5 Books You Should Read to Inspire you to Travel in 2012

Fact: books are awesome.

They can inspire, transport and teach. More often than not, I read books about that feature new places different from where I live. It’s the perfect way to expand a vacation inspiration list, or the deciding factor for the next vacation.

The start of a new year always brings about resolutions: read more, travel more, do something interesting or exotic. Why not combine a few resolutions?

Here are a few of my favorite books that have inspired me to travel, hopefully, they will do the same for you.

Travel as a Political Act - Rick Steves

Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves

Who knew Rick Steves was is a guy who gets naked in German spas and is a huge supporter of the legalization of marijuana? We all know about the Rick Steves on PBS, but his real travel tips? Enter Travel as a Political Act. Set up as a collection of stories focused on a few different countries, Steves not only encourages, but challenges the American traveler to become a greater citizen of the world, push aside the tourist areas and really learn and experience with the locals. He couples descriptions of countries with a greater world view on the cultural and personal impacts of history, religion, government policy and wars.(Kindle Edition).

Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air started a summer’s obsession with all things Mount Everest. While I have no desire to climb it, seeing Everest, from the safety of base camp, is one thing I am determined to do. What started as a simple magazine assignment for Outside Magazine (also from the safety of base camp), Krakauer decides to join the teams making the summit and weaves the story from there. Half fascinating, half harrowing, it is a story that is hard to either forget or put down. (Kindle Edition).

West with the Night - Beryl Markham

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

Beryl Markham lived one hell of a life. Growing up in a British controlled part of Africa (present day Kenya) in the early 1900s, Markham describes the beauty of the African landcape, joining in on hunts with her Masai neighbors, and learning the secrets of the bush. I’ve always wanted to visit Africa, but her writing clearly conveys how much she adored the lands where she grew up. Fast forward to her adult life, where in the 1920-30s she was one of the very few, female pilots in all of Africa, transporting goods, medicine and other supplies across the continent. Markham tells a great story of adventure, Africa and feminism, all of which combine for a great read.

Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, … Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside) by L.M. Montgomery

In my teens, I voraciously read all of the Anne of Green Gables series (as well as they Disney Channel show), and fell in love with Prince Edward Island. Still after having read the books the best part of 20 years ago (yikes!), my mom, sister and I talk about heading north of the border to see this beautiful little island. PEI, I always thought, was another character in the series, as it defined the culture, lifestyle and ethics of Anne, Marilla and Matthew.

Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

As an admitted Anglophile and a massive fan of anything Bill Bryson, this book was a no brainer for me. An American who has lived more than 20 years in Great Britian, Bryson travels all over England, Wales and Scotland stopping in small towns and speaking with local people all in a way to capture that British spirit. Bryson generally provides laugh out loud type stories and antidotes along his travels, tossed in with a bit of disguised history and facts. A great, quick read that will have you packing your bags for the English countryside by the end of the book.

Hardly a comprehensive list, but I’m always looking for any book recommendations to feed my travel bug until I build up my vacation time. If you have any great books that make you want to travel, be sure to leave them below!

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  • When I was a kid I loved Anne of Green Gables, both the book and movie. I went to PEI a few years ago, but I made the mistake of going before the tourism season began, so the Anne of Green Gables house was closed. Still PEI was really pretty, definitely a place I’d go back to again.

  • Liz

    I’d have to say it might be one of the few tourist traps I look forward to going to!