Best of the Travel Books

Travel Books & Movies, Travel Philosophy, Traveling Solo & Together — By on February 24, 2006 at 9:31 pm

Behind every great travel blogger are the great travel memoirs that inspired them. Here are a few of our favorites…shout outs to:

*MAIDEN VOYAGE, by Tania Aebe. She was an eighteen-year-old dropout and barfly, going nowhere until her father offered her a challenge. He would offer her either a college education or a twenty-six-foot sloop in which she had to sail around the world alone. She chose the boat and for two years it was her home, as she negotiated weather, illness, fear, and ultimately, a spiritual quest that brought her home to herself…(source:

*AVOIDING PRISON AND OTHER NOBLE VACATION GOALS, by Wendy Dale. Bored with her writer’s job (and the corporate cafeteria’s weekly specials) at Hughes Aircraft, Dale takes a vacation to see a friend living in Beirut. Hooked by the heady adrenaline rush of danger mixed with exotic people, she then goes to Cuba and Costa Rica. And though she finds a boyfriend at each stop, it’s when Dale visits a prison in Costa Rica that she falls in love with a Columbian man on the inside, and it will change her life.

*EAT PRAY LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Plagued with despair after a nasty divorce, Gilbert, in her early 30s, divides a year equally among three dissimilar countries, exploring her competing urges for earthly delights and divine transcendence. First, pleasure: savoring Italy’s buffet of delights-the world’s best pizza, free-flowing wine and dashing conversation partners-Gilbert consumes la dolce vita as spiritual succor. Then, prayer and ascetic rigor: seeking communion with the divine at a sacred ashram in India, Gilbert emulates the ways of yogis in grueling hours of meditation, struggling to still her churning mind. Finally, a balancing act in Bali, where Gilbert tries for equipoise “betwixt and between” realms, studies with a merry medicine man and plunges into a charged love affair.

Jilted by his fiancee mere days before the wedding and demoted at work, Wisner collared his brother, Kurt, a Seattle Realtor, to celebrate his Costa Rican nonhoneymoon. That experience, with the help of a Saab purchase in Sweden, grew into subsequent lengthy trips to Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Sandwiched between the chuckles are letters to their grandmother and short, pointed chapters on best trip advice–for instance, attend a professional soccer match to understand culture–and some good lessons in hustling (bid against yourself, pretend there’s a language barrier, among others).


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