Get a feeling of wanderlust with these inspiring books

Whether you love to jet set or are more of an armchair traveller, these books will inspire you to set off on a new journey whether it’s a far-off adventure or a journey of self-discovery.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Thirty-year-old Elizabeth Gilbert had everything she thought an educated woman was supposed to have: a husband, a house, a successful career. But when a divorce leaves her feeling depressed and confused, she embarks on a journey of self-exploration in an attempt to understand the true purpose of her life. Leaving her job and belongings behind, she sets off on a yearlong excursion to discover herself, travelling to three distinctly different places – Rome, India and Bali – to explore different elements of her own nature, from the art of pleasure to spirituality, in countries that traditionally do each very well. This critically acclaimed memoir is an emotional account of Elizabeth’s struggles and how her travels led to finding love in unexpected places.

The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C Corbett and Amanda Pressner

When friends Jen, Holly and Amanda find themselves on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, they decide to take it head on, quitting their high-pressure jobs and abandoning their boyfriends to embark on a yearlong trip around the world. Leaving behind everything familiar, the girls travel 60,000 miles to find a sense of direction and inspiration in their lives. This is the story of their journey across four continents where they explore new dimensions to their friendships as they share backpacks and beds and conquer new adventures together.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Considered a classic in travel literature, this 1975 travelogue is an account of author Paul Theroux’s four-month train journey to different parts of the world. Embarking on a grand continental tour from London’s Victoria Station to Tokyo Central and back, Paul’s journey sees him on board some of Asia’s most well known trains from he Orient Express and the Khyber Pass Local to the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur and the Trans-Siberian Railway. Filled with humour, adventure and excitement, the book is an ideal pick for both the adventurous at heart and the armchair traveller.

Down Under by Bill Bryson 

When you think of Australia, the iconic opera house, cuddly koalas and the ever-enthusiastic conservationist Steve Irwin probably spring to mind. But there’s much more to this expansive country, which doubles as a continent, as travel writer Bill Bryson discovers in Down Under, his 2001 ode to Oz. His factual yet funny account takes readers on an amusing ride through one of the world’s friendliest countries that has some of the hottest, driest weather and most poisonous creatures. Follow Bill’s excursions off the beaten track to discover more about its cheery people, safe cities and continuous sunshine.

Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks 

Consumed by his busy life, author Nicholas Sparks is caught up in his mundane routine. But when a colourful travel brochure arrives in the mail, he finds inspiration to travel around the world for three weeks with his elder brother, Micah, to mark being the only surviving members of their family. This candid memoir follows their trip around the world from Machu Picchu and Easter Island to Ayers Rock in Australia and the Indian subcontinent, as a story of loss, love and hope unfolds.

Seven Years in Tibet by Henrich Harrer 

Praised by The New York Times as one of the ‘grandest and most incredible stories’, this adventure classic in an autobiographical account of Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer’s experiences in Tibet as one of the first Europeans ever to enter the area. After escaping an internment camp in India during the Second World War, the author travels to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, with his friend Peter Aufschnaiter where they spend seven years of their lives. This is an in-depth account about their experience, Tibetan culture, religion, politics and people, and details how Harrer met the 14th Dalai Lama, an encounter that changed his life forever.

The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman  

Many of us have been conditioned to believe that decisions made on a whim seldom give fruitful results. This book is Rachel Friedman’s account about how a spontaneous decision changed her life for the better. After graduating college, a studious and cautious young Rachel decides to run away from impending life decisions and travel to Ireland, a place unknown to her. Along the way, she forms an unlikely friendship with a free-spirited adventurer who encourages her to embark on a yearlong voyage to three continents. The once-in-a-lifetime experience helps Rachel tap into her unrealised passion for travelling and adventure and teaches her to live in the moment.

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman 

From sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands to living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, this story follows 48-year-old Rita Golden Gelman, who gave up her sophisticated lifestyle to become a nomad in 1986. Here she shares extraordinary stories about observing orangutans in the Borneo rainforest and cooking with native women around the world. Rita’s personal accounts will inspire you to take the path less travelled, experience something new and cherish the simple things in life.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

Written in a captivating and humorous manner, Wild tells the story of Cheryl Strayed’s life-changing decision to hike thousands of miles on her own. Soon after the passing of her mother, Cheryl’s family disbands and her marriage dissolves. Four years later, feeling she has nothing left to lose, she makes the impulsive decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State, solo. This book beautifully captures a young woman’s voyage filled with pleasures and fears as she embarks on a powerful yet healing journey.

One Life to Ride: A Motorcycle Journey to the High Himalayas by Ajit Harisinghani 

See a different side to India with Ajit Harisinghani’s memoir about his motorcycle journey from Pune to Ladakh and Kargil. The author shares a unique story with captivating details as he journeys from humid and dusty plains to the Himalayan range, covered in snow even in June. Along the way, he shares old and new stories and introduces the reader to memorable characters from a holy-man cycling from Mumbai to Mecca to Sufi saints, con-men and homesick soldiers.

WORDS Ayesha Ghaffar

 

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