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey, London. Next clue lands them at Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland. Some long-kept secrets get revealed. However, the last stop gets them back to Louvre, where the final piece of the puzzle awaited. I could not help but quote from Harry Potter here, "I open at the close".
Scintillating, yet the descriptions of the places would lure you to travel to the places itself. And it so happens that the "Da Vinci code itinerary" does exist in real life with slight improvising.
14. THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by Ann Brashares
Contributed by Raquel from Meals and Mile Markers
If you feel like you’re in a travel rut, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a book that will spark your wanderlust again! The first in a series of four books about the coming of age of childhood best friends, it takes you to several different places, including Greece, Maryland, Baja California, and South Carolina. If you read the following books, you’ll visit even more travel destinations!
Ann Brashares uses simple stories to share big ideas in her popular book. These girls have the same experiences as tons of other girls (although they take place across the world) while learning about what it means to become an adult. By integrating inspirational quotes and relatable stories, Brashares will encourage you to step out of both your travel rut and any other rut in which you may be stuck.
Even if you’re stuck in your home state this summer and you want to feed your wanderlust without leaving the house, read The Sisterhood of the traveling Pants. You can dream about exploring Europe or Mexico and maybe even start making plans! Not only will you read about the adventures of these teenage girls, but you’ll feel as though you are right beside them, living the same exciting lives.
15. MY JOURNEY TO LHASA by Alexandra David-Néel
Contributed by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
In this autobiographical work by French adventurer and Buddhist scholar Alexandra David-Néel, she tells the story of how she became the first woman from the Western world to visit the capital of Tibet. Her journey took place in 1924, at a time when Tibet remained quite isolated from the rest of the world, and foreigners were not allowed.
But this didn't stop David-Néel, who had already spent several years travelling through Asia to learn from Buddhist monks she met along the way. On her journey to Lhasa, she travelled on foot across the Himalayas, accompanied by a young Tibetan lama whom she later adopted as her son. Disguised as a beggar, she survived on yak butter tea and tsampa (barley flour) and slept on dirty floors in the homes of locals who gave her shelter. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to visit Tibet, and it's an especially inspiring read for female travellers with an adventurous spirit.
16. REBIRTH by Kamal Ravikant
Contributed by Hannah from Hannah Elizabeth Travel & Lifestyle
Kamal, a man who has travelled the world and had some amazing experiences, typically writes motivational books in the professional development space. However, "Rebirth", although a very inspirational book, is more of a tale of travel and enlightenment. It is the story of a man, facing personal turmoil in his life who seeks challenge and truth by hiking the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage through northern Spain.
The story is very moving and makes all who read it seek to do the same. This book paints an unforgettable picture for anyone who has always wanted to walk the Camino. Not only is the path a beautiful walk with ancient roots but this book shows how it can be a powerful spiritual experience as well. Walking with the main character, Amit, on his journey on the El Camino, you can get a first-hand look into what the experience might feel like. It is all around a great story of personal growth and how travel can play an important part in our development and ability to heal.
17. THE GOOD GIRLS GUIDE TO GETTING LOST by Rachel Friedman
Contributed by Sarah from The Prosperous Blonde
The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends and One Unexpected Adventure is a fun, engaging read that combines self-actualization with good, old fashioned travelogues. Author Rachel Friedman is a young college graduate who has no idea what she wants to do in life. She has no idea who she is, so she sets out on a magical and very funny adventure that leads her through parts of Europe, Australia and South America.
This book will appeal to you, if like Rachel, you’re searching to find your way in life; or if you want to learn more about life in other parts of the world; or if you like to read hilarious prose describing frequent travel mishaps! This book will have you laughing out loud numerous times. You’ll particularly enjoy her stories of Ireland and her stint as a hungover waitress and her hostel adventures in rugged South America.
18. THE LOST GIRLS by Amanda Pressner, Holly C. Corbett, and Jennifer Baggett
Contributed by Kim from My Global Ways
The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around the World is written by three twenty-something friends who decided to leave behind their busy New York lifestyle to travel the world, visiting four continents over a year. Jen, Holly, and Amanda are all talented writers who each bring their sense of humour and perspective to their travel experiences.
Honestly one of the most inspiring, relatable and enjoyable travel books you could ever read. The girls cover everything from volunteering in Kenya, the struggles of leaving ‘real-life’ behind, hostel parties, the ups and downs of long-term backpacking and travel friendships/ relationships. It is a travel book but also touches on the struggles the girls face in their ‘quarter-life crisis’, their friendship, their privilege and personal growth. It will add a few new places to your bucket list, but will also serve as an encouragement to leave the rat race behind and live life by your own rules.
19. ORIGIN by Dan Brown
Contributed by Bhushavali from My Travelogue by Bhushavali
Origin is the 5th book in the Robert Langdon series, who is a symbologist & Art history professor who works at Harvard University. After reading the book, you will look forward to visiting Barcelona for its stunning landscapes and architectural beauty.
Origin is completely set in Spain. It’s a murder mystery that deals with the contradictions between the modern world and religious doctrines. The initial chapters are set at Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, near Barcelona, where a meeting between one of the lead characters happens with important members of 3 religions. There is a small mention of the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. Back in Spain, the murder happens at the Guggenheim Museum!
At this point, the protagonist Robert Langdon escapes from here to reach Barcelona where the story continues in Casa Mila and Sagrada Familia, the fantabulous monuments designed by Antoni Gaudi. The film wraps up at Valley of the Fallen, where Robert Langdon manages to solve the murder mystery or…. did he?
20. DARK STAR SAFARI by Paul Theroux
Contributed by Ed Gold from Safaris Africana
In the Swahili language ‘safari’ means ‘journey’, and this book is the story of Theroux’s own, once in a lifetime African safari. His epic overland trip takes him the length of the continent by bus, car, and train, from Egypt’s Cairo to the Mother City, Cape Town.
After his graduation, Paul Theroux spent years teaching in Malawi and Uganda in the 1960s and 70s, and his appreciation of how life works in much of Africa is apparent throughout the book. His descriptions of the countryside, villages and towns he passes through are so vivid they make you feel as if you know the places, and he has a knack for bringing the everyday people he meets along the way to life - often eliciting funny or fascinating insights.
It’s a well-researched book, and alongside Theroux’s take on his journey, there’s plenty of background information on each of the countries he travels through, including Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa. This makes it a must-read book for anyone with itchy feet, or an interest in Africa!
21. A YEAR IN PROVENCE by Peter Mayle
Contributed by Anda Bartos from Travel for a while
A year in Provence is about a British writer who fell in love with the Provence region in France and followed his dream moving there with his wife and two dogs. A series of novels was born out of this life-changing move, the most well-known being probably 'A Good Year'.
His writing style is easy and engaging and you will find yourself smiling more than once while reading any of his books. A year in Provence covers the first year of this new life. The book is not a journal as you might think, but rather a series of defining moments that will introduce you to the laid-back life in this part of the world where time slows down and lets you enjoy life peacefully.
It will take you exploring the woods of the Luberon, the beautiful region between Avignon and Aix en Provence, and will leave you wanting to enjoy the sun, the food, and the authentic rural life of Provence. Expect quite a few lunches and dinners with lots of details that will make you hungry instantly.
22. THE OLD PATAGONIAN EXPRESS by Paul Theroux
Contributed by Alek ZD from Nine to Five Voyager
Paul Theroux's critical way of looking at society brings a unique viewpoint to travel literature. He's the anti-Instagram, someone who gives you a realistic view of what to expect when travelling. He can come across as harsh, but he's not uninformed: he's seen most of the planet.
The Old Patagonian Express is his 1979 travelogue on the good, the bad, and the ugly of train travel. Theroux boards a train in Boston and ends up in Patagonia, Argentina months later, at the very southern tip of the Americas. Along the way, he attends a riotous soccer game in San Salvador, interviews inhabitants of the former Canal Zone in Panama, and spends several days visiting the blind writer Luis Borges at his home in Buenos Aires. He speaks with dignitaries and common folk alike and vividly paints a unique picture of each culture he comes across.
The book sows an idea that, wherever you live, you can walk out your front door and end up somewhere new and fascinating. The Old Patagonian Express will inspire you to just board trains and go somewhere you have never been before, or to get in your car and just drive. Theroux puts a fine point on the phrase, "The journey matters more than the destination."
23. BEYOND THE TREES: A Journey Alone Across the Arctic by Adam Shoalts
Contributed by Mikaela from Voyageur Tripper
To commemorate Canada 150, Adam Shoalts crossed the length of the Canadian Arctic, alone and by canoe. His route took him from Eagle Plains, Yukon Territory, then met his boat and proceeded to canoe camp across several rivers and lakes to reach Baker Lake, Nunavut - a journey of nearly 4,000 km that required five months to complete.
Adam Shoalts is known as Canada’s Indiana Jones and has a reputation for making impossible trips reality. This story is no exception. Throughout the trip, he paddles up rivers of the strong current, encounters more than a handful of grizzly bears (but doesn’t carry a shotgun), fights his way through ice-covered lakes, and nearly gets trampled by a Muskox.
Beyond the Trees is a story of an epic Canadian adventure, told through the lens of environmental conservation, witty humour and a dash of escapism. It is perhaps one of the best outdoor adventure books written. You will be captivated by Shoalts’ wildlife encounters and feel energized by his tenacity in the face of obstacles. More than another, you will finish the book with a keen desire to get out in the wild and explore yourselves.
24. THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho
Contributed by Camille from Everything Yoga Retreat
The Alchemist is one of the most inspiring books to read on your next trip. This book was written by the famous author, Paulo Coelho. He published the Alchemist in 1988 and has been inspiring the world with his beautiful stories ever since.
The Alchemist is about a shepherd boy from Andalusia named Santiago. The boy embarks upon a journey in search of a treasure that he had dreamt of. His adventures take him from Spain to North Africa, and the Sahara Desert.
In this book, Paulo Coelho combines magic, wisdom, and mysticism into an inspiring tale of self-discovery. If you read the book, you’ll learn that it’s important to listen to your heart and follow your dreams. This is how this book will inspire you to travel the world and to search for your treasure.
The Alchemist tells a beautiful and meaningful story that you could easily enjoy on your next adventure.
25. HOLY COW! by Sarah MacDonald
Contributed by Megan Johnson from Red Around the World
Sarah MacDonald backpacked around India in her twenties and was not impressed. She vowed to never return and when a beggar told her she would return one day, and for love, of all things, she said "never!" and gave him and the country the finger on her way out. Well, eleven years later the prophecy comes true and she finds herself on her way back to India when her husband is relocated for work.
Holy Cow is a travel/ex-pat memoir by Sarah MacDonald that mostly takes place in New Delhi but includes travel around the country in search of peace with a colorful cast of characters she meets along the way. It's a great read for anyone interested in traveling through India and life abroad as well as spiritual travel. It will have you itching to pack your bags thanks to Sarah's hilarious, but also meaningful, encounters and travels around India. One of the funniest parts of the book is the detailed account of various people she meets while on her journey through India.
26. VAGABONDING by Rolf Potts
Contributed by Nishu Barolia from Tanned Travel Girl
"Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live." How many times, we wait for that perfect moment to take that big decision of leaving normalcy behind and exploring the world. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts is a book that will convince you of the fact that you need not wait for the perfect timing to take a break from normal life and plan long term travel. Rolf Potts, the writer of the book, has been travelling for over 20 years and in his book, Vagabonding, he has talked about his anecdotes from around the world. The book covers some extremely valuable tips on planning before starting off the long term travel expedition and building life on the roads.
The book will also help you in prioritizing your spending to be able to enjoy an experience which you may have never thought of otherwise like Star Bucks coffee over taking scuba diving lessons in a remote island in Indonesia. This book is highly recommended to everyone looking to live life in a nomadic way!
27. AROUND INDIA IN 80 TRAINS by Monisha Rajesh
Around India in 80 trains is a story about Monisha Rajesh, a British-Indian, who returned back to India after 20 years and set out on a 400000-kilometre adventure around India in 80 trains. She travelled across the length and breadth of the country meeting wonderful characters with epic stories. Her travel buddy cum photographer who turned out to be an atheist, tagging along with her in a country built on religion, challenged her to look at things with a completely different perspective.
This book will definitely inspire solo female travellers and give them some necessary tips to travel in India. The book is more about people that Monisha meets in her journey than the places that she visited. Around India in 80 trains teaches an important lesson that people hop in and hop out of your life just like they do in a train but at the end of the day the people who you deemed less important will make an impact in your life and extend a helping hand in your difficult times. It is through travelling that you learn life's most valuable lessons.
28. THE BEACH by Alex Garland
The Beach is a story of a young backpacker named Richard who is in search of a hidden beach untouched by tourism. He dreams of finding a paradise and miraculous runs into a man who happens to have a map of the paradise. When he finally arrives at this particular beach in Thailand, he finds a perfect life that consists of swimming, farming, fishing, and smoking dope with a bunch of another community of backpackers. Do things end well for Richard? Well, you have to read the book or watch the feature film based on the book to know more.
Alex Garland beautifully describes the beaches of Thailand and will make you want to pack your bags and head there straight away. The Beach is edgy and gritty in its narrative and the characters feel horrifyingly real. The story flows in such an interesting way that you will long for reading one more chapter making the book a quick read. Alex Garland's style of writing will make you wish for more.
29. THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS by Eric Weiner
Contributed by Oksana and Max from Drink Tea & Travel
The Geography of Bliss is a fascinating travel memoir by Eric Weiner about his search to discover the happiest country in the world. As a former war correspondent, he was saturated with the lives of unhappy people for over a decade.
In his book he travels to the Netherlands to take a first hand look at the World Happiness Index. Then to explore some of the happiest and most unhappy countries in the world. Including countries such as Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, Great Britain, India and the most incontent - Moldova. In each location, he explores how themes like wealth, religion, politics, and education have an impact on happiness.
The book is infused with psychological facts, humor, and keen observations. It reinforces the importance of human connection and will make you want to pack a bag and discover these “happy” places on your own. It's a book that’s hard to put down!
30. THE NIGHT TRAIN AT DEOLI by Ruskin Bond
Contributed by Vaibhav Khare
As soon as we say this word, imagery of lush green slopes, fragrant valleys, downtrodden paths appear in our mind. Mountains and valleys are pretty close to every traveller's heart. A traveller isn't, after all, a true traveller unless he has ventured through both shorelines of seas and the woods of mountains. And who better than Ruskin Bond can describe a narration that captures the beauty of these hills in their truest raw form. His book “Night Train to Deoli” is a perfect example of the same.
The story revolves around the writer’s voyage to his hometown and his venture with the small, isolated station of Deoli, where he meets this girl whose appearance leaves him captivated.
She is a poor seller at the station yet the way she holds herself is dignified and graceful. His encounter with this girl leaves a longing in him to meet her again. This encounter makes him feel responsible towards the girl and he decides that he will meet her again. Next summer, he again travels to Deoli in hopes of meeting her again. But to his dismay, she is nowhere to be found. The ordeal he goes through to find her turns out to be futile as well.
In this small yet thought-provoking way of his own, Ruskin Bond makes you go through life in its raw form, reinstating that unlike fiction, real life isn’t permanent. You have to learn to lose and gain people you love. The poignant way in which he simply captures this simple fact of life mesmerizingly true. For all those readers out there, this is not just a story. It’s life defined in its simplest form.
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Have you read any such book that inspired your wanderlust and urged you to travel right-away? Let us know about it in the comment section below.
If you are not a reader but still want to travel the world sitting at home, check out the list of 'Best travel movies that inspire wanderlust' in one of our previous blogs.