A little wanderlust never hurt nobody.
Whether you’re in the first stages of trip planning – choosing a destination, figuring out when and where to stay — or simply daydreaming of the countless places on your ever-growing “to visit” list, reading a book about a far off journey is the perfect way to garner some vacation inspiration. Books can also open cockpit doors to destinations you may have never even considered before.
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Here are 8 books to ignite your travel fever before vacay season is over.
1. “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World,” by Eric Weiner: An NPR correspondent, Weiner set off in search of happiness across the globe, making stops in some countries not usually associated with travel bliss like Qatar and Moldova (previously voted the world’s most unhappy place).
2. “Love with a Chance of Drowning,” by Torre DeRoche: This memoir is part travel log, part love story about the author’s real-life journey on a sailboat across the Pacific Ocean — a big deal for someone who’s terrified of deep water. Along the way, she details stops in the remote but breathtakingly beautiful Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia (somewhere between Peru and New Zealand), Tonga and the Cook Islands.
3. “Under the Tuscan Sun,” by Frances Mayes: Another true story, Mayes recounts her tale of how an Italian escape turned permanent. After her divorce was finalized, the author took a solo trip to Tuscany where she stumbled upon a villa in need of an owner and was drawn in by the warm people and gorgeous scenery.
4. “In a Sunburned Country,” by Bill Bryson: In the country that doubles as a continent, travel writer Bill Bryson documents his trek across Australia from east to west, detailing facts about the places he passes through while recounting all of the many things that try to kill him — sharks, crocodiles, snakes, spiders, you name it. The harsh desert is juxtaposed by the friendly native people in a way that will have you booking a trip Down Under faster than you can turn a page.
5. “Three Cups of Tea,” by Greg Mortensen: Mortensen climbed Pakistan’s infamous K2 Mountain and discovered a village rife with poverty and severely lacking in education. In 10 years, Mortensen built 50 schools in the area and wrote this book about the Pakistani people and the terrain that sheltered them from the world.
6. “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed: After the death of her mother, a heartbreaking breakup and struggle with substance abuse, author Cheryl Strayed sets off into the wilderness on the Pacific Crest Trail to prove to herself that she can survive. Along the path of rediscovering herself, Strayed experiences both the beauty of lush forests and ferocity of snow-packed cliffs.
7. “The Paris Wife,” by Ernest Hemingway: Hemingway’s mysterious first wife, Hadley Richardson, is given a voice in this story about a difficult love, jazz, glamour and a move to France. Set in the 1920’s, the book follows her life as a Parisian wife and companion to the celebrated author as he writes “The Sun Also Rises.”
8. “Little Princes,” by Conor Grennan: This is the incredible story about how the author, at just 29 years old, traveled to Nepal to volunteer at the Little Princes Children’s Home, what he and many other people believed to be an orphanage that took in children to protect them from the civil war-torn country. He quickly learned that it was a front for child trafficking and found himself in the middle of a terrifying reality. Grennan’s love letter to the country and its people is extraordinary.
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