10 Books to Fuel your Wanderlust

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There is creative reading
Photo Credit: Always Bë Cool
Books are an essential part of any journey. They keep us entertained on long bus rides, get our spirits up on rainy days and are always an interesting conversation topic when meeting travelers. Chichi and I always have a book on hand. And to keep things fresh, we exchange them for new ones at the town bookshop every few weeks or so.

After being inspired by this recent post, I asked some fellow travelers what kind of books they read to fuel their wanderlust. What titles and which authors remind them of carefree travel? I was surprised by their selection. Few of them I had read but most of them were obscure. And some, I would never have linked to travel- at all. But I trust these people's selection and will be scouting some used bookstores in Pai for these odd titles.

1 "A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East" by Tiziano Terzani

Told by a fortune teller not to travel by plane during the year 1993, the author embarks on a journey throughtout Asia, to Italy and back the old fashioned way - by car, train, boat, motorcycle and foot. This is by necessity a leisurely trip and along the way the author makes contact with many locals both high and low born, as well as visiting many other fortune tellers.

Favorite Quote:
Books to Fuel Your WanderlustEvery place is a goldmine. You have only to give yourself time, sit in a teahouse watching the passers-by, stand in a corner of the market, go for a haircut. You pick up a thread – a word, a meeting, a friend of a friend of someone you have just met – and soon the most insipid, most insignificant place becomes a mirror of the world, a window on life, a theatre of humanity.

Jodi Ettenberg

2 "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts

Books to Fuel Your WanderlustI was out of things to read while traveling India, so went to a book market. There wasn't a huge choice. At one stall I saw this badly printed book, and another about starting a business. The book I chose was Shantaram. At the time I had heard nothing about it, and didn't even realize it was based in India. The book is simply one of the best travel novels I've ever read. I carried it with me all the way through North India and into Nepal. From there I actually posted it to The Philippines!" The story of a convict who escaped Australia, flew to India and lived in the slums. From here he became a slum doctor, and joined the Indian mafia. 

Favorite Quote:
People always hurt us with their trust. The surest way to hurt someone you like, is to put all your trust in him.

The Longest Way Home Travel Blog

3 "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway 

This book is Ernest Hemingway's reminisce about his life in Paris in the 1920s and the literary figures he knew, such as Gertrude Stein, Ford Maddox Ford, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Favorite Quote:
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

4 "Vroom with a View" by Peter Moore

Books to Fuel Your Wanderlust
It was my first travel book, and the book's prologue was enough to convince me: that you can never be too old to go out and fulfill your dreams of riding a Vespa through Italy.

Favorite Quote:
'A journey that usually takes two hours will take two days on this Vespa,' he said. I had to stop myself from smiling. That was exactly what I wanted -- a bike that would force me to slow down and enjoy the countryside at an Italian pace of life. I wouldn't have any choice but to picnic beside fields of sunflowers or in the shadow of an abandoned farmhouse.

Nina Fuentes

5 "Dare to Journey with Henri Nouwen" by Charles Ringma

Books to Fuel Your WanderlustThis book is not actually a book about traveling (it's about spirituality) but I always bring this book when traveling. I bring this book because it helps me to reflect on the essentials of life and it digs my heart deep. Its a perfect companion especially during my solo camping trips where all I can see are the waves or the mountains. It helps me not only to journey outside but inside.

Journeying James

6 "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert

Books to Fuel Your WanderlustAs much as I'd really rather not admit this, this book inspired me to take a year off and travel was (I know. Shocker, right?) I first read the book about five years ago right before I moved to Japan to teach English at a university there. I can't say I totally loved the entire book, but I liked Gilbert's writing style and I definitely could relate to her desire to pick up and leave life behind. After three years of working and living in Japan, I was tired and burnt out and thought, "Hey, I should take a break for a while and do what that Eat, Pray, Love lady did!" My year off included a lot more eating than praying or loving (ahem, a little bit too much eating if you ask my pants). It also included a lot of people telling me, "Hey, you're like that Eat, Pray, Love lady!"


7 "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami

Seattle Coffee ShopI recently read this book, it's a writing and running memoir. It tells you about the beginning of Murakami's career as a struggling novelist. He had to make areal choice to say no to a lot of personal relationships so he could focus on his relationship with his readers. I can relate to this because this is what I've been doing. I couldn't do writing well if I were doing all the others things as well.

Favorite Quote:
I placed the high­est pri­or­ity on the sort of life that lets me focus on writ­ing, not asso­ci­at­ing with all the peo­ple around me. I felt that the indis­pens­able rela­tion­ship I build in my life was not with a spe­cific per­son, but with an unspec­i­fied num­ber of read­ers. As long as I got my day-to-day life set so that each work was an improve­ment over the last, then many of my read­ers would wel­come what­ever life I chose for myself. Shouldn’t this be my duty as a nov­el­ist, and my top pri­or­ity? 

Chris Guillebeau

8 “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

It’s an autobiographical story of vagabonds as they travel around the country. The central theme is about getting away and just living your life through travel. This was an idea I really came to embrace. The carefree adventures and unique experiences that the travelers went through inspired me to make my own. Several months after reading the book I hopped on a plane to see Southeast Asia. Weirdly enough, I randomly noticed a copy of “On the Road” when I was there and bought it. I thought it would only be fitting that one of my souvenirs be the very book that inspired me to travel there in the first place.

Favorite Quote: 
We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one noble function of the time, move.

Steve Bloom

9. "Under the Tuscan Sun" by Frances Mayes

Books to Fuel Your WanderlustI'll tell you a little secret: I read chick lit and romance novels. And here's another one: I love them! Of these books, I loved Frances' story more than any other. Frances shares how she got over a tough divorce by buying, restoring and living in an abandoned villa in Tuscany. She spends a whole summer working in her garden, getting to know her neighbors and even having a little love interest on the side. Frances made me see the joys of living in the Tuscan countryside. Most importantly, she made me realize that traveling can cure anything.

Favorite Quote:
"I had the urge to examine my life in another culture and move beyond what I knew."


10 "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss

Books to Fuel Your WanderlustI've always loved Dr. Seuss as a little girl. I was enthralled by The Cat in the Hat and Foona Lagoona-Baboona. These characters made me giggle to no end. But only when I was older did I read "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" It brought out the 6 year old me who was always curious and fascinated with the world. It seemed like Dr. Seuss was looking right at me reading the words just for me.

Favorite Quote:
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. 

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.


What about you? What books have inspired you to travel? Can you add to our list?
If you found this post helpful, you might want to Support the Sole Sisters While We're on the Road. If you have any questions about the Sole Sisters and our adventures, post on our Facebook Page and we will compile a massive Q&A post every end of the month.

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39 sole trails

  1.  I have SHANTARAM. It's a very lovely book. Defintely bringing this on my upcoming India trip. :)

  2.  "On The Road" - is the book I'll take with me when I set out on a long journey same as you two are doing right now. 

    I've read "A Moveable Feast" also and been very interested with that Murakami book - I'll try to get one soon.

  3.  I've a pic reading 'On The Road" sayang yun sana nilagay nyo lol

  4. No shame in listing Eat Pray Love. It's the hipster in all of us who wants to be too cool to give props to the popular kid. :) I enjoyed the book as well, a lot. It's easy to think that you'll do things later. But saving for later is probably the worst notion. It made me feel this incredible feeling that i was wasting my life away. 
     “Thinking that life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now” Stefan Sagmeister

    Also see the movie "American Dreamer." One of my favorites, and a similar theme.

  5. Thanks for including me (even if my suggestion was a little, err, predictable). Some great suggestions here! I brought along "Shantaram" to read while on a month-long backpacking trip in Thailand figuring it would take me the whole time -- it took me less than 2 weeks. Could NOT put it down!

  6. my fave is the compass by Kling and Ellis...

    soon abangan nyong lahat ang "My Sisters' Flippin' & Travelin' Soles" by Bacolod, Fernandez, Yasay and Cruz

  7.  Wow! India! I'm sure you will have the time of your life. I saw how thick this book is at a used bookstore on Khao San. But this is definitely on my reading list.

  8.  You and me Marky. I have to get a copy of that Murakami book as well. I read most of his fiction but I would love to read this memoir.

  9.  Sorry Marky. We'll include your selection on the next 20 books to fuel your wanderlust ;-)

  10.  I love that quote Meredith. It reminds me of the lyrics: you gotta live a little baby before you die. And yeah, I was a big fan of Eat Pray Love too before it became a worldwide phenomenon. I will watch that movie soon. I'm intrigued.

  11.  I love your book selection Sally. And the reasoning that came with it. Now I want to read Shantaram too. Even though I was also put off by how thick that book was.

  12.  I've never heard of that Ron. But I will keep an eye out for it. What a great title for a book! We have to write that!

  13. Thanks for including me! Enjoyed Shantaram for its great writing (though wasn't surprised to hear it strayed from pure autobiography) and often give people mini versions of The Places You'll Go - great going away present! :) Looking forward to the next instalment of this list.

  14.  Need to tick off a few of these books.  Yes, it is great to tote a book wherever our feet take us. Good list. Thanks and safe travels to you, girls. 

  15. wow! im so humbled to be included in this post, im with RTW travelers pala. nice nice post sole sisters! btw, i want to read that kerouac book, matagal-tagal ko ng hinahananp sa booksale,haha

  16. This list is great, thank you very much for sharing! :) 

  17.  I loved all the book selections including yours Jodi. I need to read that soon. Gotta go back to Chiang Mai and check out Gecko books. I can really see the dr. seuss book as a great gift as well. Esp for kids to show them what a great world we have to explore. There will definitely be another installment for this post!

  18.  Glad you liked this list! Hope it inspired you as much as it inspired us. Thanks and we wish you many happy adventures as well.

  19.  Yeah James, we asked a lot of people that we look up to for their book selection. And what an amazing list this was! Pareho pala tayong nag scout sa mga book sale!

  20.  Glad you liked it Kimberly! Thanks for dropping by!

  21. I adored A Fortune-teller Told Me, as well. Was very sad to hear Terzano died.

    Another interesting one is Nick Middleton's Kalashnikovs and Zombie Cucumbers (about travelling in Mozambique) and Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so many more :)

  22. I'm glad you were as inspired as we were Kimberly. Watch out for the next installment!

  23. I have to read that fortune teller book soon. I'm so intrigued. Those are great titles too Sophie. I've read the Potato Peel Pie Society too and absolutely adored it. I have to grab a copy of those Kalashnikovs and Cucumbers next...

  24. What a great idea for a post. I was inspired to sail the Pacific after reading Tania Aebi's book: Maiden Voyage. Books are powerful things!

  25. Wow! I checked out your blog and its fabulous! And your story is even more so. Thanks for adding to our list of books. We're sure to follow your watery adventures too.

  26. Great list! I love Pico Iyer's "Video Night in Kathmandu" - it's a collection of his essays from 'the not so far East'. They're mostly about quirks that he comes across in countries like China, the Philippines, India and Nepal - it's really fascinating.

    And Sarah Turnbull's "Almost French" made me want to up and move to Paris. But then, it's not difficult to make someone want to up and move to Paris ;)

  27. Thanks for adding to the list Megan! I'm lucky to have read both books. I love Pico Iyer's work. I actually found a copy of Video Night in Kathmandu in Chiang Mai last year. And it inspired to travel around SE Asia. Although the part about the Philippines was a bit of a downer ;-) And Almost French helped me in my journey when I was transitioning in Europe 2 years ago. Thanks for reminding me of these 2 books. They can surely fuel our wanderlust!

  28. Lois, thank you for suggesting Oh The Places You'll Go, by Dr Seuss. I had forgotten how brilliant it is - and how it resonates with my own journey! If only they told us that in school! lol...
    Having said that, the list is a good one - no shame, just truths xx

  29. Glad you liked my choice Cynthia. I love how silly it is but the message is deeply inspiring. Especially for people who have just started to travel. Hope you read more books to fuel your passion for travel. Thanks for taking time to leave us a note!

  30.  Very nice choice of reading materials here. Thanks for asking me to be apart of it. 

    Don't worry, Shantaram may be a big book, 900 or so pages, but as others have mentioned, you probably won't be able to put it down :) 

  31. Thanks for sharing Shantaram with us Dave. Will make sure I get to read that soon. Ive seen it in a few bookshops here in BKK...

  32. This is such a good selection.  There are ones I've heard of before and ones I haven't.  Now that I have more time to spare, I can dig in to some of these as I get ready for my next big trip to Ireland.

    I thought about using "In Cold Blood" for my choice.  I actually picked this one up from the library so I could read it on my long bus rides in Costa Rica.  Surprisingly, there are a couple of chapters where the killers travel through Central America and it details their journey.  I had no idea it did that when I picked it up so it was a funny coincidence.  But in the end I decided against it.

  33. I'm sure you enjoyed Costa Rica Steve. I want to visit there someday when we eventually plan a South American journey. I will look up Cold Blood. I also just realized many other great travel reads after finishing this post. Guess we just have to post 10 MORE Books to Fuel Your Wanderlust, soon.

  34. noted on this list though i rarely read a book while traveling.  i also recommend The Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux.

  35. yeah I know what you mean Dong. Sometimes I can hardly read when I'm constantly on the move. Thanks for your recommendation. I will be sure to check it out. I did see many interesting books from that author when I was at Gecko Books in Chiang Mai..

  36. For some reason, your posts show up just a few seconds and then disappears (Im viewing your site via my iPad) :(

    Definitely, Maybe

  37. Thanks for the recommendations! I will read them all (hahaha)!

    The last book I've read that kind of inspired me to be more adventurous was a 400+ page collection of National Geographic Adventure Magazine articles called "The New Age of Adventure." It's travel journalism at its finest (I think the situations these writers get themselves into account for most of the articles' appeal; one story's about a writer trekking with Siberian nomads, another's about hitchhiking across the Sahara, etc.) - perhaps you might want to check it out!

    Also, thanks to you both, as well, for inspiring people to travel!

  38. Love this list. Thanks for the recommendations! Safe travels ahead! 

  39. Nice list you have there. I love Hemingway especially his book The Sun Also Rises and Kerouac has had a huge influence on me as a traveler wannabe and as a teenager growing up (read: resisting conformity). Another book about travel that I love is John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley. The idea of driving across a country as big as the US just thrills me. Looking forward to the next list! :D


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