9 books to awaken your wanderlust

There are some days when travel, and anything to do with it, seems like too much effort. The constant planning, saving and moving. It’s addictive, but it can be draining. Sometimes I lose all motivation. When this happens I like to make a cup of tea, get some snacks and sit back with a good book to awaken my wanderlust. Here are a few of my favourites.

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High Season: The Learnings of Mohammad Wang

by Chazzy Patel

Mohammed Wang lives an idyllic and relatively uneventful life. Lounging in the sun on one of Mexico’s premier beaches and drinking the night away has left him as the poster boy of carefree living. So it is all the more troubling when he learns a terrifying and alarming truth from his therapist and closest friends–he isn’t Mohammed Wang.

I love this book because it’s funny, intriguing and there are some very powerful passages in there that really relate to life as a traveller. I’m lucky enough to know Chazzy personally and it’s great to see so much of himself written into paper and ink.

Favourite quote: “That decision whether one should stay or leave is one of the most significant and painful decisions any of us ever has to make.”


by Cheryl Strayed

When you finish reading the last page of Wild, it’s hard not to want to immediately pack your bags, grab your boots and hit the road exploring somewhere new. In the memoir, Cheryl Strayed shares how her mother’s death leads to a downward spiral in her life – from ruining her marriage to forming an addiction that left her feeling hopeless. In Wild, you realize that the best way to find yourself is to first lose yourself. You’ll be picking up trail guides before you even put the book back on the shelf.

Favourite quote: “I didn’t know where I was going until I got there.”

Thank you to Erin Leigh Ever After for the recommendation, you can read her wonderful book review here.

An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington

by Karl Pilkington

Karl is not big on travelling. Given the choice, he’ll go on vacation to Devon or Wales or, if pushed, eat English food on a package tour of the Mediterranean. So what happened when he was convinced by Gervais and Merchant to go on an epic adventure to see the Seven Wonders of the World? Does travel truly broaden the mind?

If you haven’t seen the TV show, watch it right now. This companion book puts into words every hilarious thing that happens on his adventures to some of the world’s most popular travel destinations. I loved this book because it’s a refreshingly sarcastic outlook on travel, so we can learn not to take ourselves so seriously.

Favourite quote: “I always have a problem liking things I’m told I should like.”

The Long Hitch Home

by Jamie Maslin

As I was about to board my ferry to an art museum in Hobart I noticed a stand of books that instantly caught my eye because of the map. We got talking to the author, Jamie Maslin, who hitchhiked from Tasmania, Australia to London, UK. I had to buy this because it’s almost exactly the route I plan on doing this year, and I’m so glad I did. What an incredible journey, endless inspiration for the adventurous traveller!

The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

This is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world in search of a worldly treasure as fabulous as any ever found. From his home in Spain, he journeys to the markets of Tangiers, and from there into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him.

This is a book about following your dreams, and what better way to inspire your dreams of travel?

Favourite quote: “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

Eat Pray Love

by Elizabeth Gilbert

In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This is the story of how she left it all behind and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature.

It’s set across Italy (for the eating), India (for the praying) and Bali (for the love). If you’ve been to these places then you’ll find yourself longing to return. If you’ve never been before you’ll want to pack a bag and go right away to live out your own story. Who knows what could happen?

Favourite quote: “The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”

On The Road

by Jack Kerouac

This classic novel follows Kerouac’s years travelling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, roaming the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. I’ve always wanted to see more of America, and this book fuels that need even more.

Favourite quote: “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

Notes From A Small Island

by Bill Bryson

While it’s so difficult to pick just one Bill Bryson book, I really enjoyed Notes From A Small Island because England is my home and it’s fascinating to read about it from another’s point of view, especially someone as witty and clever as Bill Bryson. Some other books worth a read are Down Under (Australia), Neither Here Nor There (Europe), I’m A Stranger Here Myself (USA) and A Short History of Nearly Everything (not travel-related, but brilliant nonetheless).

Favourite quote: “The tearoom lady called me love. All the shop ladies called me love and most of the men called me mate. I hadn’t been here twelve hours and already they loved me.”

Full Circle

by Michael Palin

Another brilliant and well-known explorer, Michael Palin has undergone some incredible journeys that have been turned into TV shows and companion books to inspire you, but also to remind you that things can and will go wrong. Full Circle focuses on his trip to 18 countries along the Pacific Rim, also known as The Ring Of Fire. Another book of his I would recommend is Around The World in 80 Days, as he tackles the famous route of Phileas Fogg.

Favourite quote: “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”

I could add a hundred more to this list, and I might just do that one day, but for now, I hope I’ve given you some inspiration for your next read! From the brand new authors to the timeless classics, each one has something special to awaken your wanderlust.

I’ve also written a list of songs and movies to help inspire your travels.

If there’s anything you would like to see on this list, leave it in the comments below, bonus points for adding your favourite inspirational quote.

Happy reading!

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