10 Books You Should Pick Up Now That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust

Reading has the power to transport us to different places.

We imagine ourselves in a new world with new settings, and watch as the characters become part of us.

Travel books written by adventurous solo travelers have been on my radar for sometime. The challenges and will power from their journeys are inspiring and have the capacity to put many of our shortcomings into perspective.

If you ever found yourself craving a once in a lifetime adventure, I recommend the following books which will give you some serious wanderlust.

You’ll be packing your bags in no time.

1. Patagonian Road: A Year Alone Through Latin America

By: Kate McCahill

After reading only a few pages of this book, I was hooked. The title is straight forward but the story is remarkable.

I learn that every passing car honks, not to scare me but to warn me no to step into the street. Honks are a courtesy.

The book takes the reader through a journey while incorporating flashbacks. In the flashbacks we learn about the writer’s life and family and the decision to take a year to travel.

Kate’s journey is from Guatemala to Argentina. In a story that is all about self-discovery and fulfilling a lifelong dream, while dealing with solitude, homesickness and language barriers.


2. The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs

By: Elaine Sciolino

This book is top on my reading list because I love everything about Paris, and people who write about living in Paris.

I can never be sad on the Rue des Martyrs.

Elaine Sciolino moved to Paris in 2002 with her husband and her two daughters , and quickly discovered Paris’ well kept secret. Exploring the Rue de Martyrs became her Sunday morning routine as it remains open while much of Paris shuts down.

She bonded with the shop owners, merchants and everything in between, on a street that has remained unchanged by time.

3. Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It

By: Various Authors

I am guilty of catching Eat Pray Love fever after reading it, but some brave ones actually packed up and left. The book contains nearly fifty stories told by those who made the adventure a reality.

The stories are from all across the spectrum. One writer’s journey in search for the perfect pizza leads her to New Zealand, and eventually completely off the grid.

I, meanwhile, was forcing my swelling feet to take just one more step while walking alone, usually too nervous to strike up a conversation with a stranger.

Other stories deal with divorce, death, and disease. People with all kinds of different lives come to terms with their struggles after venturing in a transformative journey.


4. Paris Letters

By: Janice Macleod

After years of feeling unfulfilled by her life and her job, Janice finally saved enough money to buy herself two years of freedom in Europe.

How much money does it take to change your life?

Think falling in love in Paris is a work of fiction? Think again.

Not long before arriving in Paris, Janice ends up meeting a handsome butcher who speaks no English.

Once she realized her love affair with Christophe would be forever, she had to come up with a way to support herself while living in Paris. The book follows her journey to get to Paris and the struggle to remain there.

Janice now sells hand-illustrated Parisian letters from her Etsy shop. Her new book, A Paris Year is due in June.


5. Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone

By: Mary Morris 

Another great story that transcended the test of time. This celebrated fiction and non-fiction writer takes us through a journey as a female traveler in the 1980s through Mexico, the Caribbean and Guatemala.

She traveled through the dessert of Northern Mexico, Jungles of Honduras, the shores of the Caribbean and the highlands of Guatemala.

Excess baggage is a symptom of something we are missing on the inside – a fear that we won’t be accepted for what we are, as if our selves are not enough. We bring too much of our past experience, the clutter of our emotions. These things get in the way and keep us from getting close to others. Then we are left with the task of having to find someone else to carry it, whether it is our luggage or our loneliness.

During her journey, she faces the realities of poverty, machismo personalities, places and culture. She also explores elements of her own personality and faces limitations that have held her back in the past.


6. A Moveable Feast

By: Ernest Hemingway 

In this classic book you will be transported to a surreal era, the 1920s, the time of the lost generation. Read about the magical time in Paris from nearly a century ago.

Hemingway narrates anecdotes from his time living in Paris from 1921 to 1926, and his interactions with la creme de la creme, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound.

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

You will read about places in Paris that still stand to this day; The Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, and the famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Company.

After the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015 the book experienced a revival. Sales escalated from 10 to 15 in a day, according to Folio, a French publisher.


7. Into the Wild

By: Jon Krakauer

If you saw the movie, then you know is not the most up-lifting. So why am I recommending this book?

There’s something alluring about reading a story of someone who has left it all behind.

In moments of desperation or extreme darkness most of us have thought about it, why not read about it and escape with the story?

I think many people get caught in a life of routine, always doing the same job, and have others expect too much from them. Follow Christopher McCandless‘ decision to leave all of that behind and create a new life for himself

It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found.

 

This is a great story if you have ever thought about leaving it all behind and disappearing. The quest might prove rough and challenging, however rewarding for those who do it successfully learn about the type of life they want to live.

I hope at the end of this book, you will feel thankful for your own life, relationships and the love surrounding you.


8. Tracks

By: Robyn Davidson

The Australian outback, 1,700 mile trek on foot, four camels and one dog- anyone want to sign up?

If you’re not up for it, why not read about the adventure?

I find this journey compelling not only due to the difficult journey, but because this happened in 1977. Prove that women have been venturing on extraordinary quests everywhere.

I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.

Robyn Davidson, known for writing about nomadic people in Australia, took her love for the nomadic lifestyle and the outback and created her own adventure.


9. World of Wanderlust

By: Broke Saward

Travel-blogger extraordinaire and creator of World of Wanderlust, Brooke Saward shares her journey on how she became a full-time traveler.

It was back in December 2012 when I wrote my first blog post as World of Wanderlust and back then I never could have imagined the countries I would visit, cities I would live in and opportunities that would come my way from blogging.

After graduating college, this Tasmania-native bought a one-way ticket to London and never looked back.

The pages of this book are filled with pictures from all over the world, her favorite stories, and travel tips.


10. Eat Pray Love

By: Elizabeth Gilbert

An oldie but goodie, Eat Pray Love, will give anyone wanderlust. Follow Elizabeth Gilbert as she eats her way through Italy, finds spirituality in India, and falls in love in Bali.

But Eat Pray Love is so much more than that. Anyone who has ever ended a relationship, or had trouble dealing with the guilt and pain will find a little bit of comfort in this book.

This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.

Not only will you read a story of a solo female traveler, Elizabeth lets you in her private thoughts, her journey to find herself, making new friends, and finally finding a new life.

The quote, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us,” is one of my favorites. When I read about travelers who made this into a reality, I feel inspired by their words, their struggles, and the journeys that changed them.

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Mayra Orduno

Chicagoan at heart and world explorer, Mayra fell in love with writing at the age of seven, and travel at the age of twenty-five. Mayra is a hopeless romantic, who can always find a quote or lyric for every occasion. Her favorite book is A Moveable Feast because she believes she belongs in Paris in the 1920s. Cheap wine, street food and live music are some of the hobbies she holds dearest.