Travel provides a great opportunity to read – if you know the right books to take. Any favorite read is a good choice, something you know you love, that will comfort and entertain on long journeys. Yet some books are just perfect for travel. They inspire adventure and movement. Or, promote an optimistic, friendly, grateful attitude that goes with the open-mindedness of traveling. Taking one of these books is enough, keep exchanging and give to the people you meet. There is nothing more intimate and gratifying than lending a book you love to someone you like. So– bring a book, let it get battered and bruised then let it go and pass it on.
On the Road, Jack Kerouac
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
Everything its name suggests – this book revolves around life on the road. Written by a member of the classic beat generation, the focus is on rejecting everyday living – and conventional travel. The book holds a mindset of self-expression and freedom. The story is all about travel, and the liberation of constant movement.
It follows a young guy bumming around the states. It tackles the classic American road trip from pop, edgy angle. No journey is straightforward – no character is simple. Full of life, energy and potential. This is one of the best books to take with you – inspiring you to push your limits.
Wild, Cheryl Strayed
“It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets.”
This book got crazy popular a few years ago, with a film and a rise in the ratings. A personal story, and if maybe, a bit preachy, it is still worth the hype. It goes deep into the heart of the purposes of travel. What draws us to travel, to be in nature, to move from A to B in exciting ways? This book takes the simple action of walking and turns it into a journey. Its follows Cheryl Strayed, who walked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 and recorded her adventures. Take it traveling; it will inspire you to plan your own hiking trip – maybe without the life crisis.
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.”
This is one of the best books to take traveling – a classic novel, and full of travel destinations. Hemingway describes young expats in Paris. Their post-war generation is notoriously shallow, holding a newfound freedom. A non-caring attitude takes them on frivolous adventures full of parties, drink, and social drama. Travels from Paris to Pamplona are not exactly inspiring, but they are exciting. Ideas of spontaneity and impulsiveness permeate – and these are enough to make you want to travel again.
Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
Into the Wild is another storytelling-independent-adventurer favorite. Chris McCandless traveled through North America. He lived on only essentials and necessities, proving the joys of simple living. In scribbled diaries, he recorded his adventures and promoted a life of spontaneity and constant travel. Beat generation writers, like Jack Kerouac, and their ideas of breaking from social expectations inspired him. This is a book full of inspiring paragraphs and sincere, passionate words. Again, it is one of the best books to take with you – for continuous evaluation of traveling intentions.
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
“One wanted, she thought, dipping her brush deliberately, to be on a level with ordinary experience…It’s a miracle, it’s an ecstasy.”
Far from her reputation as just another depressed, romantic writer, Virginia Woolf talks mostly about beauty and happiness. She especially encourages gratitude for the immediate moment and wonders for the everyday living experience.
While traveling, daily routines that are ordinary to some are extraordinary to you. The early movement of fishermen, a local café, a small natural beauty, a common cultural tradition, phrase or word. All these things might seem incredible in the context of a big travel adventure. Yet they are merely part of daily life for others.
This book is full of paragraphs asking questions. Characters continually appreciate the moment. Scenes are full of creative minds, adventurous spirit, and nature. Curiosity, gratitude, creativity, adventure, and beauty – what more inspiration do you need for traveling?
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
If you are a big nature fan, this is a must-read. It is a classic – and the ultimate, simple, cheap, sustainable, slow, mindful travel inspiration. In the 19th Century, Thoreau decided to pack up, build a house in the woods and live there as primarily as possible. It was a profound voyage of independence and spiritual discovery. He was a key figure of Transcendentalism – celebrating the sublimity, goodness, and purity of nature.
One of the best things about travel are the scenes of exceptional natural beauty you get to witness. A book that consistently promotes appreciation for the simple wonders of it is a good thing to have. Especially if you are embarking on a hiking or camping trip, this is one of the most motivating books to take with you.
So, whether you take one with you, read before for inspiration or give it as a gift, these books are well worth your time. Allow them to fulfill your wanderlust. These are our favorite books to take traveling – what are yours?