2018 Books Uncategorized

10 Books That Gave Me The Travel Bug

A large number of books I’ve been reading recently (especially in the last few years) have been about traveling. Who doesn’t love a good travel book – a story that introduces new places and takes you far away? I’m always curious about other people’s experiences; where they go, who they meet, what they learn.

Here are some of my favorite travel books I read in 2018. Some are fun adventures, while others are more serious and involve lots of soul searching. I enjoyed them all and would recommend these if you’re looking for books that will make you want to pack up your bags.


1. Graduates in Wonderland

Two friends graduate – one moves to Beijing and the other lives in NYC, eventually moving to Paris. They email back and forth about life abroad, falling in love, and post-graduate joys and struggles and it’s so fantastic and funny.

“I have to make a fool of myself daily to get anything done, including buying food and toiletries. Because of this, I’m losing my self-conscious shell, and it’s so freeing.” (THIS IS MY LIFE IN CHINA)


2. The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around The World

Three friends put quit their jobs in NYC for a one year trip around the world, each looking for something different.

“Floating there I held onto faith. Because you can’t know who might cross your path or who will take your breath away. You can’t know what friends might actually become sisters because they stayed by your side. You can’t know when there’ll be an unexpected detour that’ll take you to the place where you were always meant to be.”

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3. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I read this book right before I went to Ubud in Bali, Indonesia, which is where Elizabeth Gilbert was for the ‘love’ part of her book. I know this book has been talked about a lot in the past and is a bit overdone, but it’s still a great travel memoir and an interesting read.

“Still, despite all this, traveling is the great true love of my life… I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless, newborn baby–I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to–I just don’t care.”

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4. The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and A Life Changing Journey Around the World

Kim Dinan and her husband quit their jobs to travel the world – and before they leave their friends give them a yellow envelope containing money to give away. They’re given 3 rules for the envelope: Don’t overthink it; share your experiences; don’t feel pressured to give it all away.

“At the end of the day, the money itself is just paper. What gives the whole experience meaning are the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that come with giving the money away in ways that make you smile and make your heart sing.”
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5. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

A memoir by Kristin Newman, a TV show writer who’s written for shows like That 70s Show and How I Met Your Mother and in her time off took several trips to different countries. She’s funny and shows a nontraditional path that I love.

“When you travel, you’re forced to have new thoughts. “Is this alley safe?” “Is this the right bus?” “Was this meat ever a house pet?” It doesn’t even matter what the new thoughts are, it feels so good to just have some variety. And it’s a reboot for your brain. I can feel the neurons making new connections again with new problems to solve, clawing their way back to their nimbler, younger days.”

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6. The Alchemist

A novel by Paulo Coelho originally written in Portuguese then translated into more than 70 languages. It follows the story of a young shepherd boy searching for a treasure in Egypt but contains deeper meanings and is one of the most notable books that pops up when you search “travel books”.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – The Alchemist


7. Love With A Chance of Drowning

A memoir by Torre DeRoche, an Australian terrified of open water. After she falls in love with Ivan, an Argentinean who wants to sail across the Pacific, she agrees to join him on his adventure. It’s entertaining and light to read, but also a great story about facing your fears and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

I met an Argentinean when traveling and was convinced for two days this was going to happen to me too (spoiler alert, it didn’t).


8. Beautiful Ruins

A dying American actress lands on a little island in Italy in 1962, where she meets a local Italian fisherman…then the story picks up in present day on a movie set in L.A. While not exactly a travel memoir, it’s a fantastic and beautiful novel that I couldn’t stop reading (and made me want to revisit Italy).

“Then she smiled, and in that instant, if such a thing were possible, Pasquale fell in love, and he would remain in love for the rest of his life–not so much with the woman, whom he didn’t even know, but with the moment.”


9. The Geography of Bliss

From Iceland and Qatar to Switzerland and India, Eric Weiner investigates more than what happiness is, but where happiness is and why some places seem happier than others. Humorous and well-written, this book definitely makes you think about the root of happiness and how to find it.

“Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people: family and friends and neighbors and the woman you hardly notice who cleans your office. Happiness is not a noun or verb. It’s a conjunction. Connective tissue.”


10. The Opposite of Loneliness

A collection of stories and essays written by Marina Keegan that were published after she tragically died in a car accident shortly after graduating college. She has an amazing and thought-provoking writing style, with insight I didn’t expect from someone so young. Okay so this isn’t really a travel book, but I read this when traveling and felt pretty inspired by her opening essay.

“We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense… that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized…
“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
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Other Travel Books

These are just a few of my favorites from 2018, many of which I was reading before (and during) traveling in Singapore, Bali, and Vietnam. I know most of these I chose are written by female authors, mostly because these were stories I felt very connected with, inspired by, and drawn to. There are many more fantastic travel reads out there and I’d like to branch out more in the future – any recommendations?

travel books



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