Travel Books

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This is where you’re going to find all of my favorite travel books.  You’ll find a range of topics and destinations here from thru-hiking to expat life and backpacking to survival stories.  Some of my favorite places to read about are Paris, Mount Everest, India, North Korea, and South America, but nowhere is off-limits.  I’ll update this page periodically as I read new things I love, so check back often.  You can find all my other book posts on this page.

Apologies to My Censor

Mitch is stuck in a rut and decides to apply for a job writing for a newspaper in China.  What starts as a plan for just a year, he finds himself there four years later dancing in a Chinese wannabe pop star’s music video.  We get to follow along on all of his adventures from learning Chinese to experiencing the Olympics.

Paris, I love you, but You’re Bringing Me Down

Rosecrans Baldwin has always dreamed of living in Paris.  Growing up a self-proclaimed Francophile, when the opportunity to work in Paris arises, he can’t turn it down.  While it may be his dream city, the big move is more challenging than expected, but that doesn’t quell his love for the city.

Wild

I think everyone knows Wild, but I was late on the bandwagon.  After her mother’s death and a divorce, Cheryl set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone with no training or experience.  Follow along on her journey of walking with strangers and without boots.

A Walk in the Woods

Head to the other side of the US to follow Bill Bryson’s journey along sections of the Appalachian Trail.  He’s an entertaining guide, teaching you about the history and ecology of the trail, as well as introducing you to some of the hikers of the trail.

Backpacked: A Reluctant Trip Across Central America

This piqued my interest in visiting Central America.  Catherine Ryan Howard invited herself on her friend’s backpacking trip, not sure what she got herself into.  She’s happier reading by a pool and ends up climbing volcanos and throwing up in the street.  This is a funny read.

Happier Than A Billionaire

Another book set in Central America, Nadine and her husband move to Costa Rica.  You get to learn about finding a house, driving, and everything else that happens when you move to Costa Rica.  It’s a lot funnier than it sounds, I promise.

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Shantaram

This may look intimidating, and I’ll admit, I got a little lost at some parts, but I LOVE it.  Lin is an escapee from an Australian prison living in Bombay, working in the black market, fighting in wars, and finding love.  The characters are intriguing and enjoyable.  You can laugh and cry during this.

Holy Cow

Another adventure, however much more reluctant, in India.  This is more of a spiritual journey, as in experiencing the countless religions in India after moving there for her husband’s job.  Sarah needs something to do in her free time and goes in search of the meaning of life and death.

National Geographic Guide to the US National Parks

While the rest of these are for leisure reading, this is a reference book and my favorite at that.  I love this book and bring it every time I go to a national park.  It covers all the parks and tells you about hiking, camping, the best time to visit, what you can see and where.  A great book to go along with it that includes more hikes (but not on all the parks) is the Secrets of the National Parks book.

Finders Keepers

This is for all you archaeology fans out there.  Craig Childs takes us (mostly) to Southern Utah to learn about the looting of Anasazi relics, the debate on proper practice, and sales (legal and illegal) of artifacts around the world.  This is especially interesting if you’re familiar with southeast Utah and the Blanding area.  I blew through this one in two days.

438 Days

If you like survival books, this is a must-read.  Salvador Alvarenga, an El Salvadorean fisherman living in Mexico, sets out for a weekend fishing trip in the open Pacific on November 17, 2012.  On the first night, a violent storm ambushed them eighty miles offshore.  Fourteen months later, on January 30, 2014, Alvarenga washes ashore on a deserted island in the South Pacific, some 7,000 miles away.

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Dark Summit

Dark Summit is the story of the next deadliest season on Mount Everest (at the time, now it was April 25, 2015) when David Sharp lay dying near the summit of Mount Everest on May 15, 2006, while 40 climbers went right past him on their way to the summit.  A week later, Lincoln Hall was left for dead in the same area only to be found alive the next day after spending the night there with no food or shelter.  This is the story of a deadly season as well as an investigation into the dangerous climbing and risky expeditions.  I just read this and really enjoyed it.

Find more books about Mount Everest and the Himalayas in this post.

No Summit Out of Sight

Jordan Romero is actually the youngest person to summit Mount Everest at just 13 years, 10 months, and 10 days old.  And that was just the beginning.  By 15, he was the youngest person to reach the highest summits of all seven continents.  This memoir is the story of his journey, the idea of which was sparked at just nine years old, where we see all the hard work and training result in a dream come true.  I’m currently reading this and have really liked it!

Walking the Amazon

Ed Stafford, an experienced jungle expedition guide, decided to walk the length of the Amazon River, the first person ever to do that.  In April 2008, he set off with a friend and guide to cross the Andes into the Amazon.  Over the course of 860 days, walking companions come and go as part of his journey through Peru, Colombia, and Brazil.  He survived dangerous animals and people, injuries and weather, and his own fear and doubt.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run

Peter Allison is a safari guide in Botswana and this is a collection of tales from the Savannah.  Whether it’s tourists in hot pink instead of the recommended khaki or being asked to get charged by a lion again so it could be videotaped, Allison has a story for all.  The stories are full of humor, but also show his love and respect for the wildlife.

Life On Foot: A Walk Across America

Nate Damm decided to try something new and walk across America.  He stood looking at the Atlantic Ocean on February 26, 2011, before spending the next seven months on the road towards San Fransisco.  We meet a cast of quirky and endearing characters in this story full of blisters, heartbreak, small towns, and no less than one bear attack.

How Not to Travel The World

Lauren Juliff, one of my favorite travel bloggers, hit rock bottom years ago and decided to leave home to travel the world.  She was suffering from debilitating anxiety, an eating disorder, and just had her heartbroken.  She had also never eaten rice or been on a bus.  What better time to leave it all behind for bad luck on near-death experiences on the road.  Not only that, but she falls in love and tries new food with the whole world opened up to her now.

Nowhere Like Home

Jamie Alexander was nineteen when he took an impulse trip into the jungles of Kalimantan.  After his experience with the Krayan tribespeople, he decided to discover the truth of the world around him.  From Indonesia to Palestine and the Philippines to Nepal, he visits some of the most remote and volatile places possible.  It’s a story of global change with a quirky sense of humor.  This is one I read on a semi-regular basis.

What is your favorite travel book?  Which should I add to my TBR?