I assume that if you’ve found your way here, it means you like to travel and maybe also that you like to write. To that end, I keep a stack of books on the corner of my desk to serve as inspiration for both writing and travel so I’ve read a handful of travel memoirs and writing how-to books in the last year. I also have a stack of books to still read, so I thought I’d write about my favorites here in case you’re looking for your own inspiration.
Books I’ve Read:
Ten Years a Nomad by Matt Kepnes: I know I’ve talked about Nomadic Matt a lot on here recently but I was so inspired by his book that I’m going to talk about it again. I’ve written that I could (probably) never be a nomad, but sometimes the idea sounds SO FUN. But I also kind of like a routine and leaving it every once in a while. Anyways, I am rambling but this book is super awesome and if you love traveling and have ever backpacked anywhere, I cannot recommend it enough.
Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott: This is a book that’s good for writing inspiration. Lamott tells you everything that she tells her writing classes in her books. My favorite tip that I got from her was to just write a small number of words – like 300-500 words. Just getting something out on paper will help you continue and get even more out on paper. She keeps a little blank 1×1 inch square framed on her desk and anytime she’s feeling writers back, she tells herself she just has to write enough to fill that square. (To be honest, it’s how I started when I started writing this post and hey, I’m 300 words in!)
The Lost Continent, by Bill Bryson: After my dad bought me Bill Bryson’s book about Shakespeare in 2007, I fell down a literary k-hole of sorts reading all of his books. This book about what’s located in between the east and west coasts of the USA validated my assumption of what there was to see: 99% nothing. Bryson is such a witty, sardonic writer that it’s hard not to laugh your way through this book. I think I may need to re-read it again sometime soon.
Neither Here, Nor There, by Bill Bryson: This is another book that I read in probably 2008 or 2009 and it’s one that I also need to re-read again soon. In this one, Bryson visits the far reaches of Europe that’s usually not visited by tourists, or anyone at all. I most distinctly remember him in the book visiting the most northern town in Norway. I don’t know why I remember that but there you go. Perhaps this is why I like visiting
The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman: I wrote about Friendman’s very enveloping and heartwarming memoir back when I read it last spring but it’s still in the back of my mind just the same. If I didn’t have a mortgage and furmonsters, I could quite possibly get on the train of the people who live that ‘come home until you make enough money to leave again’ kind of life. I’m a free spirit but I don’t know if I’m that free of a spirit. But I love this book probably because I relate to Rachel so much.
The Lady in Gold, by Anne-Marie O’Connor: I wish so much that I had read this book before I traveled to Vienna in 2018. There are so many corners and spots that I could’ve had such a deeper respect for because of what had occurred in those places, instead of just walking by and taking a photo. This is about one Viennese American’s battle against the Austrian government to get her aunt’s painting back after it was seized by the Nazi’s when they invaded during World War II.
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser: I read this one years ago and although I don’t remember a lot of it, I remember really liking it and wanting to take the author’s class at the New School. I should probably re-read it!
The #TBR List:
On Writing, by Stephen King: This one on my #TBR (To Be Read) list! My parents gave it to me for the holidays and who better to learn about writing from than Stephen King? I know some people say his endings suck, and to be honest, I’ve never read one of his books because they’re all pretty frightening, but I know he’s a genius, so why not learn from the best?
Graduates in Wonderland by Jessica Pan & Rachel Kapelke-Dale: This is also on my #TBR list. I read Jessica Pan’s most recent book I’m Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come earlier this year and I enjoyed it a lot. I almost put it on this list because she’s an ex-pat living in London and who doesn’t love reading about someone’s life in another country? I digress: After college, she moved to Asia and spent a bunch of time there as an on-air correspondent and writer. I’m looking forward to diving into this one.
The Best American Travel Writing 2011, edited by Sloane Croasley: I haven’t read this one all the way through but every time I need some inspiration, I pick this up and read a beautifully written full-length essay by a writer who traveled somewhere and felt inspired enough to write about it. If I could copy the authors in this book, I’d be golden.
It is my hope these books will inspire you if you’re currently looking for travel inspiration or you’re experiencing writer’s block.