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Travel-Related Reads I Love

Some of my strongest travel inspiration comes from reading.  Whether it’s immersing myself in a new guidebook, reading travel blogs, skimming reviews on tripadvisor, or losing myself in travel lit, I find that reading allows you a much greater sense of self when dreaming up your future adventures.  Just like any time you read, you can develop the characters for yourself, and the pictures in your own mind.  In this case, the character is you, and the pictures are the ones you hope to be taking someday when you’re on your trip of a lifetime.

Below is my first small list of favourite travel-related reads.  Some you’ve probably heard of, some you probably haven’t.  If you’re looking for inspiration, pick up one of these incredible books to get you started!

1. The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner

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From Amazon.ca: Three friends, each on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, make a pact to quit their high pressure New York City media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world in The Lost Girls.

I really enjoyed this book, even though parts of it were difficult to keep track of (it’s written by 3 different women, after all!).  It started out fairly slow, but it provided really cool insight into the lives of these three amazing women as they lived out their dreams together.  Definitely a must-read for all women of all ages.

2. Wanderlust by Elizabeth Eaves

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From Amazon.ca: Spanning 15 years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, “Wanderlust” documents Elisabeth Eaves’s insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, she loses herself–literally–to an Australian tour guide; in Cairo, she reconnects with her high school sweetheart, only to discover the beginning of a pattern that will characterize her life over the long-term: while long-distance relationships work well for her, traditional relationships do not.  “Wanderlust, ” however, is more than a chronological conquest of men and countries: at its core, it’s a journey of self-discovery. In the course of her travels, Eaves finds herself and the sense of home she’s been lacking since childhood–and she sheds light on a growing culture of young women who have the freedom and inclination to define their own, increasingly global, lifestyles, unfettered by traditional roles and conventions of past generations of women.

This book captivated me right from the start.  It is inspiring and heartbreaking, triumphant and frustrating, beautiful and tragic.  A perfect description of the pain and pleasure associated with insatiable wanderlust, Elizabeth Eaves offers a raw, uncensored look into her life as a woman in love with the whole world.

3. Cross Currents by John Shors

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From amazon.ca: Thailand’s pristine Ko Phi Phi island attracts tourists from around the world. There, struggling to make ends meet, small-resort owners Lek and Sarai are happy to give an American named Patch room and board in exchange for his help. But when Patch’s brother, Ryan, arrives, accompanied by his girlfriend, Brooke, Lek learns that Patch is running from the law, and his presence puts Lek’s family at risk. Meanwhile, Brooke begins to doubt her love for Ryan while her feelings for Patch blossom.

Cross Currents is one of the few fictional travel books I have actually enjoyed, but perhaps that’s because it is all based on real events during the 2004 Boxing Day Earthquake & Tsunami that devastated most of the coastline of the Indian Ocean.  This book was actually one of the main reasons why I chose to travel to Thailand this upcoming March.

4. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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From amazon.ca: This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.

I know some of you are probably shaking your heads at me right now, but there is a reason why this book became such a cult classic.  I think Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey was beautiful, inspiring, and brave.  I will never not praise this book, and I think every woman should read it, regardless of where they’re at in their lives.

5. F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C Parkin

ImageFrom amazon.ca: To say ‘F**k It’ feels good. To stop struggling and finally do what you wish . . . to ignore what everyone is telling you and just go your own way . . . feels really great. In this inspiring and humorous book, John C. Parkin suggests that saying ‘F**k It’ is the perfect Western expression of the Eastern spiritual concept of letting go, giving up, and finding real freedom by realizing that things don’t matter so much (if at all). It’s a spiritual way that doesn’t require chanting, meditating, or wearing sandals. And it’s the very power of this modern-day profanity that makes it perfect for shaking us Westerners out of the stress and anxiety that dominate our daily lives. So, find out how to say ‘F**k It’ to all your problems and concerns. Say ‘F**k It’ to all the ‘shoulds’ in your life, and finally do what you want – no matter what other people think!

This book inspired me to say ‘F**k It’ and book that damn plane ticket to Bali.  It makes me laugh out loud anytime I read it, and it can be read over and over again.  You need this book.  Everyone needs this book.

Ashley Dempster is a twenty-something Canadian Travel and Adventure blogger based in Calgary, Canada. Her passions include good food, minimalist packing, running, music, and chasing down every opportunity for adventure.

8 Comments

      1. Just Eat, Pray, Love. At the moment I am reading High Altitude, by Mike Allsop and A Survival Guide for Life by Bear Grylls. I always become obsessed with a place before I go and at the moment I am obsessed with Nepal and Everest.

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