It doesn’t take much for us to be inspired to travel. A book that transports you to places that fill you with awe will have you seeking a new destination to visit. Are you looking for a good book to inspire your next travel adventure?
These books have taken us around the world and beyond. We have explored new languages, studied art, embraced new cultures and dared to travel outside our comfort zones because of these stories that captivated our hearts.
I hope these books fill you with the same wanderlust that it did us:
Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead
This re-imagining of the Arthurian legend, beginning in the fictional Atlantis and traveling to the British Isles, with references to the fierce but dwindling Roman Empire the savage picts, and the beautifully adorned Celts, has inspired me multiple times over in my studies and travels of both Ireland and the United Kingdom, and eventually Rome as well. I have had the opportunity to study and visit ancient sites, such as Stonehenge, and appreciate how the art of that time period can still be seen today, especially in Ireland and in older structures in the United Kingdom. Stokes OShields
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Probably one of the first places I ever wanted to travel to was Paris, France, thanks to reading the Madeline books when I was younger. As a young girl, I remember loving the Madeline stories and even naming my dog after her beloved chocolate lab, Genevieve. The artwork in it especially inspired my love of Paris and made me want to study more of the French language and eventually I visited there.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
My mom gave me this book as she dropped me off at the Atlanta airport for my summer abroad in Tuscany. We had always loved the movie because of the beautiful cinematography. Mayes' descriptions of the Italian country side had captivated me for years. Under the Tuscan Sun was the perfect book for a long plane ride to Italy. Not that I wasn't already excited about the impending trip, but it made me even more eager to see and experience the beauty of Tuscany.
Eat, Pray, Love:One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia" by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book may be cliche, but the candid account of Elizabeth Gilbert's yearlong journey around the world is irresistibly candid! I have always found it to be an important reminder of the power of embracing local culture when travelling, but also of how we find ourselves when we travel. I have been to Italy and India is on my bucket list!
Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum was my favorite book as a child. I’ve probably read it 20 times. Even though Oz is a fictional place, it inspired me to want to travel. It was the first place that I can remember wishing I could visit. I imagined following my own yellow brick road embracing the friends I would make, marveling at the places I would visit, and discovering some hidden trait that laid dormant within my psyche.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Whenever I travel, a visit to the local Chinatown is always on my must to-do list. I seek out these vivid locations with brightly colored lanterns, massive hanging dragons and large signs with letters written in ancient Asian languages for photo ops. I shop for unique gifts that make me feel like I traveled to a faraway location on the other side of the world. And of course I eat, feasting on dim sum, ramen, Mongolian BBQ and rice dishes. Until I read The Joy Luck Club I hadn't thought much about the people that immigrated to the cities of San Francisco, New York, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and other major cities creating these ethnic enclaves.
Amy Tan takes us on a journey with four women, who immigrated to San Francisco from China and their American-born daughters. The story takes you back in time to each of their the villages unveiling the secrets and hardships that drove them to immigrate in the first place. So the next time you walk through the arches into a cities Chinatown think about the stories of the people who created this area of town. Gina Duncan
Books worth mentioning that have inspired other travel writers:
1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
American Shaolin by Matthew Polly
The Beach by Alex Garland
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Kindred by Octavia Butler
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
Vagabonding by Ralph Potts
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Written by Stokes O'Shields, Katy Matello and Gina Duncan