This post was originally published on Medium in January.
From travel guides to memoirs, there are a ton of travel books out there to choose from if you want to go far without leaving the comfort of your bed. I’ve always been fascinated with travel and hearing about new places, but unfortunately I’ve barely managed to scratch the surface of all the great travel writing out there.
Some of the books that I most want to read are ones that have been out for years and are even considered classics. And yet somehow, I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. In my quest to read more this year, I’m going to make an effort to read some of the travel books that have been hanging out on my “To Be Read” list for the longest.
Right now, these are the top three travel books that I want to read:
The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson
I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for years, the Half Price Books price sticker still stuck to the front ($7.49 for the paperback). Bill Bryson is a popular writer whose work includes several books of travel writing, and he is an author I have been meaning to get into for a while.
Published in 1989 The Lost Continent tells the tale of his time spent driving around 38 states in the U.S after spending ten years living in England. He soon starts to realize that the country does not appear to be what it once was when he lived in America as a child.
Flipping through the book today, I see that the opening line is, “I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to.” I feel like I’m going to to enjoy this one.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love is the wildly popular memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert that tells of a trip she took to India, Italy, and Indonesia after going through a divorce in her thirties. This is another book that I picked up some time ago at a used book sale (I don’t usually like movie tie-in book covers, but I have the one with Julia Roberts on it, probably because it was cheap.) but have neglected to read.
Despite its popularity, this book is not without its critics. Still, since it’s so popular and seems like such a travel memoir classic, I’m going to give it a shot and wait until I read it for myself to pass judgment.
A Journey of One’s Own: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler by Thalia Zepatos
Unlike the other two books on this list, I don’t own this one. I think I first heard about it a few years ago, but I don’t remember how. All I know is that it’s been on my radar for a while but for some reason I haven’t gotten around to picking up a copy or reading it yet.
A Journey of One’s Own includes stories from Zepatos as well as other women on what it’s like to travel as a woman. It has personal accounts as well as practical information, such as how to deal with harassment or take care of your health. As a woman who has traveled alone in the past and plans to do so again in the future, I am always on the lookout for stories and advice by women who have also traveled alone.
What are some of your favorite travel-related books?