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Reading for Wayfaring Souls: Transformative Travel Books

by | Dec 17, 2023 | HelloVacay, Inspiration | 0 comments

Do you have an adventurous explorer on your gift list this year? Transport them from the comfort of their armchair with these page-turning travel books guaranteed to spark serious wanderlust.

Ranging from nostalgic hippie-era trekking tales to philosophical reflections on what truly makes a journey meaningful, these transportive books cover the thrill and personal growth that comes from venturing beyond one’s boundaries.

Give the gift of new perspectives and possibilities this season with these top nomadic reads.

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

Blending philosophy and travelogue, Alain de Botton examines why we travel and how exotic locales often fail to live up to our imaginative ideals. He explores how journeying can lead to self-discovery, but the transformative essence of what we yearn for from new places frequently lies in how we choose to see home through fresh eyes.

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Book Review -“Wickedly funny … De Botton travels like the rest of us, but he brings with him the amazing erudition, crisp, lovely prose, and entertaining intellect that made How Proust Can Change Your Life and The Consolations of Philosophy such phenomenal successes.” —The Boston Globe

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

This popular guide from travel writer Rolf Potts reveals how ordinary people can temporarily reshape their life to pursue extended independent adventure and discovery across the world. Practical advice on budgeting, planning, working abroad and handling challenges allows readers to create their own journey of self-growth.

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Book Review – “Potts has synthesized more than six years’ worth of road experiences into an unusual travel guide that’s much more than a how-to manual for open-ended journeys. With wit, insight and flair, he has created an inspiring philosophical handbook about living life as an adventure. . . . Vagabonding is an inspiring read for anyone who has ever contemplated taking an extended break.”The Globe and Mail

Strange Bewildering Time by Mark Abley

Journalist Mark Abley nostalgically revisits his carefree 1970s backpacking trip from Turkey to Nepal, chronicling vibrant pockets of hippie culture shortly before political turmoil closed the overland route. Interweaving memoirs and reflections, he documents the region’s tensions on the brink of upheaval.

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Book Review – Gorgeous and lyrical … Strange Bewildering Time is … a meditation on the nature of memory, time and self-knowledge, as well as an account of a region on the brink of turmoil … There is poetry on every page.

― Montreal Review of Books

Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

When Torre DeRoche impetuously embarks on an Pacific sailing voyage with a new paramour, she must confront her terror of open water along with tests to her blossoming relationship. This entertaining memoir captures the soaring highs and crushing lows of passion at sea.

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Book Review – “The story of how DeRoche overcame her fears, her self-deprecating humour and her way with words would have been enough to make this a great story. The fact her Argentinian boyfriend combines the passion of a Latin lover with the grit and spirit of a Scandinavian seafarer makes this book a Hollywood dream come true.” Sydney Morning Herald

Travel to Transform: Awaken the Global Citizen in You and Thrive in the Modern World by Freeman Fung

Veteran wanderer Freeman Fung reveals how extended travel unlocks self-mastery, addressing a gap for guides focused beyond mere sightseeing. Interweaving memoir and self-help, he outlines an approach for leveraging immersive global experiences to catalyze richer purpose and potential in life beyond one's comfort zone.

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Book Review – “Freeman's book is as inspiring as his work on leading the conscious communities for Mindvalley. I love the way how Travel to Transform shows us global unity, traveling and transformational growth are all marvelously intertwined! Through personal stories derived from his own travels, Freeman shares all the critical lessons that are seldom taught in traditional education – guiding you into the development of the mindset of the new global citizen.”
—Eni Selfo, Head of Community at Mindvalley

From 1960s backpacker adventures to modern solo voyaging, these fascinating tales of trains, boats, camel caravans and open roads will ignite that fire in your favorite traveler’s bellies to embark on transformative journeys of their own.

May the wisdom and diverse perspectives found in these pages inspire readers to experience the call of the horizon.

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