Books have been an incredibly valuable source of knowledge for me throughout the years. At various junctures of my life, certain books have crossed my path that have helped shape and influence my thoughts on a number of themes ranging from travel to spirituality.
The following is a list of eleven travel classics that each had a profound effect:
- On the Road – One of my first sacred texts which struck me post-puberty like a fresh crop of zits. My wanderlust was fueled by reading about the travel adventures of Sal Paradise and probably impacted on my nomad life in later years.
- Oh, the places you’ll go! – I carried this little book of life lessons and inspiration while backpacking through Europe, busting it out in Beastie Boys-style rhyme on a Copenhagen train platform.
- Alone – When I hit a few existential speed bumps on one particular road trip, I bought and read Admiral Richard Byrd’s book about when he was stranded in Antarctica and had to deal with everything from cold to carbon monoxide poison to loneliness. Talk about perspective.
- Travels with Charley in Search of America – On that same road trip, I also read Steinbeck’s account of the author’s goals, at the ripe age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.
- Blue Highways – My mind willfully traveled down the same backroads as William Least Heat-Moon.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – A book which made me reflect on my own values and question the importance I attached to certain things in my life.
- The Alchemist – Coelho’s timeless classic demonstrated that the only requirement for achieving our dreams is the courage to embark on the quest.
- The Celestine Prophecy – A powerful book that explains interactions as confluences of energy, providing a framework for social interaction with others.
- Investment Biker – Advice on finance and foreign investment as Jim Rogers covers fifty-two countries by motorcycle is a great read.
- Travels with Herodotus – A chronicle of one foreign correspondents time beyond the Iron Curtain in the ‘50s and how his journey across continents and world view was shaped by the words of the famous Greek historiographer.
- The Innocents Abroad – One of the first travel books written about Europe and the Holy Land. Despite almost 150 years passing since its publication, it hasn’t lost its charm.
People subscribe to material of different densities – ancient scrolls, sacred texts or illustrations that resonate with their experience. These books, some less dense, have helped form my understanding of the world and my place in it.
What books have changed your life, either in how you see the world, or those that inspired you to travel?