Books were my escape, long before I ever stepped foot in an airport. Today, they’re my favorite getaway when I’m between trips or stuck in my hometown for an extended period of time. Travel memoirs, particularly written by solo female travelers, are my favorite but I’m always on the lookout for an outstanding travel-inspired work of fiction as well. Here are 5 of my favorite books that inspire me to get off the couch and travel.
The Lost Girls. The Lost Girls is the story of 3 women who are ready to do something big before turning 30 and aiming for at the milestones that come with the age. Somehow, the 3 friends manage to pull off a trip across several continents, hiking the Inca Trail, volunteering in Kenya, and exploring countless countries – without killing each other.
Reading The Lost Girls made me want to call my best friend and demand an international adventure because, at its core, The Lost Girls is a memoir about the bond of friendship.
Wanderlove. If you asked me to name my top 5 favorite books of all time, Wanderlove would make the cut. In fact, I love this novel about a recent high school graduate who heads to Central America to find herself, that I have “Wanderlove” tattooed on my wrist. I’ll write that full story later but know for now that Wanderlove is a must-read. It’s the only travel-focused young adult novel I’ve ever read – the first book I’ve ever read about anyone my age heading to Central America, actually – and Kirsten Hubbard is a fantastic writer. Reading Wanderlove took my back to some of my favorite places but also made me feel like I had visited places I hadn’t. My love for Central America only grows every time I reread this novel. It makes me laugh and cry and want to book a flight straight back to Guatemala every single time I read it.
Vagabonding. Vagabonding is different from the rest of the books on this list in that it’s not a travel memoir or fiction – rather it’s a how-to on long-term travel. In fact, I think it was one of the first books on how to travel long-term. It tackles subjects like financing your travel time and handling travel adversity, as well as the basics of deciding where to go and how to go there. It includes realistic information and doesn’t shy away from the questions most people might not want to answer. I reread sections of this allll the time.
Love with a Chance of Drowning. I was a fan of Torre’s blog before her book debuted…and then I fell even more in love with her writing. It was refreshing to read something about someone who openly admits being afraid of something – and then goes to do it anyway. I also have to admire her balls for setting out on a ship with a guy she just met to travel the world. Since they’re traveling by boat, it stands out from any other memoir I’ve read and it was nice to read about places I had no idea existed.
Now if I only I could find that guy ready to set out on an epic adventure….
The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost. This was actually the first travel memoir I ever read, soon after returning home from my first trip to Guatemala, and a book that I credit for helping convince that long-term solo travel was possible. Rachel Friedman is a self-proclaimed “good girl” who just can’t figure out what she wants, much like myself, so I connected with her immediately. I had yet to travel solo when I first read this, I took many of her mishaps as lessons to learn before I left, and her experience as proof that I could do exactly what I wanted. Her writing flows effortlessly and I can most girls will find a piece of themselves in her. One of my all-time favorites.
What are your favorite travel-related books? Have you read any on this list? Check out more books I love here.