7 Travel Books as Inspiration

Laura Lopuch

Have you ever had the urge to travel, but no destination in mind?

There’s a need to tramp out into the world and see what happens. This happens to me sometimes. Usually I can track it back to a travel book I’ve read.

Books ignite your imagination and stir the coals of wanderlust. The stories seep into your blood. For me, books inspire travel. There’s a thrill to see and do, and feel this location that now only lives on a page.

Suddenly, without you realizing it, you’re aching to visit Venice, Moscow or Sydney.

If you’re hurting for your next trip — but have no destination in mind — check out these seven travel books to inspire you and fire up your gypsy blood.

Travels with Charley In Search of AmericaTravels With Charley

by John Steinbeck

Maybe the last time you heard of Steinbeck was in high school. Don’t let a bespectacled teacher and long-forgotten essays prejudice you. This book is a road-trip memoir written by America’s finest writer covering his travels driving USA with his poodle, Charley.

A true light packer, Steinbeck explored America turtle-style, in his truck fitted with an RV-topper. At night, he pulled to the side of the road and made camp.

In this book, you’ll meet a fun, dog-loving Steinbeck — a man who got to know America’s soul through her highways. This book will inspire you to wander America’s open roads.

You’ll pull out your atlas to start tracking imaginary road trips across the country.  I won’t blame you one bit if you pack your backpack, grab your dog and set off on a journey to find America’s paradise.

The Sun Also Risesthe sun also rises

by Ernest Hemingway

As the only fiction book in this post, this book will inspire travels to Spain and Paris. Colored in an alcoholic haze of nostalgia, Hemingway’s characters journey via train to Spain to watch the fabled bull-fighting, and they fall in love with the bloody sport.

I’m an animal lover. Yet, every time I read this book, I want to sit in the dusty, sun-baked amphitheater watching a man dance around death and, later, drink the afternoon away at a shady table. I want to go to Spain, hear the thunder of the bulls racing down narrow streets, and watch the matador’s eyes as he waves his red flag.

If you hanker for the lost generation of the 1920s and a mythical, uncomplicated world in which life and travel were as simple as ordering a fresh drink, read this book.

Travelstravels

by Michael Crichton

When Crichton (Harvard-trained physician, bestselling novelist, and movie director) began to feel stifled in his life, he took to travel. Like most everything he did, he went all out, traveled hard, and went to crazy, exotic destinations.

Crichton immerses his reader in the destination, thanks to his driving curiosity and thirst for adventure. He makes you want to go see the unbelievable treats the world has to offer. You want to be fearless, unencumbered, and raring to say, “Yes,” to what’s next.

This book will inspire travel of great magnitude: the adventure-heavy, rip-roaring travel where you cannot believe what just happened to you.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travelvagabonding

by Rolf Potts

If you want a book to inspire long-term world travel and practical advice, look no further.

Potts is the vanguard writer of the vagabonding movement that’s based on slow, intentional travel as a way of life. Not travel restricted to two-week stints once a year. Not travel where you lug half your closet around the world in a huge suitcase.

In fact, a few years ago, Potts embarked on a No Baggage Challenge where he traveled through 12 countries in six weeks with no baggage. To say he’s a Jedi of Light Packing is an understatement.

In this slender book, Potts gives you real world advice on how to fund your adventure, how to prepare, and what challenges (a.k.a. problem-solving journeys) you may encounter on the road.

Beware: this book might change your life. You will feel the powerful winds of shifting perspective blow your mind open. And you might think that what was considered impossible is now possible.

The City of Falling Angelscity of falling angels

by John Berendt

I pick favorite cities based on my knowledge of their history. Venice — with its romantic winding calles and magical suspended feeling — only increased in its attraction after I read this book.

In 1996, Venice’s historic Fenice Opera House was destroyed by fire, and arson may have been the cause. Berendt investigates the claims of arson and interviews Venice’s citizens, digging deep into her rich history and her natives’ love of her maze-like streets. It’s like biting into Venice and finding a mouthful of rich carbonara laced with timeless art.

Because of this book, you’ll be inspired to travel to Venice to retrace Berendt’s steps, gaze up at the buildings, and marvel at the strength of her people.

1,000 Places to See Before You Die1000 places

by Patricia Schultz

Do you simply need a destination to satiate your wonderlust? Check out this incredible guide, complete with pictures and recommendations, for 1,000 must-see places to visit.

This is the ultimate book to inspire your travels.

Sorted by geographical area, the book is broken down further by state, or city, with short snippets on what you should see (and why). You’ll know exactly what to see and do — and what’s not worth your time. When I’m hankering for a trip, this is the book I reach for to inspire my travels.

It’s like having insider recommendations in your back pocket. For the entire world.

The best part is the book isn’t too hefty too exclude it from your carry on.

Bonus book: Packing Light: The Normal Person’s Guide to Carry-On-Only Travelpacking light

A e-book guide to packing light compiled from this blog’s most popular posts! You’ll learn how to travel light, helpful tips on packing light for men and women, and get the best packing lists. If you’re looking to pack light but wondering how to do it, this is the book for you.

Maybe you could pick your next destination based solely off a specific packing list: Paris, spring, Alaska? Who knows where you might end up.

TL;DR

If you’re hankering for a trip but are unsure of your destination, check out a good book. Chances are, in a book’s pages, you’ll find a destination that ignites your imagination. Travel books ignite wanderlust and can inspire a destination for your trip.

Suddenly, after reading a book, you might find yourself yearning to visit Africa or Thailand or road-trip down California’s coast.

What are some of your favorite books that inspire travel?

Image: Mikhail Pavstyuk (Stocksnap)