If you’re looking for travel inspiration and are able to get in a few trips this summer, then all you need is a good book, a free Sunday and coffee/tea/beverage of your choice to immerse yourself into the stories and culture of travel (right from your living room).
While the whole world is beautiful and ready to explore, sometimes it’s overwhelming to decide where to go. So, today, we’ve compiled a list of a U.S. based travel books that you can dig into. And America is a big place! There’s so much to see!
Ready to get inspired and excited about new adventures within the United States?
Here are 4 books that’ll make you want to pack your bags and head off to the airport.
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed takes on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is one of America’s longest and toughest trails, with no experience or training. At the age of 26, Cheryl not only sets off for a physical challenge but a mental one as she digs deep to find herself, heal from her mother’s death and a failed marriage, and drug use.
Cheryl walked over a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State, alone, with her own thoughts and a heavy backpack. It gave her time to process and think, which lead her to heal her inner wounds. Along the way, she was reminded of the beauty of life and the kindness of strangers. She tells her story with warmth and humor while keeping her readers on the edge of their seats.
Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer writes about Christopher McCandless (true story) and Chris’s journey after college graduation. He donates his entire savings ($25,000) to charity, abandons most of his possessions (including his car) and travels across the United States to create a new life for himself with deeper meaning. Christopher even changed his name to Alexander Supertramp for a fresh start. He hitchhiked his way across the country for 2 years and ended up in Alaska, where he, unfortunately, died due to eating seeds from a toxic plant. He died at age 24 inside an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness. While this is a sad ending, the story itself is inspirational for travel addicts who seek meaning, adventure and passion.
Travels with Charley in Search of America, John Steinbeck
This nonfiction book reads like a novel as John Steinbeck (famous American author known for stories such as “Of Mice and Men”) embarked on a journey across America, accompanied by his French poodle named Charley in the early 1960s, visiting almost forty states at the age of 58. The journey is traveled through interstates and country roads with a three-quarter-ton truck named Rocinante. He dines with truckers, experiences wildlife at Yellowstone, and reflects on the American life while experiencing unexpected kindness from strangers.
The book is written in a charming and fun tone, and will hit home for any wanderlust as John recaptures his familiarity with America as he goes through raw and challenging moments. This is an American classic that not only showcases the beauty of a cross-country road trip but fearlessness, adventure, open-mindedness, history, and culture.
On The Road, By Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac wrote this fictionalized booked based on his own journey with his friend Neal Cassady, who, together made an epic trip across America and Mexico in the 1940s by hitchhiking and train-hopping, capturing the culture of the late 20th century. The story detail encounters of drugs (including substance abuse), alcohol, and sex living in a post-WWII world. There’s also diving into jazz, poetry, friendships, and diverse American culture.
It’s very clear that Jack Kerouac was a true nomad within The Beat Generation. You won’t want to put this book down once you start this semi-autobiographical story of Sal Paradise (based on Jack Kerouac himself)!
Grab one of these books and start your summer reading and get inspired to plan your next trip. Or better yet, read it while you’re ON vacay. Plan a day when you’re chilling by the pool getting some sun and relaxing. There are SO many ways to experience culture without leaving the states, and, sometimes, without leaving your living room!
What are your fave travel books? Share them in the comments with us!