Reading is the hobby that I love the most and I find it to be especially rewarding when I travel. Something about being on an adventure while also reading about someone else’s time aboard really makes the experience of being out in the world that much more special. Here are some of my favorite books that are both entertaining, inspiring, and heart wrenching.
Into the Wild
After graduating from college, Christopher McCandless, the son of wealthy parents decides to give his savings to charity, get rid of all his possessions, and leave on a journey through the Alaskan wilderness.
A Walk in the Woods
British travel writer Bill Bryon hikes over two thousand miles of along the Appalachian Trail after years of living in Britain. He brings along a friend who makes his time walking more difficult and a lot more entertaining.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
Published in 2004, this travelogue by author J. Maarten Troost describing the two years he and his girlfriend spent living on the Tarawa atoll in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati.
Written by The Alchemist Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, The Alchemistfollows the journey of a boy named Santiago who believes a recurring dream to be prophetic and asks a fortune teller about its meaning. The woman interprets the dream as a prophecy telling the boy that he will discover a treasure at the Egyptian pyramids.
The Motorcycle Diaries
The story of Ernesto "Che" Guevara travels with his friend from Brazil to Peru by motorcycle. Before his last semester of medical school, Guevara and his friend witness great disparities in South America, encountering poor peasants and observing the exploitation of labor by wealthy industrialists.
Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea is a book by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin describing Mortenson's transition from a registered nurse and mountain-climber to a humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and elevating education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Life of Pi
A fictional story by Yann Martel, a young boy named Pi finds himself with a Bengal Tiger on a lifeboat after a terrible storm sinks a ship taking his family from India to Canada.
Wine to Water
Doc Hendley, the founder of the non-profit organization Wine to Water, wanted to do more with his life than just bartend, so he traveled to Sudan where he learned about the world’s water crisis.
Mountains Beyond Mountains
Mountains Beyond Mountains is a biographical work by writer Tracy Kidder that tells the life story of physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer, the founder of the organization Partners in Health, with particular focus on his work fighting tuberculosis in Haiti, Peru and Russia.
Tales Cuba: True Stories
38 essays by Western ex-pats, Cuban exiles and travelers of all stripes this book paints a beauty picture of Cuba from many different perspectives.
Written by Ian Thomson, this is one of the best books on travel, and Haiti, that I have read. In the land of Vodou, zombies and the Tontons Macoute, Thomson gets to know the locals personally as shows off this amazing country like no other.
Author Patrick Dewitt writes this fictional novel about a wealthy widow and her adult son who flee New York for Paris in the wake of scandal and financial disintegration.