Travel Books to Feed Your Outdoor Soul

Ten years ago, I traded in my heels for hiking boots and became an outdoors person. It was a ‘when in Rome’ adaptation when I moved from Boston to Spokane, Washington, a little city in the Inland Northwest that borders Idaho. Spokane’s city motto is “near nature, near perfect”.

To have any sort of social life, I needed to kayak or go on long bike rides. If I wanted to hang out with friends on a Saturday, I needed to hike Mount Spokane in the summer or snowshoe in the winter. If I were joining Friends-giving, we’d run the 5K Turkey Trot earlier before the turkey fest. I got so caught up in this life, I even competed in my first ever sprint triathlon.

Eventually, I began to enjoy it – okay, maybe not the lake swimming portion of the sprint triathlon. Thanks to a few years in Spokane, the outdoors became comfortable. The quiet hikes and the long bike rides fed a part of my soul I didn’t know I craved.

Now that I live in Boston, nature isn’t so near and my hikes are, unfortunately, infrequent. But I found I could get my fix another way, with travel books that are so well written and focused, that it gives my outdoor soul a little nourishment even from the comfort of my couch.

Here are some of my favorite travel books to feed my need for adventure and exploration in the great outdoors:

Wild – Cheryl Strayed
An impulsive hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in the wake of her mother’s death and the failure of her marriage is filled with adventure, terror, pleasure and healing.

Women Who Dare – Chris Noble
A celebration of feminine beauty, athleticism, wisdom, and skill—Women Who Dare features twenty of America’s most inspiring women climbers telling their incredible stories in their own words.

Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
A personal account of the Mt. Everest disaster that claimed five lives and left countless more–including Krakauer’s–in guilt-ridden disarray.

Round Ireland with a Fridge – Tony Hawks
A drunken bet led to one of the best experiences in Hawks’ life: hitchhiking round Ireland with a fridge. On their adventure, Tony and his fridge surfed together, entered a bachelor festival, and one of them had sex without the other knowing.

The Places in Between – Rory Stewart
In January 2002, Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan – surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Muslim customs and the kindness of strangers. His journey makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map’s countless places in between.

What are some of your favorite travel books?

Namrata PatelBy Namrata Patel
Namrata is fascinated by how we live through the lens of culture and technology. She grew up in an traditional Gujarati house in a northern New Jersey suburb and since then has lived in large cities (Boston, New York, London) and small towns (Spokane, Glamssboro, Lake Placid). She loves blogging about technology, social media, dual-culturalism, travel, food, and living life as a journey vs. a path.


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5 Comments on “Travel Books to Feed Your Outdoor Soul”

  1. Check out the stories by Rochard Haliburton- He would travel to extraordinary places and then do incredible things- like spending the night in the Taj Mahal (forbidden) and skinny dipping in it’s reflective pool.

    1. Thanks, Jenny, that means the world to me. I’ll check out Temple of Heaven. Sounds great.

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