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32 Books That Are Guaranteed To Give You Wanderlust

The perfect travel companions.

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1. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

What it's about: "Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined." (HarperCollins)

Why you should read it: "It makes you travel in every possible way. You won't be the same person after reading this, I promise." —Maude Prévost, Facebook

"It makes you feel like your destiny is somewhere out there in the world, and you just have to get up and go find it." —anniea4c02ace89

"Because if you follow your Personal Legend, you'll find yourself." —Daljit Kaur, Facebook

2. My Invented Country, by Isabel Allende

What it's about: "The book circles around two life-changing moments. The assassination of Allende's uncle Salvador on September 11, 1973, sent her into exile and transformed her into a literary writer. And the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on her adopted homeland, the United States, brought forth an overdue acknowledgment that Allende had indeed left home." (Harper Collins)

Why you should read it: "Allende's book is written like memory, and really captures the contradictory feeling of the immigrant experience." —Anonymous


3. Dove, by Robin Lee Graham

What it's about: "In 1965, 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham began a solo around-the-world voyage from San Pedro, California, in a 24-foot sloop. Five years and 33,000 miles later, he returned to home port with a wife and daughter and enough extraordinary experiences to fill this bestselling book." (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Why you should read it: "I gifted this to a friend and it kicked off his wanderlust. It tells the story of a young man who sails around the world in a small boat and his adventures and the people he meets along the way. It's an excellent book." —Martie Ogle, Facebook

4. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, by Laurie Lee

What it's about: "It was 1934 and a young man walked to London from the security of the Cotswolds to make his fortune. He was to live by playing the violin and by labouring on a London building site. Then, knowing one Spanish phrase, he decided to see Spain. For a year he tramped through a country in which the signs of impending civil war were clearly visible. Thirty years later Laurie Lee captured the atmosphere of the Spain he saw with all the freshness and beauty of a young man's vision." (Goodreads)

Why you should read it: "It's the type of travel I do: pack a bag and go. No need to plan. It reveals an incredible Spain, just before the war. It reminds me to keep travel simple and current. If you don't go now, imagine what you might miss." —kearah3

5. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce

What it's about: "Harold Fry is recently retired, and lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live." (Penguin Random House)

Why you should read it: "I loved hearing the descriptions of where Harold is walking; however, the story goes much deeper than that. A pilgrimage is not only about reaching the destination, but it's about slowing down your life enough to see the world in a different way. The journey allows you to reflect on your past, think about your future, and realize that the figurative and literal steps you are taking make you stronger each day" —rachel s.

"It's a beautiful story about slowing down and learning the value of people throughout a difficult and long journey." —Emily Stice, Facebook

6. I Wonder As I Wander, by Langston Hughes

What it's about: "Langston Hughes vividly recalls the most dramatic and intimate moments of his life in the turbulent 1930s. His wanderlust leads him to Cuba, Haiti, Russia, Soviet Central Asia, Japan, Spain (during its Civil War), through dictatorships, wars, revolutions. He meets and brings to life the famous and the humble, from Arthur Koestler to Emma, the Black Mammy of Moscow. It is the continuously amusing, wise revelation of an American writer journeying around the often strange and always exciting world he loves." (Macmillan)

Why you should read it: Hughes writes about traveling, often broke, with compassion, insight, and a sense of humor. It's an eye-opening account of different cultures at his time. (Recommended by Ann Catherine Hughes, Facebook)


7. The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner

What it's about: "Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of 'un-unhappiness.' The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is." (Twelve)

Why you should read it: "It's a hilarious, enlightening read that piques your interest about what makes people in other countries happy. It made me look at different things while traveling." —anniea4c02ace89

8. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche

What it's about: "A city girl with a morbid fear of deep water, Torre DeRoche is not someone you would ordinarily find adrift in the middle of the stormy Pacific aboard a leaky sailboat – total crew of two – struggling to keep an old boat, a new relationship and her floundering sanity afloat. But when she meets Ivan, a handsome Argentinean man with a humble sailboat and a dream to set off exploring the world, Torre has to face a hard decision: watch the man she's in love with sail away forever, or head off on the watery journey with him." (Penguin)

Why you should read it: "It's honest, hilarious and well-written. I love that DeRoche doesn't gloss over the less attractive aspects of long-term travel, which makes you root that much harder for her to succeed in her adventures with Ivan. It has made me add sailing to my travel bucket list!" —Kari Larocque, Facebook

9. Let's Get Lost, by Adi Alsaid

What it's about: "Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth—sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way." (Harlequin)

Why you should read it: "You see not only the protagonist's personal journey as she travels across the country after living through a car accident, but also her travel journey. She meets a lovely boy named Hudson, who sparks a light in her heart. It's a journey of body, heart, and mind." —jkleinnn

"It's incredibly touching and gave me some intense wanderlust!" —Maisie Cumberbatch Allen, Facebook

10. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, by Kristen Newman

What it's about: "Kristin Newman spent much of her twenties and thirties buying dresses to wear to her friends' weddings and baby showers. Not ready to settle down and in need of an escape from her fast-paced job as a sitcom writer, Kristin instead traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year. In addition to falling madly in love with the planet, Kristin fell for many attractive locals, men who could provide the emotional connection she wanted without costing her the freedom she desperately needed."

Why you should read it: "This was the perfect read in my travels. The theme throughout the book is 'do the thing you're supposed to do, in the place you're supposed to do it,' basically translating to 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do.' It was inspiring and encouraged my cliff-jumping in Greece, beer tours in Prague, and biccerin drinking in Torino. It is sure to inspire a new sense of adventure!" —hannahmaes3


11. The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah

What it's about: "Acclaimed English travel writer Tahir Shah shares a highly entertaining account of making an exotic dream come true. By turns hilarious and harrowing, here is the story of his family’s move from the gray skies of London to the sun-drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge–and nothing is as easy as it seems." (Penguin Random House)

Why you should read it: "It's about discovering centuries old traditions that are still very much alive today, and coexisting peacefully with the modern world." —michelij

12. All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot

What it's about: "In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth. (St. Martin's)

Why you should read it: "It isn't specifically about travel, but is descriptions of hiking, walking dogs, and even just pulling to the side of the road for a sandwich in the Yorkshire Dales make it seem like the most beautiful spot on earth." —Jennifer Joy Johnson, Facebook

13. The Wild Places by Robert McFarlane

What it's about: "Are there any genuinely wild places left in Britain and Ireland? That is the question that Robert Macfarlane poses to himself as he embarks on a series of breathtaking journeys through some of the archipelago's most remarkable landscapes. He climbs, walks, and swims by day and spends his nights sleeping on cliff-tops and in ancient meadows and wildwoods." (Penguin Random House)

Why you should read it: It's pretty inspirational, and really makes me want to get up off my bum and see some more of my own country." —ladyloafer

14. All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, by Maya Angelou

What it's about: "In 1962, Maya Angelou claimed another piece of her identity by moving to Ghana, joining a community of 'Revolutionist Returnees' inspired by the promise of pan-Africanism. All God's Children Need Walking Shoes is her lyrical and acutely perceptive exploration of what it means to be an African American on the mother continent, where color no longer matters but where American-ness keeps asserting itself in ways both puzzling and heartbreaking." (Vintage)

Why you should read it: "Angelou's descriptions of Ghana are really vivid, and her memoir reveals the sad truth that it is impossible to truly go home again." —Anonymous


15. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

What it's about: "At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and to do it alone." (Vintage)

Why you should read it: "It pretty much came into my life during a period of immense change and I felt like Cheryl and I were in a similar place. To take on such a difficult and unknown challenge such as hiking the PCT by yourself is incredibly inspiring to me. I sincerely believe that nature does heal the soul after reading this book." —Alison Alampi, Facebook

"I found the book very inspiring and it challenges me to do more things for myself...even if it means I have to do it alone." —Jess Cavin, Facebook

"I'm totally into travelling and when I was looking for a book to read, I wanted to find something about backpacking and hitchhiking. But this book surprised me. It was absolutely not what I wanted, but I got so much more than I expected. This book is about life decisions, changes, grief, depression and personal growth. " —Liza Jones, Facebook

(Also recommended by Maren Johnson, Facebook)

16. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, by Edward Abbey

What it's about: "Edward Abbey lived for three seasons in the desert at Moab, Utah, and what he discovered about the land before him, the world around him, and the heart that beat within, is a fascinating, sometimes raucous, always personal account of a place that has already disappeared, but is worth remembering and living through again and again." (Ballantine)

Why you should read it:"It's an account of his adventures as a park ranger in Arches National Park, and his deep thoughts on humanity, the earth, and life" —amstaub97

17. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldan

What it's about: "Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the 1743."

Why you should read it: "The Outlander series is an amazing story and seriously makes you want to travel. Maybe standing stones in Scotland will let you travel time— won't know till you go!" —hayleym4d6fa0ad8

18. In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson

What it's about: "Despite the fact that Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else, including sharks, crocodiles, snakes, even riptides and deserts, Bill Bryson adores the place, and he takes his readers on a rollicking ride far beyond that beaten tourist path. Wherever he goes he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging, and these beaming products of land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine fill the pages of this wonderful book."

Why you should read it: "Whenever a book makes me belly laugh several times (and look like a mad woman to strangers), it's a good thing." —skullduggery

(Also recommended by Abby Korinek)


19. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

What it's about: "Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in what he finds in the 'cemetery of lost books,' a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love." (Penguin Random House)

Why you should read it: "It's an instant favourite! I read it while I was in Barcelona last year, and was able to follow in the story's footsteps." —Kelly Kay, Facebook

20. 13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson

What it's about: "When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel." (HarperCollins)

Why you should read it: "I read it when I was 13 or 14, and ever since, I've wanted to travel the world with nothing but a map and some money." —Samaria Johnson, Facebook

"The novel follows a young girl who thinks she's the most boring type of person in the world, on a quest around Europe and surrounding areas that were first traveled by her aunt. What I really love about this book (and what makes me want to travel) is that it shows how traveling forces you to look at yourself in relation to other things: people, culture, even history." —Kaitlyn Loffland, Facebook

21. Blue Highways: A Journey into America, by William Least Heat-Moon

What it's about: "William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about 'those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi.' His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience." (Little, Brown)

Why you should read it: Anyone who enjoys getting off the beaten path while appreciate William Least Heat-Moon's account, capturing snapshots of life in the places often looked over.

(Recommended by Kiran Bisht, Facebook)

22. The Best Women’s Travel Writing, edited by Lavinia Spalding

What it's about: Multiple volumes of true travel stories by women, published annually by Travelers' Tales.

Why you should read it: "The stories are amazing, funny and inspiring. When I'm feeling travel withdrawal, I buy a new copy and the stories always deliver." —kimwashere92


23. Travels With Charley in Search of America, by John Steinbeck

What it's about: "n September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante." (Penguin)

Why you should read it: "It is interesting to compare Steinbeck's view of the U.S. as it was in 1960 with what it is today." —Mark Hatch, Facebook

(Also recommended by Michele Grumke, dannyw11, c182, and hadhinahfawwazahn)

24. The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

What it's about: "The magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne." (Del Rey)

Why you should read it: "It's set in real places in the British Isles, places that were connected with deep magic and real history. It gives me such a longing for that Celtic history every time I read it; it makes me want to time-travel just to be able to see these beautiful orchards, rolling hills, cold rivers, and foggy castles. The main cast of characters travel extensively at different times for different reasons, and each time I felt myself going on the journey myself. Since reading the book over a decade ago, I have moved the British Isles to the top of my travel list — who doesn't want to ride horseback through misty forests only to end up at towering castles?" —Lindsay Stevens, Facebook

25. A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

What it's about: "A Moveable Feast is Hemingway's classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized." (Scribner)

Why you should read it: "It's not really a traditional travel book, and I'm not a huge fan of Hemingway, but I love to read about the places he's been, the people he knew (I am a huge Fitzgerald fan), and I love Paris. I would love to live there like he did." —Jerika Coleman, Facebook

"It highlights Paris so beautifully. It makes me want to hop on a plane right away, and eat lots of wonderful food." —yolie4u

26. Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson

What it's about: "Yes, Chef chronicles chef Marcus Samuelsson's journey from his grandmother's kitchen to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. There have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs, and, most important, the opening of Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fulfilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, and bus drivers. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home." (Random House)

Why you should read it: One of the best ways to experience and celebrate different places and cultures is through food, and Samuelsson's memoir is a treasure trove of culinary exploration. (Recommended by Lincoln Thompson)


27. Just One Day, by Gayle Forman

What it's about: "Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life." (Speak)

Why you should read it: "It is a very sweet book about traveling and adventure, mixed with the right amount of romance and self-discovery. It definitely gave me a case of wanderlust while I was reading." —kcmeyer14

"I don't think I've ever read a book that describes how incredible the world is, in such a way that I just wanted to jump on a plane and be there." —Darcie Thomas, Facebook

28. A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

What it's about: "Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up. Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies." (Macmillan)

Why you should read it: It tackles travel from a different perspective: that of the native, whose home is regularly overrun by tourists, and contrasts the experiences of visitors and residents. (Recommended by Julia Furlan)

29. Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters, by Lesley M. M. Blume

What it's about: "Eleven-year-old Cornelia is the daughter of two world-famous pianists—a legacy that should feel fabulous, but instead feels just plain lonely. She surrounds herself with dictionaries and other books to isolate herself from the outside world. But when a glamorous neighbor named Virginia Somerset moves next door with her servant Patel and a mischievous French bulldog named Mister Kinyatta, Cornelia discovers that the world is a much more exciting place than she had originally thought." (Penguin)

Why you should read it: "I know it's more of a kids' book, but it really is a great story, and so inspirational. I love the fact that Cornelia learns so much without leaving Virginia's apartment." —divya326

30. Running in the Family, by Michael Ondaatje

What it's about: "In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that 'pendant off the ear of India,' Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family." (Penguin Random House)

Why you should read it: "It's vibrant, seductive, and made me fall in love with Sri Lanka." —Anonymous


31. Beach Music, by Pat Conroy

What it's about: "Jack McCall is an American living in Rome with his young daughter, trying to find peace after the recent trauma of his wife's suicide. But his solitude is disturbed by the appearance of his sister-in-law, who begs him to return home, and of two school friends asking for his help in tracking down another classmate who went underground as a Vietnam protester and never resurfaced. These requests launch Jack on a journey that encompasses the past and the present in both Europe and the American South, and that leads him to shocking — and ultimately liberating — truths." (Conroy)

Why you should read it: "It's a novel split between the past and the present with beautiful descriptions of Italy and South Carolina. Also heartbreaking stories of Jewish families during WW2 (mostly set in Russia). I LOVE this book…it's one of my must-read books every few years." —skullduggery

32. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

What it's about: "Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum." (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Why you should read it: "I learned so much about travel, and how it was changing me, by paging through my copy. There are three levels to being a traveler: The first is Frodo level— you're not able to connect with your old life when you return, and become a bit of a recluse. The second level is Bilbo— you're able to build and sustain a life where you had one before, but it's changed, and you've changed. The ultimate level is Aragorn— you can find companions wherever you are, and have the ability to slip in wherever you are and make yourself at home where ever your pack is that night." —Anna Chryslyn, Facebook

"If that book won't make you want to travel — nothing will." —Marta Cholubek, Facebook

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