MY FAVORITE TRAVEL BOOKS
Currently the world is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. We are told to stay in our homes, practice social distancing, and take all precautions against passing this virus around. Travel has been put on hold, and trips are being cancelled. It is a tough time, but we will get through this, and I hope when it is all over… we come out more appreciative of our lives, our families, our friends, and our ability to travel.
With that being said, I have noticed that I have more free time on my hands since I no longer have my daily commute to deal with. Which means, I’ve had time to read… something that was a luxury during my normal routine and was usually saved for vacations or audiobooks on my commute. Now I have the time to lay down with a book and get lost in the location, and befriend the characters I read about.
I find that books have the ability to transport you, and I wanted to share some of my favorite travel books with you, in hopes of providing you with the feeling of traveling from home.
Outlander Series (Diana Gabaldon)
(Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, Fiery Cross, Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, Written in My Own Hearts Blood)
My Outlander infatuation began with watching Outlander on Starz. I was late to the Outlander craze, as I began watching in 2019 while on my lunch hour, not knowing what I was about to get myself into. Since watching the first four series (twice), I began to listen to the audiobooks during my work commute. I am absolutely captivated by Jamie and Claire’s love story and whether you watch the series, read the books, or listen to the audiobooks… you will not be disappointed.
Men in Kilts (Katie Macalister)
“At a mystery conference in Manchester, Katie Williams makes her move on a burly Scotsman…and winds up falling in love before the night is over…” (Amazon).
If you ever wanted to know where my obsession with Scotland stemmed from… here it is. I am a sucker for a love story, and this book with characters, Kathie Williams and Ian MacLaren transported me to Scotland where ever since, I dreamed of seeing the Scottish Highlands for myself. 14 years later, I made that dream a reality and let me tell you… it was worth the wait.
Paris Letters (Janice MacLeod)
“Exhausted and on the verge of burnout, Janice poses this questions to herself as she doodles on a notepad at her desk. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t as daunting as she expected. With a little math and a lot of determination, Janice cuts back, saves up, and buys herself two years of freedom in Europe” (Amazon).
Paris Letters is a book I picked up after I booked my first trip to Paris in 2019, and it quickly became my inspirational life guide. Janice teaches us that anything is possible, as long as you are determined to take steps towards the unknown. Not only does this book make you want to quit your day job and move to Paris, but it also makes you want to discover a hidden talent. Janet’s creation of the Paris Letters is not only something you get to read about, but you can actually receive the letters from her Etsy store! I have been receiving her Paris Letters and they are like monthly gifts full of Paris memories and beautiful artwork.
You can find Janice’s Etsy store here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JaniceMacLeodStudio
Under The Tuscan Sun (Frances Mayes)
“Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. In “Under the Tuscan Sun, she brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table” (Amazon).
Under the Tuscan Sun is such a classic, and has been a source of inspiration for me to travel solo!
The Simple Wild: A Novel and Wild at Heart: A Novel (K.A. Tucker)
Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born (The Simple Wild, Amazon).
Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together (Wild at Heart, Amazon).
Both, The Simple Wild and Wild at Heart are such fun books that not only describe the beauty of Alaska, but also the romance between Calla and Jonah. I read through these books quickly, and they left me wanting more.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayed)
At age 26, following the death of her mother, divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, Cheryl Strayed found herself alone near the foot of the Pacific Crest Trail. Inexperienced, over-equipped, and desperate to reclaim her life. Wild, tracks Strayed’s personal journey on the PCT through California and Oregon, as she comes to terms with devastating loss and her unpredictable reactions to it. While readers looking for adventure or a naturalist’s perspective may be distracted by the emotional odyssey at the core of the story, Wild vividly describes the grueling life of the long-distance hiker, the ubiquitous perils of the PCT, and its peculiar community of wanderers. Others may find her unsympathetic–just one victim of her own questionable choices. But Strayed doesn’t want sympathy, and her confident prose stands on its own, deftly pulling both threads into a story that inhabits a unique riparian zone between wilderness tale and personal-redemption memoir (Jon Foro, Amazon)
Cheryl Strayed is the ultimate badass! She not only hikes the PTC but she also acknowledges her past and sheds the layers of pain and memories as she does the hike. The fact that she is doing it all on her own, especially since she was not an experienced hiker makes her even more inspiring.
Paris, Istanbul, Florence, New York:
Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude (Stephanie Rosenbloom)
A wise, passionate account of the pleasures of traveling solo. In our increasingly frantic daily lives, many people are genuinely fearful of the prospect of solitude, but time alone can be both rich and restorative, especially when travelling. Through on-the-ground reporting and recounting the experiences of artists, writers, and innovators who cherished solitude, Stephanie Rosenbloom considers how being alone as a traveller–and even in one’s own city–is conducive to becoming acutely aware of the sensual details of the world–patterns, textures, colors, tastes, sounds–in ways that are difficult to do in the company of others (Amazon)
I LOVE this book! I believe that anyone interested in solo travel should read it. Stephanie touches on so many important aspects of solo travel and provides her readers with vivid details of her own travels. I will never get tired of reading this book.
Italy, India, & Bali
Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert)
“In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.”
This is the book that inspired me to travel solo. Liz spoke to my soul when she traveled the world by herself to find passion, love, and peace. I can read this book over and over and it will always feel special to me.