Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Immerse Yourself in Faraway Lands
Transporting readers to destinations near and far, books have a magical way of making you feel like you’re really there. For armchair travelers and jetsetters alike, a transportive read can satisfy the wanderlust when you can’t hop on a plane. Take Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country, for example. His humorous account of traveling through Australia gives readers an intimate look at the Land Down Under. From Aboriginal history and culture to the quirky creatures found across the continent, his engaging writing makes you feel like you’re right there alongside him.
Another excellent transportive read is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. While you likely know about this hugely popular book and movie, Gilbert’s vivid portrayal of her soul-searching journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia is worth revisiting. You can practically taste the pizza in Naples and smell the incense in an ashram as she chronicles her experiences with such sensory detail.
For a trip back in time, try historical fiction like Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, which depicts the lives of two French sisters during World War II. Her meticulous research and moving storytelling puts you right in the heart of war-torn Europe. You’ll feel immersed in the daily struggles and small acts of defiance that shaped the lives of women living through those tumultuous times.
Of course, nothing satisfies the craving for travel quite like wandering through the vivid landscapes depicted by legendary authors like Jack Kerouac and Paul Theroux. Their adventurous work highlights how getting lost can often be the best way to find yourself, involving readers in their seemingly endless quests of self-discovery around the globe. Reading the open road stories of Kerouac and Theroux ignites the spirit of adventure within, making you want to chart your own offbeat journey.
What else is in this post?
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Immerse Yourself in Faraway Lands
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Laugh Your Way Across the Globe
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Find Inspiration for Your Next Big Trip
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Experience Different Cultures from Your Armchair
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Take a Nostalgic Journey Down Memory Lane
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Expand Your Knowledge of World History
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Get Lost in Tales of Adventure and Self-Discovery
- Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Discover Hidden Gems Off the Beaten Path
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Laugh Your Way Across the Globe
Who doesn’t love to laugh? Having a good chuckle truly feeds the soul. When you’re traveling, a little humor can go a long way as well. Books that blend side-splitting humor with globetrotting adventures will give you the best of both worlds. You’ll traverse new terrain and get your funny bone tickled too.
Bill Bryson is the undisputed king of travel-based humor. His books Down Under and A Walk in the Woods had me laughing so hard I was crying. Bryson recounts his misadventures hiking the Appalachian Trail and journeying through Australia with plenty of hilarious mishaps. His sarcasm and wry observations about traveling are comedy gold. You’ll find yourself snorting with laughter as he stumbles through amusing cultural misunderstandings and makes boneheaded navigational errors.
David Sedaris is another brilliantly witty travel writer. His essays in Me Talk Pretty One Day about learning French and becoming an expat in Paris are laugh-out-loud funny. He highlights absurd interactions with snooty locals in cafes and his own amusing culture shock. Sedaris has a true gift for finding humor in even mundane daily experiences.
Humorist Jenny Lawson takes readers on a laugh riot of a bachelorette party trip in her book Furiously Happy. Lawson’s anxiety and awkward social interactions lead to uproarious travel escapades in Chicago. She dives face first into a giant plate of nachos, drunkenly searches for Oprah’s apartment, and tries to track down a possum named Beyoncé. Lawson proves travel is always better with laughter.
For a fictional travel tale with plenty of laughs, check out Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh. This quirky short story collection features some dark and dry comedy. Moshfegh's uniquely weird characters go on some truly bizarre trips. You’ll chuckle at their outrageous misfortunes as they travel for family reunions, holidays abroad, and more.
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Find Inspiration for Your Next Big Trip
Whether it’s traversing the steppes of Mongolia or sailing the Greek islands, we all need a spark of inspiration to motivate our next adventure. Books brimming with wanderlust have a way of igniting the urge to travel, providing fuel for envisioning your next big trip. From bestsellers to hidden gems, a transportive read can plant the seed for your upcoming voyage.
Sometimes, all it takes is an enticing image on the pages in front of you to stir your soul. In Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain, Jack Hitt describes a carefree vision of grilling sardines over an open fire beneath a grove of cork trees. This picturesque scene easily excites a craving for rustic Mediterranean travels. Visualizing yourself beneath those trees ignites the longing to make this dream a reality.
Other times, a book plants an idea that takes root and grows into a full-fledged travel ambition. After reading his account of paragliding amid the snowy peaks of the Andes, many find themselves determined to replicate this thrill. Joe Simpson’s visceral depictions in Touching the Void of scaling icy cliff faces and flying high over glacial landscapes drive readers’ resolve to achieve this lofty adventure goal. His prose turns this once unimaginable pursuit into a must-do experience.
The motivational words of Cheryl Strayed often push travelers to stop overthinking and take the leap into the unknown. In Wild, she conveys the courage required to stray from your comfort zone but also the personal growth that results. Strayed inspires soul-searching journeys, demonstrating how travel expands perspectives. Her vivid memoir fuels the conviction to embark on your own voyage of self-discovery.
Sometimes, inspiration comes from escaping into a book set in a world vastly different from your own. In reading the vivid imagery of life in the Atacama Desert in Desert Solitaire, many yearn to witness this extreme place firsthand. Edward Abbey’s classic work kindles a powerful draw to explore the otherworldly landscapes found beyond the beaten path. His words spark an insatiable curiosity about these far-flung corners of the earth.
Of course, nothing stokes the flames of wanderlust quite like the words of adventure legends like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, or Bruce Chatwin. Their rich tales full of peril, discovery, and geographic wonders never fail to awaken one’s desire for intrepid expeditions. Since the dawn of travel writing, their infectious works have sent explorers racing towards the farthest horizons, seeking their own adventures.
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Experience Different Cultures from Your Armchair
Armchair travel allows you to expand your cultural horizons without leaving home. While VR technology promises immersive cultural experiences, books remain unrivaled in their ability to transport you. Poignant memoirs, compelling novels, and vivid nonfiction all provide an intimate look at what daily life is like in diverse corners of the globe. You’ll gain exposure to new customs, values, cuisines, and ways of life. This vicarious glimpse into unfamiliar cultures inspires open-mindedness and fuels wanderlust.
Ruth Ozeki’s mesmerizing novel A Tale for the Time Being immerses readers in modern Japanese culture. Through the diary of teenage protagonist Nao, Ozeki reveals the intense pressures and beauty ideals facing contemporary Japanese youth. Nao’s touching accounts of attending school in Tokyo’s buzzing Shibuya district provide an authentic teen’s-eye-view of urban Japan. Ozeki masterfully captures the nation’s unique pop culture too, with Nao’s obsession with a Hello Kitty lunchbox and maid cafés.
For an engaging look at life in modern China, Peter Hessler’s memoir River Town is hard to beat. As a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in rural Sichuan province in the 1990s, Hessler presents an outsider’s perspective on everything from dating rituals to the one-child policy. His students’ aspirations illuminate China’s enormous economic and social changes during this transformative post-Mao era. Hessler vividly captures the texture of daily life, down to the spicy Sichuanese cuisine.
Nothing enables deeper cultural understanding like memoir. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie charts her experiences becoming a Nigerian immigrant in America. Her candid observations about race, identity, and belonging provide profound insight into both nations. Adichie’s depiction of Nigerian social customs, from elaborate weddings to ancestral worship traditions, make Lagos come alive. She deftly examines cultural dislocation too, conveying the constant tension between Nigerian and American cultural norms.
For delightful armchair access to Ireland’s culture, try Maeve Binchy. Her novels, like Circle of Friends, Tara Road, and Nights of Rain and Stars, reveal Ireland's close-knit communities, matchmaking traditions, Catholic influences, and storytelling customs. Through colorful characters and seaside villages, Binchy reveals the warmth, humor, and charm distinctive to the Emerald Isle.
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Take a Nostalgic Journey Down Memory Lane
Transportive tales allow readers to revisit bygone times and places that exist now only in memory. These nostalgic books revive fading recollections of your own past travels, evoking wistful reminiscence. They also provide windows into historical eras you never experienced firsthand. Through rich period details and atmospheric writing, you can time travel back through the decades.
Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent is one such nostalgic read. In this travelogue from the late 1980s, Bryson journeys along America’s famed Route 66. His wry observations highlight how much the United States changed in the decades since this roadway’s heyday in the 1950s and 60s. As Bryson passes fading motor courts and deserted main streets, readers are immersed in nostalgia for this freewheeling automotive era. Yet we also see the Route 66 of today, a relic of its former glory now bypassed by highways. Bryson’s writing stirs fond memories in readers who drove this iconic Mother Road.
For armchair access to the Roaring Twenties, F. Scott Fitzgerald delivers. In classics like The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, his lyrical prose resurrects the decadence of Jazz Age America and the carefree expatriate scene in Europe. Fitzgerald’s books provide intimate glimpses of luxe ocean liner travel, ritzy French Riviera resorts, and glamorous fashion. Through Gatsby’s lavish parties and bullfights in Pamplona, the dizzying revelry of the 1920s is vibrantly revived. Readers are transported back to an era of freewheeling excess and elegance we can only experience now through the lens of literature.
Short stories also unlock bygone eras like the 1950s American suburbs. Ray Bradbury’s nostalgic tales in The Martian Chronicles offer snapshots of idyllic midcentury small-town life, of soda fountains and front porches. His sci-fi twist of setting these stories on Mars highlights timeless themes of home, family, and memory. Yet Bradbury’s period references still summon nostalgia for the wholesome warmth of the post-war era. Readers fondly recollect a slower, simpler time before cell phones and the internet encroached.
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Expand Your Knowledge of World History
Understanding our shared human past provides crucial perspective on the present. Reading books that illuminate defining moments and trends throughout global history expands our frame of reference about today’s world. Immersing yourself in epochal events that shaped civilizations imparts invaluable context about modern challenges and relationships between nations. You gain nuanced insight into how we arrived at this point in time.
Reading sagas of ancient cultures transports you back to humanity’s earliest days. In SPQR, Mary Beard chronicles the rise and fall of the Roman Empire with remarkable depth. From Senate intrigue to salacious gossip about Caesar’s love life, Beard’s engrossing portrait reveals how Rome’s systems of power, conquest, and culture influenced all of Western civilization to follow. You’ll gain profound appreciation for Rome’s lasting impact, from infrastructure to literature, seeing echoes of it across Europe still today.
Epic histories like The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan reveal the forces linking major regions over centuries. His enthralling account illuminates how trade, religion, science, and more flowed between East and West along this vast network. You comprehend the Persian Empire's immense influence and the outsized role of Constantinople as a global hub. Reading Frankopan instills awe at the scale of premodern transcontinental connections. This enhanced global perspective lends critical nuance to grasping modern geopolitics.
Sometimes microhistories that zoom in on a specific place over time can be equally enlightening about large historical arcs. In Midnight in Chernobyl, Adam Higginbotham documents the catastrophic nuclear disaster. But he situates it within centuries of Russian history, chronicling how authoritarianism and secrecy bred fatal weaknesses. Higginbotham illuminates why scientifically advanced nations still failed to avert this technologically preventable event. His account underscores how broader societal factors shape human progress.
Transporting biographies open insightful windows on pivotal historical figures. Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird reveals how the long-reigning British monarch navigated empire, family scandals, and tempestuous marriages. This nuanced portrait explains Victoria’s complex legacy of colonialism alongside progressivism in women’s rights, shaping perceptions of the British monarchy to this day. Similarly, Robert Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandra intimately depicts the downfall of Russia’s last royal family, sowing seeds of the revolution.
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Get Lost in Tales of Adventure and Self-Discovery
We all need to occasionally break free from the confines of daily life and embark on journeys of adventure and self-discovery. Books that chronicle thrilling expeditions to little-known corners of the globe can satisfy this deep human longing. Tales brimming with intrepid explorers, exotic settings, and courage in the face of danger excite our innate taste for adventure. They motivate us to push beyond our own boundaries, both geographical and psychological.
Few adventure tales capture the imagination quite like Jon Krakauer’s modern classic Into the Wild. His meticulously reported book tells the haunting story of Chris McCandless, an idealistic young man who ventured alone into the Alaskan wilderness in search of enlightenment. Krakauer vividly depicts McCandless’ perilous journey along the Stampede Trail to an abandoned bus where he made his camp. Despite dangerously scarce resources, McCandless revels in the solitude and natural splendor of the region. But his quest ultimately ends in tragedy. Krakauer movingly conveys how McCandless’ exhilarating adventures and reflections on freedom profoundly shaped his personal growth, even as mistakes cost him his life. His transcendental journey inspires wanderlust in readers.
Another legendary adventurer who sought existential answers in isolation was Everest mountaineer David Breashears. In his memoir High Exposure, Breashears recounts pushing past harrowing avalanches, blizzards, and oxygen deprivation in the Death Zone above 26,000 feet. He compellingly describes the mental fortitude and spiritual perspective gained in surviving the cruelties of extreme altitude. By conveying the tremendous personal growth that exploration fosters, Breashears motivates others to expand their mental resilience through adventure.
Of course, tales of intrepid women explorers like Freya Stark and Dervla Murphy open our eyes to the rich rewards of leaving one's comfort zone. Murphy’s Full Tilt chronicles her daring 1965 solo bicycle journey through wintry Iran and Afghanistan. Despite icy mountain passes and snow blocking her path, Murphy discovers kindness and wisdom from Persian nomads that changed her worldview. She finds liberation amid the uncertainty and fear of traveling alone across inhospitable terrain. Her inspiring tale illuminates how letting go of comforts and routines fosters newfound mental strength.
Escape into Another World: The Top 10 Best Books for Travelers in 2023 - Discover Hidden Gems Off the Beaten Path
Beyond the frenzy of crowded tourist meccas exists a quieter, more authentic world awaiting discovery by intrepid travelers. Venturing off well-trodden tourist circuits unearths under-the-radar locales and allows more meaningful connections with local cultures. Seeking out these hidden gems often requires extra effort but offers rich rewards for travelers longing to get lost.
Paul Theroux extols leaving the beaten track behind in The Happy Isles of Oceania. His accounts traversing the Pacific islands on neglected ferry routes reveal sleepy fishing villages and spontaneous encounters with farmers and fishermen. Theroux skips the resort holidays in Tahiti, instead finding magic in obscure haunts like tropical Nuku Hiva, where herds of wild horses roam dense rainforests. His pursuit of road less traveled immerses him in the daily rhythms of islanders’ lives, not a fabricated tourist illusion.
Plunging into the maze-like medinas and souks of Fez, Morocco provides magical discoveries, as Tahir Shah relays in The Caliph’s House. Navigating the tangled ancient alleyways, Shah encounters a genie school and hashish soothsayers that no guidebooks mention. Around each corner unfolds a new revelation, from mosaic-lined plazas to a café frequented solely by women. While more challenging, escaping the typical Marrakech tour opens up Fez's essence.
Sometimes, hidden wonderlands lie just off the beaten path, as Tony Horwitz reveals about Australia’s Kimberly coast in Blue Latitudes. Veering 12 miles from crowded Broome, he kayaks deserted, crocodile-filled Roebuck Bay. Its rippling sandbars and Aboriginal rock art are awe-inspiring yet overlooked. Horwitz embraces the difficulties of visiting this untamed region, returning awed by its vitality. Forging his own route rewards him with a rawer experience of the outback.
Of course, social media influencers and travel shows now frequently unveil once little-known spots like California’s Alabama Hills and the Azores Islands. But avoiding peak visitor periods and seeking deeper local knowledge open doors to more meaningful experiences. Rick Steves champions lingering in small villages to be immersed in Italy's local culture versus hit-and-run tourism.