Everybody loves a good travel read, whether it is to cure boredom on the plane, read whilst relaxing on the beach or even for daydreaming on your daily commute. Below are my top nine non-cliche travel reads for your next trip (or daydream). And stay tuned for a downloadable wishlist of non-cliche travel reads for your next trip. Hint: there are a lot more than 9.
Humans of New York is an absolutely inspiring project thought up by Brandon Stanton, who in 2010 who decided to go out and photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street. What started out as a simple photography project became so much more as he started interviewing regular New Yorkers on the street about their daily lives. Now with millions of followers, the project has morphed from a blog to a book and more recently to a second book. The basis for HONY is something I wholeheartedly believe in, that everyone has a story to tell and all you have to do is ask. More recently, Brandon has begun travelling and interviewing people in different countries including Iran, Iraq and Uganda and the results are just fascinating. Who knows...maybe this will be the next collection.
I read this book a couple of years ago and I remember taking away from it a very important lesson: there can be both challenging and rewarding times whilst travelling but you can learn how to overcome the difficulties in the end. Karma Gone Bad is a brilliant memoir of Jenny's time in India with her expat husband, the struggles (oh the struggles!) and how by changing her attitude was able to accept a beautiful culture for what it is worth. This is one of my favourite non-cliche travel reads for the simple fact that it reflects a more realistic view of travel in that it is not always sunshine and rainbows (especially in monsoon season).
A whimsical, wanderlusty book about a psychiatrist called Hector who, unhappy in himself and his relationship with the lovely Clara, decides to take a trip around the world in search of what makes people truly happy. In his notebook, he keeps a list of observations from his journeys in Paris, Africa, China and the US. His findings about happiness are significant for us all as humans and travellers.
Okay, okay, so you may be thinking 'but Eat Pray Love is totally cliche!'. Well this is not Eat Pray Love, this is the more recent Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It, a collection of stories from all over the world and from people of all walks of life. These stories are a testament to what a life changing book Eat Pray Love was when it was first released and even years later. Some have been inspired to make changes in their lives for the better and for some this has meant travel. Travel to heal the soul and travel to start afresh.
At our work conference last year, Seb spoke about his experience and I remember feeling a strong urge to go out and buy a copy of his book 100 Things. After an acquaintance passed away, Seb decided life was way too short not to do the things that you dream to do and achieve so he set out writing a list of 100 things as a sort of bucket list. Some of the crazy things on his list include: marry a stranger in Vegas, visit a death row inmate, walk across a country and deliver a baby. This book follows his travels around the world ticking off things as he goes. #WhatsOnYourList
I remember reading this book in the lead up to my trip to Mexico in 2012 where I was to study for 6 months at a university in Guadalajara. Aside from the gorgeously bright cover, it was a very well written memoir about Lucy's time in Mexico City, the crazy ups and downs and how she overcame them. Ironically, the book was centred around her desire to escape the pressures of life after graduation. At a time in my life when I wasn't sure what I would do with a Spanish and International Relations degree, it certainly rang true for me.
Back in the day when I was obsessed with Lonely Planet books (you should see my bookshelf!) I was gifted this book for my birthday. I remember it being one of the first non-cliche travel reads I had the pleasure of reading and something that sparked my initial interest in travel writing and travelling in general. There are so many great tips in this book in addition to how to write about travel, such as how to do research, marketing yourself to publications and an extensive list of travel writing resources. It is a fantastic read if you are looking at getting your writing published or even starting your own travel blog.
I recently read this book on my flight home from Hawaii (not Paris) and it made me long to visit the romantic city again and pretend to be Parisian as best I could. This is one of my favourite non-cliche travel reads as it explores the ironic nature of the 'Parisienne' psyche. An fun, easy-to-read book with lists, pictures and tips for being a true Parisian.
For those budget travellers out there, this book will save you more money than it costs. If you haven't heard of Nomadic Matt, he runs a highly successful travel blog which you can check out here. This New York Times best-selling book details practical steps to travel the world on $50 a day, whether it is a family trip or solo adventure, to cheap South East Asia or soul-crushingly expensive London.
Whilst I prefer reading physical books for their smell and feel (call me crazy!), this is not always practical, especially on a longer trip overseas. This is why I also have a Kindle which can hold more books than I could possibly ever read on it. And the great thing is it is so small and easy to pack in your carry on. Alternatively, you can take one book away with you and just make a swap at a local book exchange wherever you happen to be. I know a lot of hostels and even airports have these nowadays.
Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be to be able to bring you valuable travel content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. All of these books are currently on my bookshelf and I have read each and every one. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to keep bringing you the content you love and inspire you to keep travelling. Thank you! :)
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