I don’t know about you, but the travel bug has been very fierce for me lately. The phrase “you only want what you cannot have” is more true than I’m happy to admit. I’ll be spending most of my summer at home, with the occasional adventure up north to the neighboring state of Maine. One way I have been coping with my stay-cation summer so far has been reading as many travel memoirs my Kindle can find and download. When mentioning travel memoirs, many people automatically think of Eat Pray Love by Liz Gilbert, or other well-known travel authors, such as Bill Bryson and Jack Kerouac. And while those authors are great, there are plenty of additional authors out there with quirky travel stories waiting to be told! So if you’re like me and looking for an escape, here are some of my recommendations and books I will be reading this summer!
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed was 26 years old when her mother passed away, her marriage crumbled, and she overdosed on drugs. But instead of going into rehab or getting counseling, she hiked 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. She trekked through knee-deep snow and ran out of water in the sweltering deserts, faced grizzly bears and unwanted advances, broke down, got lost and despaired. A similar self-journey style memoir to Eat Pray Love, Cheryl found herself despite these challenging times as well as challenged herself to do the unthinkable. It was hard for me not to feel inspired to do something similar someday!
Tuk-Tuk for Two by Adam Fletcher
At first, I was a little skeptical of Adam Fletcher’s writing style, having read his previous travel memoirs Don’t Go There and Don’t Come Back. In my humble opinion, those books were OK. A British pessimist finds his way around the world through “off the beaten path” countries and dark tourism. However, his third memoir Tuk-Tuk for Two was the most entertaining of his books yet! Having met his tuk-tuk partner, Evelyn only a few days prior in a bar in Germany, Adam travels halfway across the world to participate in a 10 day tuk-tuk race across India. Together they brave driving the chaotic streets of India on 3 wheels, while overcoming their fear of driving. The book is a lighthearted read and a fun, quirky ride.
Sola: One Woman’s Journey Alone Across South America by Amy Field
Author Amy Field plunges into a new life, spending two and a half years on a journey across Central and South America. From moon deities to miners, surfing to solitude, Amy finds herself on various adventures throughout the jungle, coast, hikes to Inca ruins and Patagonian glaciers. Throughout her adventures, she meets many interesting people along the way and experiences the kindness of strangers.
Ubuntu: One Woman’s Motorcycle Odyssey Across Africa by Heather Ellis
Another memoir of girl power! At 28, Heather Ellis decides to ride a motorcycle across the African continent. Her adventures take her from Mount Kilimanjaro to the deserts of northern Kenya, to South Africa. She befriends armed bandits, is rescued by a Turkana fisherman, and finds herself on a floating village on the Zaire River. It’s hard not to feel inspired from this journey!
Not Tonight Josephine by George Mahood
Deciding to take some time post-college for an adventure, two Brits, George and Mark, buy a cheap van in New York to drive through small town America. These two have plenty of mishaps along the way, including run-ins with the police, dwindling finances, and car troubles with their van they charmingly name Josephine. Mahood’s writing is lighthearted, comical and positive despite these mishaps!
Travels with Rachel: In Search of South America by George Mahood
Another fun travel story by George Mahood, him and his new wife, Rachel take a belated honeymoon, backpacking for six weeks throughout Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Far from a cushy and glamorous vacation, George and Rachel leave their western world comfort behind by riding several hours through the jungle in a “milk” truck, fishing for piranhas, and eating bizarre cuisine, including cuy (guinea pig). It’s a rare find for me to find a book where I actually laugh out loud.
Will you be reading more this summer? What’s on your summer reading list?