Empower Yourself! 25 Books to Inspire You to Travel in the New Year

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think January is a golden time to motivate you and choose your direction for the rest of the year. So, while I’ve done instructional posts for past years, this year instead of demands I figured I would give you some inspiration- in the form of an extensive reading list designed to get you psyched to put your travel dreams into action.

I have read every one of these books and personally recommend them.

Travel Memoirs

How Not to Travel the World- Lauren Juliff

If you’re read Lauren’s funny blog, than you are familiar with her crazy life and great writing. If not, settle in for a travel adventure that… doesn’t exactly go as planned.

The Lost Girls- Jennifer Bagget, Holly C Corbett and Amanda Pressner

Three best friends backpack across continents together and changer their lives. I read this book before I left on my round the world trip and it could not have made me more excited.

Love with a Chance to Drowning– Torie De Roche

Torie’s book might be the best written blogger turned memoirist story I’ve read. Read about how she, a water-phobic Australian expat, gave up everything to sail across the Pacific Ocean (love makes you crazy).

A Year Without Make-Up– Stephanie Yoder

How could I resist the urge to include my own little memoir? This slim book is about how I quit my job, traveled the world and met the man of my dreams- all without mascara.

Eat Pray Love– Elizabeth Gilbert

This classic is incredibly polarizing- people seem to either love it or hate it, but I’m firmly in the love camp. It’s the grand-daddy of modern travel memoirs and absolutely worth a read.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail– Cheryl Strayed

The movie was meh, but I fell head over heels for this hiking memoir- and I don’t even like to hike! Although Cheryl in the book isn’t much of an aspirational figure, Cheryl the writer is incredible.

A Cooks Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal– Anthony Bourdain

This is basically No Reservations in written form and it’s a pretty inspiring read for people who love food.

Lifestyle Design and Working Abroad

The Art of Non-Conformity- Chris Guillebeau

This is the perfect punch of inspiration for people who are waffling about quitting their jobs and leading a more unconventional life.

The 4-Hour Workweek- Timothy Ferris

I’m going to go on the record as saying that I think the 4-hour workweek method is basically baloney. It can’t be done. Nonetheless I still think this book is worth reading as a primer on lifestyle design and thinking outside the box.

Hammocks and Hard Drives: The Tech Guide for Digital Nomads- Dave Dean

If you are planning to work while you travel, then your have a lot to consider before you leave. This is a great guide for the challenges you might encounter working on the road.

Travel Writing 2.0: Earning Money From Your Travels in the New Media Landscape– Tim Leffel

While I certainly don’t recommend travel writing or blogging for everyone, this is a great guide to getting started.


Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel– Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts is one of the biggest names in modern travel writing, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about. All of his writing is good, but this guide to extended travel is a must-read for anyone planning a long trip.

How To Travel the World for $50 a Day– Matt Kepnes

My buddy Matt runs one of the most successful and long-standingbudget travel blogs out there, Nomadic Matt.

The Food Traveler’s Handbook– Jodi Ettenberg

I’ve eaten with Jodi and I can tell you- nobody knows food better than Jodi. This is a great guide for eating safely, and deliciously, around the world.

The World’s Cheapest Destinations: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune- Tim Leffel

This is the fourth edition of this guide to all the cheapest places to live and travel around the world.

How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World– Dalene and Pete Heck

Housesitting is an ideal way to live all over the world rent free. This is a great primer to get you started.

How to Shit Around the World: The Art of Staying Clean and Healthy While Traveling– Jane Wilson-Howarth

Here is your bible for staying healthy while you travel the world.


Travels with Charley– John Steinbeck

One of my favorite travel memoirs by one of my favorite authors. Steinbeck drove across the US with only his standard poodle for company. Here is what he found.

A Moveable Feast (Or pretty much anything)- Ernest Hemingway

Look: basically any of Hemingway’s Europe based books, novel or memoir, are more travelogue than anything else. The Sun Also Rises, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls. They are all beautiful.

Into the Wild– John Krakauer

Some might call this book inspiring, I would say it’s more of a guide on what not to do. In any case it’s gripping.

The Beach– Alex Garland

Visitor’s to Thailand will find copies of this book strewn everywhere. Although it’s message has been distorted over the years, it’s still essential reading for all backpackers.

What would you add to the list?

About The Author

15 thoughts on “Empower Yourself! 25 Books to Inspire You to Travel in the New Year”

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