I have been called a “restless soul” several times throughout my life but I bet I have many a kindred spirit out there. There is just so much to see that I can barely contain my excitement in planning my next trip. What with all the Facebook posts from family and friends about their wonderful trips, I just have to go somewhere NOW!
My bank account laughs at my ambition. My calendar for next summer is idealistic at best and unrealistic at worst. Sure, I can play soccer in Vegas, travel to China with the girls, take a week-long vacation with Justin to DC and NYC, and still manage to hit up two Minnesota camping sites before September! Just let me calculate for expenses…tap, tap, tap…carry the nine…
So, I might need an extra job…or two. Sure, I’ll be absent from my family but I will see them more in the summer so it evens out, am I right? I mean, what could go wrong?
A Note of Warning About the Following List
You may develop an insatiable need for travel. You may find yourself making lists or dream boards or whole Pinterest boards dedicated to adventure. If you develop a rash, talk to your doctor.
Travel Memoir Books
The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan
Kim Dinan seems like an anxious, semi-neurotic person and so I immediately identified with her. In essence, she and her husband sell their home and all their stuff, quit their jobs, and book two flights: one for their first destination and one for their last. What happens in between is both frustrating and fun. When Kim tells her friend and former boss what she plans to do, she is given a yellow envelope full of $1,000 to give to people along her journey. There are some ground rules, however. Rule Number 1: don’t overthink it; Rule Number 2: Share your experiences; Rule Number 3: Don’t feel pressured to give it all away.
You can read more about Kim Dinan on her blog at So Many Places.
No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Clara Bensen
After Clara Bensen experiences a quarter-life crisis, she decides it’s time to put herself out there and so she creates a Match.com dating profile. Through this, she meets Jeff whom I can only describe as basic hipster university professor with a hygiene problem. After a few weeks of dating, he proposes they spend a month together traveling through eight countries with no baggage and only one outfit. Clara spends most of her time attempting to navigate their relationship in a simultaneous attempt to understand herself and her boundaries. If you don’t cheer for a happy ending, I don’t blame you but it’s a fun read nonetheless.
Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson
Robyn Davidson knows nothing about camels, or about riding them. That doesn’t stop her from moving to a remote village to learn about riding them, training them, and going off on a solo adventure through the great unknown. It’s not all kangaroos and koala bears however.
This book was also made into a film by the same name in 2014 but you really need to read some of Davidson’s work to appreciate her writer’s voice. Her writing is humorous, thoughtful, and engaging.
Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer
Lara Prior-Palmer just signed up for the grueling Mongolian Horse Derby and is determined to survive it with blind ambition. The most amazing part? She wins it to become both the youngest and the first female ever to win the race. Her humor and historical research as well as her ability not to take herself too seriously, endears her to the reader.
Adventure Planning Books
Unforgettable Journeys to Take Before You Die by Steve Watkins and Clare Jones
Watkins and Jones lay out some unconventional travel ideas. Have you ever thought of being part of a horse-drawn carriage caravan in Ireland or of following reindeer in Sweden? This book, which admittedly has some age to it, nevertheless throws some adventures at you that will make you the talk of the town.
Ultimate Book of Adventure: Life-Changing Excursions and Experiences Around the World by Scott McNeely
I have to appreciate McNeely’s categories. “Adventures of a Lifetime,” which lists anything from tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda to spending 10 days in space; “Adventures for Adrenaline Junkies,” which covers surfing volcanoes to defying Earth’s gravity; “Adventures for Oddballs,” where you can plan your Area 51 visit or my personal favorite which is “join a circus.” “Adventures for Mind, Body, and Spirit,” meanders into letting your mind go where your body cannot or perhaps getting baptized in India. Finally, there is “Adventure Kick-Start Guides” which covers smaller activities such as touring a market or bazaar and going island hopping.
The different trips are also ranked by their likelihood to kill you, their expense, fitness requirements, and brag factor.
So what books do you read to escape? What adventures of a lifetime have you yet to take?