Sometimes it’s not so easy to just pack a bag and leave for a new city or continent. Even seasoned travelers need to rest and recuperate from time on the road. And what better way is there to take a breather than to read about other folks’ adventures abroad?
Here are seven of my favorite books to fuel your wanderlust and keep your worldview fresh. Please feel free to add your travel lit picks in the comments!
1. Hunt for genius around the world
The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner
This book is great for anyone who
- is in a professional slump.
- is in a personal transformative period.
- loves history and wants to view it in a fresh light.
- wants to learn about some cool cities across the world in a different way.
I loved every ounce of Eric Weiner’s book. It’s not an easy, read-in-a-night book. It takes some time to sift through the layers of stories, but it’s so worth every page turn. I can’t recommend this book enough.
2. Continent hop into the unknown
The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure by Rachel Friedman
Published six years ago, this memoir is awesome for anyone looking to make a big change but afraid of the consequences. The author, Rachel Friedman, escapes from her current life and heads overseas, where adventure ensues. I’d be lying if I said the book wasn’t part of the inspiration for my similar move to Prague last year.
But seriously — buy a copy. It’s hilarious and relatable, and just all-around fun to read.
3. Take on a business venture overseas
Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson
It takes a ton of guts to change careers and start a new business on an entirely new continent. But that’s exactly what Craig Carlson managed to do. In this book, he takes the reader on his long journey to success and happiness operating American diners in Paris, hence the title.
It’s a story of dedication, passion, and proof of what gems can result from some seriously hard work….and good investors.
4. Adventure across the [entire!] globe
Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell
Albert Podell, a New York Times Bestseller, succinctly takes his readers across the world over the course of 50 years in 349 pages. He recalls natural disasters, animal attacks, conflicts across the globe, and checking off every country from his bucket list at the same time.
His life is the shining example of how I want to one day look back on mine. What an adventure!
5. Adjust to living abroad
At Least You’re in Tuscany: A Somewhat Disastrous Quest for the Sweet Life by Jennifer Criswell
In her hilarious memoir, Jennifer Criswell recalls her first year of living overseas in Montepulciano, Italy. It’s easy to daydream fantasies of thriving in a new city or country — but that rarely happens overnight. There’s always an adjustment period of assimilating to new cultures and expectations, and that’s exactly what this memoir delves into in great detail.
It’s fun, it’s relatable, and it should be a must-read for anyone contemplating a move to unfamiliar territory.
6. Take your skills to new levels
The Woman Who Fell from the Sky by Jennifer Steil
Jennifer Steil sure has some amazing stories to tell from her time teaching journalists in Yemen. This memoir was published back in 2010 when conflict was brewing but certainly different than the state of the country today. Nonetheless, it’s still a touching read of finding love, falling in love with her career again, and getting to know another culture in an immersive way. She is certainly one brave woman!
7. Discover passions and satisfaction
A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up by Linda Leaming
Linda Leaming’s memoir is a tale of culture shock and adjusting to a totally different way of life on the other side of the world. Over time, while teaching English in Bhutan, she has to reassess her personal habits, slow down her life significantly, and learn how to be comfortable with minimal belongings. It’s all about leaving impatience in the dust and learning to love the little moments of joy life offers us.
It’s a book we could all learn from, that’s for sure!