There’s nothing better than a good book to pass the time while traveling. Whether you’re hammock-bound in Mexico, stuck in transit in Singapore or on a train in Europe, this travel book list will keep you entertained,educate you and change your life. I never leave home without at least one book and consider reading material a necessity for even the shortest trip or the lightest pack. Plus, you can always trade a good book for another good book Alchemist-style.
Here are My Reads for the Road:
The Only Guidebook You Really Need –
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
“Vagabonding is about refusing to exile travel to another, seemingly more appropriate, time in your life. Vagabonding is about taking control of your circumstances instead of passively waiting for them to decide your fate.” If you are engaged in or thinking about some long term traveling, this is your book. It is chock full of resources for the long-term, lifestyle traveller and opens with a manifesto to living with less and being the master of your circumstances.
The Life Changer –
The Fear Project by Jaimal Yogis
Even if you don’t surf, you will love this book’s techniques for overcoming fear. Fear of heights, fear of dating, fear of basically anything can be explained in terms of neuroscience and dealt with practically. If you do like surfing, you’ll love this book even more. Amongst an in depth analysis of your brain on fear, Yogis trains mentally and physically to surf the big wave spot Mavericks and actually catches some bombs. As a surfer and a human who deals with fear, I can honestly say this book changed my life!
For the Science Nerd –
Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols
Ever wonder why we are all so attracted to water? Why do people pay top dollar for waterfront properties, fantasize about water related vacations and feel happier when they look at paintings of water? Is it all a coincidence? Author Wallace J. Nichols thinks not. In Blue Mind, he explains our transformative connection to water in terms of neuroscience, evolutionary biology and medical research. Find out how water has affected you profoundly and how your connection can improve your life.
4. For the Hardcore Surfer –
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
Barbarian Days follows the author as he chases waves around the world from Hawaii to Fiji to Australia and Portugal. He divulges in depth knowledge about some of the world’s most famous waves like Cloudbreak, Kirra and Nazare. This is an old school adventure story written by an astute New York-based author that will leave you getting your ducks and passports in a row for your next surf trip.
The Most Epic Story –
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Don’t be put off by the thickness of this book. Take Shantaram one page at a time and watch a world of mystery, romance, far-flung locales and shady characters unfold before your eyes. If you’re going away for a long time and want one book to entertain you for the long haul, this is it. Better still if you are visiting India because that’s where this epic unfolds.
For Your Inner Philosopher –
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
This is yet another epic journey that takes place as a young shepherd named Santiago travels from Spain to the great pyramids of Egypt in search of a great treasure prophesied by an old gypsy. While this book is much shorter in length than Shantaram, it is packed with the same metaphors for the journey that is life and unexpected twists that will make it hard to put down. You can read this same story many times and learn something different each time.
The Metaphorical Mind-Bender –
Lost Horizon by James Hilton
I just loved this book from 1933 for its depiction of the origin of Shangri-La, a long-lost utopia found at a monastery high in the mountains of Tibet where monks enjoyed unheard of longevity, like living for over 200 years. Lost Horizon is a tale of a mission to a hidden valley paradise where men live in peace and harmony that provokes questions of the meaning of our existence.
For the Person Who Hates Reading –
Snowing in Bali by Kathryn Bonella
We all know someone who says they hate to read. My antidote to this problem is usually an action packed book about a dangerous topic. Snowing in Bali hits that mark as a tell of crime, corruption drugs and paradise. Kathryn Bonella has spent hard time to getting to know the underworld of Bali in her books including a profile of Bali’s most famous prison in Hotel Kerobokan. This book is a real page turner perfect for a hammock anywhere, but especially while visiting Indonesia.