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Travel

19 Books That Will Fuel Your Wanderlust

They say reading takes you places. So do plane tickets.

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1. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston

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What It's About: Anthropologist and all-around badass Hurston tells of her experiences as a newcomer in the communities of Jamaica and Haiti in the 1930s, particularly the spiritual and commonplace role of Voodoo in everyday life.

Why You'll Want To Travel: Hurston's total integration into the lives of the people she writes about is so authentic, you'll be convinced no good travel story can be told until you stop being an observer and start participating.

2. Into The Wild by John Krakauer

What It's About: This book explores the travels of Chris McCandless, an educated young man whose body was found four months after he wandered into the Alaskan wilderness alone.

Why You'll Want To Wander: Chris will definitely inspire and probably confuse you, and make you question how far you'd go to find ~enlightenment~.

3. The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around The World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner

What It's About: A true story about three corporate women living in NYC who decide they need more out of life than the fast paced city. They save up their money and quit life as they know it to go on a year long round-the-world adventure together.

Why You'll Want To Wander: It makes you stop and think, "If they can do it, why can't I?!" Just don't quit your job before you have a plan! Their blog has all sort of useful information for when you, inevitably, finish the book and want to book tickets.

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4. Butter Chicken In Ludhiana: Travels In Small Town India by Pankaj Mishra

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What It's About: Mishra explores the excitement and aspirations of quirky characters in a small Indian village as his home country embraces "modernity" and the promise it holds.

Why You'll Want To Wander: This exploration of capitalism can feel heavy at times, but it will make you want to explore how something you completely take for granted is introduced and used in countless other places.

What It's About: This book is exactly what it sounds like: A pessimistic (but kind of lovable) dude out to find why some countries and places are happier than others.

Why You'll Want To Wander: Though the book very clearly believes happiness is subjective, you can't deny the obvious pleasure Weiner takes in getting to know and comparing all these unique places and people.

6. My Invented Country: A Memoir by Isabel Allende

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What It's About: Centered around two September 11ths in Allende's lifetime (first in 1973 and again in 2001), this book explores when and how a place becomes a homeland.

Why You'll Want To Wander: Allende's descriptions of Chile and South American people are so damn charming and thought-provoking you'll be packing your bags for South America in no time.

7. Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

What It's About: This timeless classic about simple living and self-sufficiency was written by Thoreau when he abandoned society in favor of a life alone in the woods by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.

Why You'll Want To Wander: You may not have to wander far, but this one will definitely make you seek some solitude in an unfamiliar place. And remember that adventures don't have to be crazy intense to be incredibly meaningful.

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8. Go Girl!: The Black Woman's Book of Travel and Adventure by Elaine Lee (Editor)

What It's About: A book composed of 52 essays from women all over the world, including Maya Angelou in Africa and Alice Walker in Bali. In addition to the essays there's helpful sections covering real resources for planning your own trip.

Why You'll Want To Wander: The stories by real and inspiring women will make you want to join the ranks! The essays are honest and give you a real feel for the emotions of what it's like to be a traveler around the world.

9. In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale by Amitav Ghosh

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What It's About: Ghosh follows the path of an Indian slave brought to Egypt 700 years ago, and mingles the tale with an analysis of the 20th-century Middle East, exploring the clash between traditional beliefs and contemporary aspirations.

Why You'll Want To Wander: Not only will you want to explore the vibrant and energetic Middle East that Ghosh describes, but you'll also want to meander back in time to get the full picture.

10. The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

What It's About: This novel is about a 12 year old cartography prodigy who wins an award from the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C., and so he secretly sets out alone from his parents' ranch in Montana to claim it. If you love maps, you'll love this book.

Why You'll Want To Wander: While maps are definitely key to this book, Spivet's journey will also remind you of all the indescribable moments that come with traveling, and make you want to experience them yourself.

11. The Autobiography Of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

What It's About: Stein writes about the life of her partner for 25 years, Alice. She mimics her conversational style to tell the story of their lives in Paris as she believes Alice perceived them.

Why You'll Want To Travel: This book is so full of wit and romanticism about the Parisian art scene post WWI that you'll want to make Paris your hometown too.

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

What It's About: A true story about a young woman who is feeling sort of lost. She decides the best way for her to be found is to go on a solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Why You'll Want To Wander: It's hilariously relatable...heartwarming, heartbreaking, and thrilling all wrapped into one. It will make you want to buy your own guidebook and get out on the trail!

Why It's About: This is the ultimate guide to ditching the familiar for a life on the road, whether it be two weeks or two years. Potts shares his expertise on planning, budgeting, working/volunteering, and dealing with the haters.

Why You'll Want To Wander: This book basically obliterates any excuse you've ever had for not getting up and going. Potts's can-do attitude is absolutely infectious.

What It's About:This collection of essays follows Iyer's travels and thoughts while criss-crossing Asia for seven months in the 1980s. He's got strong opinions on cultural imperialism and tourists, but also tons of crazy stories.

Why You'll Want To Wander: You'll want to match Iyer's experiences not just because they're fun, but so you can compare your experiences with his views on cultural exchange.

15. Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman

What It's About: A true story about a woman living a glamorous life in L.A., but on the edge of a not so glamorous divorce, she decides to set out alone to travel and connect with people outside of her comfort zone.

Why You'll Want To Wander: This book will seriously move you. The author is honest and transparent about her feelings and experiences the whole time. Through the good and the bad, it will make you want to see how different people live.

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16. The Beach by Alex Garland

What It's About: This fictional novel is about a young backpacker's search for some idyllic, untouched beach in Thailand, and the small group of similar travelers he finds once he gets there.

Why You'll Want To Wander: Garland totally dispels the myth of a perfect travel experience, which is kind of freeing! You'll feel much more wise and prepared for your next trip.

17. The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet

What It's About: A beautiful compilation of 817 photographs from every country in the world. It's in alphabetical order, has lots of cultural insights, and maps.

Why You'll Want To Wander: It's a must have coffee table book for the travel obsessed. You can learn cool facts to share and be inspired by the photography when planning where you want to go next.

18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

What It's About: Man's man and adventurer Hemingway's most famous novels, this one follows a bunch of British and American expats meandering from the desolate cafes of Paris to the bullfighting rings of Pamplona.

Why You'll Want To Wander: The Lost Generation is defined by disillusion and wandering, and you'll find yourself not only pining for Europe, for the Roaring Twenties as well.

19. No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain

What It's About: An unencumbered dude traveling the world and eating his way through it. He tells you about the places that the locals hold tried and true in his typical outlandish language. This is not your typical guide book.

Why You'll Want To Wander: Anthony Bourdain is arguably the biggest baddest in the food/travel fusion realm. He tells you like it is, no apologies. You'll be full of yummy places to try on your next adventure and actually feel like a COOL tourist while you do it.