I’m an avid reader. Whether I’m on a road trip, passing the time on a flight, or just relaxing at home, I always make sure I have a good book on hand. If you’re like me and suffer from acute wanderlust, you’re probably always looking to escape to a new world.
Sometimes, a new book that challenges and inspires you is the best cure — which is why I put together a few addictive reads that will have you dreaming of your next adventure across the globe!
On the Road — Jack Kerouac
“Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naivete and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.”
Life of Pi — Yann Martel
“Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It’s a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.”
Eat, Pray, Love — Elizabeth Gilbert
“In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.”
Into the Wild — John Krakauer
“In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.”
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald — Therese Anne Fowler
“Before F. Scott Fitzgerald was a literary darling, before he’d even begun to imagine The Great Gatsby or Benjamin Button, he was a young WWI army lieutenant who fell hard for a spirited Southern belle named Zelda Sayre. The life he and Zelda would lead together in New York, Long Island, Paris, Hollywood and the French Riviera made them legends, even in their own time. Set amidst the glamour of the Jazz Age and The Lost Generation’s vivid world abroad, ‘Z’ vividly brings Zelda and Scott’s romantic, tumultuous, extraordinary journey to life.”
Beautiful Ruins — Jess Walter
“Gloriously inventive, funny, tender and constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a novel full of fabulous and yet very flawed people, all of them striving towards another sort of life, a future that is both delightful and yet, tantalizingly, seems just out of reach.”
A Long Way Home: A Memoir — Saroo Brierley
“When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines. Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia. Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. When he was a young man the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of India for landmarks he recognized. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off on a journey to find his mother.”
The Light Between Oceans — M. L. Stedman
“Tom is a World War I veteran who maintains a lighthouse off the shore of Australia with his wife Isabel, a woman desperate to have a baby. Her prayers are answered when an infant washes up on shore in a rowboat. Tom thinks they should notify the authorities but ultimately gives in to Isabel’s wish to keep the girl. Fate strikes again when the couple meet the child’s biological mother on the mainland. Now, Tom and Isabel must make a decision that will forever affect the lives of four people.”
The Alchemist — Paulo Coelho
“Andalusian shepherd boy Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.”
Istanbul: Memories and the City — Orhan Pamuk
“Istanbul: Memories and the City is a largely autobiographical memoir by Orhan Pamuk that is deeply melancholic. It talks about the vast cultural change that has rocked Turkey – the unending battle between the modern and the receding past.”
“Atlas Obscura revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer.
A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel — Amor Towles
“In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.”
Americanah — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
What are some of your favorite wanderlust-inspired books?
Just a heads up, this post contains referral links, which means if you totally fall in love with one of these books make a purchase using one of the links, I’ll make a little money. Rest assured, I’ll only ever recommend products I totally adore! xo