Looking for great inspirational books for women to inspire, inform, challenge, teach and entertain you? We got you covered with this list of over 100 options.
You will find the books split into various sections: Inspiration, Career & Success books, Great Explorer stories and Travel books. Scroll through, read our reviews and highlights and get started filling your library with empowering books for women.
In this section you will find suggestions for empowering books for women which retell autobiographical stories, hero narratives and learnings from some of the most influenctial, relevant and well known women.
The Moment of Lift
By Melinda Gates
This book is a candid account by one of the Top 10 World’s Most Powerful Women by Forbes in which she shares her personal journey to elevate women around the globe. It is probably one of the most empowering books for women on this list.
Melinda talks about the powerful encounters she has come across as Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and about issues such as equality in the household as well as in the workplace, and child marriages (which she believes is rooted in gender inequality) and family planning. She explains why gender inequality is the number 1 issue to address if we are to create a more inclusive and productive society.
This is what Barack Obama has to say about this incredible read:
‘When you lift up women, you lift up everybody – families, communities, entire countries… In her book, Melinda tells the stories of the inspiring people she’s met through her work all over the world, digs into the data, and powerfully illustrates issues that need our attention… I’ve called Melinda an impatient optimist and that’s what she delivers here – the urgency to tackle these problems and the unwavering belief that solving them is indeed possible.’
Why you should read it: This book is bound to leave you feeling more inspired and empowered.
By Michelle Obama
In this memoir, the former first lady of the United States, talks about her life experiences which moulded her into the strong, powerful woman with determination that she has become.
Her book is designed to inspire women and is divided into 3 parts, Becoming Me, Becoming Us and Becoming More, as she shares the obstacles and victories which helped her to pave her way into the history of the United States of America.
In her own words:
“I’m an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey. In sharing my story, I hope to help create space for other stories and other voices, to widen the pathway for who belongs and why.”
Why you should read it: Michelle’s story is one of empowerment and fighting racial discrimination. It is bound to resonate with you on both a personal and professional level.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
By Julia Alvarez
This book follows the journey of four sisters who move from the Dominican Republic and find the US to be in complete contrast with how they have lived.
Their father resists change while the girls try hard to embrace their newly found identity which might even include losing their Spanish accent.
Carly Figueroa beautifully comments about the book:
“It’s a book just as much about immigration and Latin culture as it is about family conflict and struggle. I found it relatable to anyone, but also valuable because of the intimate glimpse it gives of the unique difficulties immigrants face with their identities.”
Why you should read it: Julia Alvarez’s interesting book is for anyone who is in the state of conflict between 2 identities, be it social or cultural.
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference
By Greta Thunberg
Climate Action and global warming is one of the most neglected issues of this era. This book was written by a then fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, who was awarded TIME’s Person of the Year Award in 2019.
Greta realized the urgency to work for climate change and the environment. It is a powerful read which ignited a series of global movements and action campaigns to tackle climate change.
This is a must read book for women and men who want to make a difference.
As Margaret Mead stated:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Why you should read it: Too often we do not believe in our ability to create a difference but this book is a clear example that one person, no matter how small, can change the world.
Be Unapologetically You: A Self Love Guide for Women of Color
By Adeline Bird
This is a book to inspire women and will become your go-to guide for fierce and courageous living. You don’t have to blend in the background anymore, there is a way to live and own your true authentic self and this book will teach you how to do precisely that!
Adeline does a remarkable job in boosting the self-confidence of the reader.
As a woman of color, you think you are at the bottom of the pile but your position is unique and your differences are not your weakness, they are your strength. Once you own that, you can be unstoppable.
Why you should read it: We have an innate desire to fit in and to conform to societal norms and practices. Adeline will convince you that your differences are not your weakness rather your strength.
Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
This is the book that anyone who identifies as a woman should read. It spent 144 weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, and is translated into 35 languages. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D., becomes a metaphysical explorer as she goes on “psychic archaeological digs” into the ancient ruins of the female unconscious.
This is a book to inspire women through the author’s own discoveries in ethnic tales, myths, and folklore together with twenty years of research in psychology and trauma to provide something quite unique – prose that will help you reconnect to your very own Wild Woman archetype.
As one weaves through her tales of the female psyche, one learns how to find one’s inner magic, how to deeply explore and examine our deepest and truest selves. It truly is a must read garnishing praise by prominent figures from Maya Angelou to Gloria Steinem.
Tip: With over 500 pages, this is quite a lengthy book, but many have found the version with larger font to be of great help if you prefer the physical book. Otherwise just get the Kindle version if you don’t want to carry it around.
This best-selling novel is profound and deeply insightful, Alice Walker says it best:
“Women Who Run With Wolves isn’t just another book. It is a gift of profound insight, wisdom, and love. An oracle from one who knows.”
Why you should read it: Anyone who wants to really understand and shift their perspective of what it means to be a woman. To find the “Wild Woman” that harnesses the instinctual nature of all women.
Rise Sister Rise: A Guide to Unleashing the Wise, Wild Woman Within
By Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell has a way with words. In this masterpiece she writes how a woman is more than her career and her relationships.
The book inspired women to look inside and unlock her true inner potential (shakti) through introspective thinking, mindfulness and meditation.
Her writing is both inspirational and uplifting:
“Be committed to creating a life’s work, not a season. If you get over excited and rush everything for fear of missing out, you run the risk of being a flash in the pan and fading away fast. Have the stamina to stay in the game. To do it for the devotion and pleasure alone. Create your art for life and your life for your art. Withstand the winds of time. Sustain the changing trends. Leave a legacy.”
Why you should read it: Rebecca beautifully writes that the way to self-healing is not through numbing ourselves rather by “unearthing the shadows and sitting with it” will lead to a road of healing.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
By Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a Pakistani woman who overcame great difficulties to become an Oxford graduate. She talks about her struggles during the times when the Taliban gained control of her village and would not allow female education. Then a teenager, she stood up for her rights.
She had the support of her father who was a school teacher and she started to write a diary in which she shared the brutalities against her. She was threatened by the Taliban and then shot after which she fled the country. She has since received the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala’s account is a must read book for women to gain perspective about the issues facing women across the world.
One of Malala’s famous quotes reminds us of our power:
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
Why you should read it: The courage and resolve for education of this young woman is inspiring.
By Roxane Gay
This eye-opening read by Roxane is not only going to inspire you but also leave you with a different perspective. The author does not try to fit in and is not scared to voice her opinions and she does so loudly and with class.
She is not trying to please anyone, hence the term “bad” feminist.
She beautifully explains:
“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers.
I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”
Why you should read it: Her take on feminism, living life, and dealing with weight and body image are nothing short of revolutionary.
The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou
by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is an acclaimed author, most well-known for her amazing book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. This must read book for women is a sort of epilogue to her equally inspiring thoughts and character.
The collected autobiographies include her masterpieces like Singin’ and Swingin, Gather Together in My Name, and The Heart of a Woman. She is known for her solid stance in the civil rights movement.
Search for inspirational and motivational quotes, and Maya Angelou is sure to come up on top:
“Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”
Why you should read it: If we are to be fierce, we need to be role models who are an embodiment of pure valor and courage. Maya was exactly that!
The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf
by Mohja Kahf
Mohja Kahf beautifully explains the struggle of a Syrian woman named Khadra Shamy who migrated to America. She talks about her struggles while trying to fit into her new life, understanding herself and her religion.
She also talks about the Syrian Refugee Crisis and how it has affected the younger generation. As Khadra’s character develops socially and spiritually after moving to the US, you are bound to feel that you are growing with her. This is one of our favorite inspirational books for women.
“Here was an exposure, her soul an unmarked sheet shadowing into distinct shapes under the fluids. Fresh film. Herself, developing.”
Why you should read it: The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf has an interesting take on both her internal and external struggles which many of us can relate to.
Perfect Is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me
By Tyra Banks And Carolyn London
Tyra Banks, a renowned fashion model and TV personality, gets candid about her insecurities as a teenager and how her mother helped her evolve into the strong and beautiful entrepreneur that she is today.
She talks about how she worked hard to finally get where she is today and serves as an example everyone.
Read her story as an inspirational book for women who want to conquer their insecurities and shine.
This quote is bound to steal your heart:
“We are often told we can’t have brains and beauty, and I really hope that my message is that you can put on that red lip and curl your hair and put on that power dress—you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.”
Why you should read it: If you are battling insecurities and wanting to make a shift in your life, this book will be your treasure map to lead you to where you want to go!
Bad Girls Throughout History
By Ann Shen
Ann Shen’s Bad Girls is an interesting mix of illustrations and an account of 100 women throughout history who passed the test of time with flying colors. It is an empowering book for women everywhere that need to be reminded that they don’t need to apologize.
She also talks about how hardworking and fierce women are often labeled as ‘bad’ because they are too strong for the society in which they live that they become an overbearing force in their communities and societies.
“To be a bad girl is to break any socially accepted rule. For some women, it’s the way they dress. For other girls, it’s the act of going to school. At one point, it was fighting for the right to vote. Anything we do outside the lines is immediately up for persecution.”
Why you should read it: With features of brave women and girls like Marie Curie, Amelia Earheart, Cleopatra and Malala, this book will surely inspire you to your core! The beautiful illustrations are an added bonus.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
By Janet Mock
In this New York Times bestselling book, Janet talks about the struggles she has faced and obstacles she has crossed in embracing her identity as a transgender woman in a community where being transgender is not even talked about openly.
This motivational book for women is a must read for all to gain perspective and educate ourselves in openness and tolerance.
Janet is the epitome of authenticity and she keeps it real in her book as well:
“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community.
I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you.”
Why you should read it: Janet will encourage you to accept your real self and identity and in doing so her writing will boost your self-confidence.
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
By Caroline Criado Perez
Too often it is the patriarchy and male-dominatied society that brushes off women’s rights movements as non-existent, invisible. These movements are therefore consciously refuted by those in charge.
In this insightful piece, Caroline shows from data, both in the public and private spheres, how odds are stacked against women. An empowering book for women to understand society’s biases.
Jeanette Winterson from The New York Times says:
“Read this book and then tell me the patriarchy is a figment of my imagination.”
Why you should read it: This data-backed book is bound to open your eyes to how the society most of us live in is patriarchal by design and how we should rise against these inherent inequalities.
She Speaks: Women’s Speeches That Changed the World, from Pankhurst to Thunberg
by Yvette Cooper
Yvette does a remarkable job of compiling speeches of strong women throughout history from yesteryear to the present in one of the most motivational books for women there is.
Each speech is followed by an introduction and the legacy of the woman to whom the speech belongs.
From Benazir Bhutto to Margaret Thatcher, 36 brilliant women are included in this collection, all from different walks of life. What is interesting is that Yvette herself is a member of British Parliament and is quite a role model herself.
She talks about real education often and says:
“We must educate our sons to save our daughters.”
Why you should read it: This book is living proof that women are ferocious not just in their unwavering resolve but also in their oration.
Self improvement & Growth
The books in this section aim to help women take care not only of their and health but also of their inner wellbeing. These motivational books for women will give you the tools and resources you need to feel better with yourself, or to have a tidier house if you wish!
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
By Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo is famously known for her Kon-Mari method in which the amount of things do not define the quality of your life.
Marie Kondo suggests an interesting new method in which she encourages the readers to only keep stuff that “sparks joy”. This is a motivation book for women who want to reorganize their lives.
Her method is so popular that it was transformed into a Netflix show for a US audience.
Marie further explains that concept in her book:
“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”
Why you should read it: Whether it is your entire life or a messy kitchen cupboard, this fail-proof method from the Japanese author is bound to help you declutter!
The Gifts of Imperfection
By Brené Brown
In her book, she talks about how being perfect is not the goal and how it is okay to be vulnerable and to be human. Brene beautifully explains that sometimes courage means falling apart and crying and a little voice at the end of your day which says, ‘Tomorrow I will try again.’
She also talks about authenticity in a profound way:
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
Why you should read it: We usually strive to be our perfect selves and often tell ourselves that if we reach X place then we will be better and we can love ourselves. Brene will teach you how to love yourself right now and build yourself from there.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
By Jen Sincero
This self-help book is a detailed guide based on 27 chapters to help you unlock your true potential and to live the life you truly deserve.
With an incredible mix of humor and inspiration, this is just what you need to understand yourself better, push yourself and make life-changing improvements. An empowering book for women who want to take charge.
In the words of the Jen Sincero:
“Because if you base your self-worth on what everyone else thinks of you, you hand all your power over to other people and become dependent on a source outside of yourself for validation.”
Why you should read it: The number one obstacle that we have in achieving great things is usually our own perception of ourselves. This book will help you see your worth and will teach you how to truly realize your potential.
By Yukari Mitsuhashi
Ikigai is an interesting book which talks about ‘the reason for living’.
Mitsuhashi says that all people have a reason to live, an innate calling where they are at their best and they are the happiest. A more spiritual and grander way to look at life.
He also talks about the importance of flow:
“The happiest people are not the ones who achieve the most. They are the ones who spend more time than others in a state of flow.”
Why you should read it: Done with your 9 to 5 job? Ikigai is bound to encourage introspection and you will come up with ways in which you can lead a more fulfilling life.
Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals
By Rachel Hollis
Rachel focuses on how women and girls feel shame and guilt while voicing their opinion.
She mentions that guilt and shame are not an innate behavior, we are taught this by the people in our societies and we shouldn’t let shame hold us back.
In this motivational book for women, she will walk you through ways in which you can unlearn this.
The Publisher Weekly wrote about her book and said:
“Hollis’s writing is beautifully blunt, and she humbly thanks her fans for her success. Her actionable ideas and captivating voice will encourage women to believe in themselves.”
Why you should read it: Hollis will teach you that you do not have to apologize for doing the right thing, asking for your rights and being who you are. There is no need to apologize!
The Little Prince
By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This classic book by 1900s pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is one which will keep you wondering and thinking. Antoine writes about a little prince who accidentally lands on the Earth.
He uncovers the treachery of humans around us and talks about our own behaviors which are inauthentic because the prince is pure and he speaks from his heart.
This beautiful excerpt from the book is just an example:
“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?
Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”
Why you should read it: The Little Prince will be your call for introspection, and with hidden meanings, also guide you take a deeper look at our patterns in life.
The Happiness Project
By Gretchen Rubin
This book by Gretchen Rubin talks about her search for happiness and fulfillment.
The author spent a year trying to find herself and did the things which made more sense to her like cleaning her cupboards and reading Aristotle.
We found this a very interesting book for women to gain perspective and understand what happiness truly is. A refreshing and unusual look at that feeling we all search for.
“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.
No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”
Why you should read it: This mixture of classical philosophy and light-hearted prose will help you find various ways in which you can have a more enriching life.
By Mika Brzezinski
In a world that is hell-bent on making women feel small, Mika talks about women being responsible for creating and owning their success to gain recognition and financial worth. A motivational book. for women who just want to take control.
“Knowing your value means owning your success. Owning your success means acknowledging your achievements. By acknowledging achievements you build confidence.”
Why you should read it: Mika talks about her personal story in snippets as well and she will make you think twice about being authentic and knowing your own value.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
By Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington is a well known name and is considered one of the most influential women in the world. She is the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and Thrive, more focused on wellness and wellbeing..
In this candid account Arianna shares how our pursuit for having the perfect resume and a successful career is leading to unavoidable and massive stress and burn-out.
Her wake-up call came when she fell and underwent cheek surgery as she collapsed due to exhaustion. An inspirational book for women who need to reassess their priorities.
She makes a point by saying:
“It is very telling what we don’t hear in eulogies. We almost never hear things like: ‘The crowning achievement of his life was when he made senior vice president.’ Or: ‘He increased market share for his company multiple times during his tenure.’
Or: ‘She never stopped working. She ate lunch at her desk. Every day.’ Or: ‘He never made it to his kid’s Little League games because he always had to go over those figures one more time.’
Or: ‘While she didn’t have any real friends, she had six hundred Facebook friends, and she dealt with every email in her in-box every night.’ Or: ‘His PowerPoint slides were always meticulously prepared.’
Our eulogies are always about the other stuff: what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our family and friends, small kindnesses, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.”
Why you should read it: Filled with Arianna’s personal experiences, Thrive is a good combination of well-being and wisdom which will remind you that taking care of yourself comes before everything else.
The Monk who Sold His Ferrari
By Robin Sharma
Robin Sharma is a huge name in self-help. In this novel he narrates a story of a man who was a hardworking lawyer and gave day in and day out to his profession. He was highly successful but one day he collapsed.
He slowly recovers and disappears, when he returns, he is a changed man. He talks about the wisdom that he has learnt from monks and he also shares everything that he has learnt in the form of a guide, such as:
“Every event has a purpose and every setback its lesson. I have realized that failure, whether of the personal, professional or even spiritual kind, is essential to personal expansion.
It brings inner growth and a whole host of psychic rewards. Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher that it is.”
Why you should read it: Robin Sharma’s guide is all you need to harness your energy and unleash the power of you.
The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance- What Women Should Know
By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Both the authors focus on using confidence and action. The more you practice confidence and you put yourself out there, the more self-assured you will be.
A motivational book for women who want to believe in themselves.
In the Confidence Code Katty and Claire explain:
“If you choose not to act, you have little chance of success. What’s more, when you choose to act, you’re able to succeed more frequently than you think.
How often in life do we avoid doing something because we think we’ll fail? Is failure really worse than doing nothing? And how often might we actually have triumphed if we had just decided to give it a try?”
Why you should read it: Katty and Claire share practical examples of women who owned the stage from different walks of life through confidence.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her new book, Elizabeth Gilbert, the same author as Eat, Pray, Love, talks about how embracing the inner curiosity is the first step to creativity.
She talks about looking deeper into our own selves to find the “strange jewels”.
This is what Popsugar has to say about the book:
“A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life… I dare you not to be inspired, to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.”
Why you should read it: The number 1 thing that gets in the way of creativity is often fear and this book will teach you how to overcome it!
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down
By Haemin Sunim
In this fast paced world, this book by Haemin Sunim (Sunim is the title given to a Korean Buddhist monk) is like a breath of fresh air. Haemin talks about the significance of just slowing down and letting things happen to decipher clarity from all the noise and focus on things that actually matter.
Haemin talks about faith, spirituality, friendship and relationships and how one can enrich their life and live to the fullest. He has a large social media following and is sometimes referred to as the “Twitter Monk”, in fact the book was created after gaining such a large following on Twitter.
“We know the world only through the window of our mind. When our mind is noisy, the world is as well. And when our mind is peaceful, the world is, too. Knowing our minds is just as important as trying to change the world.”
Why you should read it: Haemin is a renowned Korean Seon (Zen) Buddhist and this book is bound to help you reach balance in this excessively demanding life.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
By Shonda Rhimes
In her book, “Year of Yes”, Shonda writes about how she pushed herself out of her comfort zone and said yes to life and opportunities, an inspirational book for women who want to say yes to more things.
“I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”
Why you should read it: Too often we shut ourselves out and close all doors to opportunities, this book will make you scream yes to your dreams.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
By Don Miguel Ruiz
Don Miguel is an expert in Toltec wisdom and he uses this book to teach the readers how to assume a life of happiness. The Four Agreements mentioned in this book are:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
These seem simple but they start to make more sense once you read how Don explains each agreement.
“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her.
Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
Why you should read it: If there is one guide that you need to read to understand yourself and the people around you better, let this book be the one because it is packed with wisdom about life!
The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience
By Hillary Rodham Clinton & Chelsea Clinton
This book is an extension of the conversation between former US Presidential Candidate, First Lady and United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter Chelsea. It’s a discussion of the bravest woman who all defied odds to get to a position of power and authority in a male dominated industry and society.
From civil rights activist Dorothy Height and LGBTQ trailblazer Edie Windsor to athletes like Diana Nyad and writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – all the women in this book have incendiary and inspirational stories to show that anything can be overcome with optimism and faith in your actions.
Hillary Clinton talks about how she started her journey and how this book came about:
“After learning that Amelia Earhart kept a scrapbook with newspaper articles about successful women in male-dominated jobs, I started a scrapbook of my own. Long after I stopped clipping articles, I continued to seek out stories of women who seemed to be redefining what was possible.”
Why you should read it: Women who are in need of some truly inspirational female role models, trailblazers who set the path for a new kind of normal. You can read about them and then understand how difficult it was to get to where we are today. You’ll think of this book the next time you visit your female GP 😉
Career & Success
The suggestions in this section are empowering books for women who are looking to have a successful career.
My Life on the Road
By Gloria Steinem
For the best introduction to this book we need only turn to the social political activist herself:
“When people ask me why I still have hope and energy after all these years, I always say: Because I travel. Taking to the road—by which I mean letting the road take you—changed who I thought I was.
The road is messy in the way that real life is messy. It leads us out of denial and into reality, out of theory and into practice, out of caution and into action, out of statistics and into stories—in short, out of our heads and into our hearts.”
Why you should read it: This book from the world famous feminist is as inspirational as her life.
In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs
By Grace Bonney
In her book Grace Bonney shares the accounts of 100 incredible women and how they pushed through to gain recognition and made a name for themselves.
Because of the diversity in stories, you are sure to find lots of relevant career advice and insights to take onboard for your own life.
“I want to rip out every page of this glorious book and hang them on my wall so that I can be surrounded by these incredible women all day long.”
Why you should read it: Grace talks about real-life stories of women from all race, backgrounds and professions which is why the book is highly relatable.
By Sophia Amoruso
This is an inspiring book for women which follows the life of Sophia, a teenager and then an adult who struggled to make it on her own. She never considered herself to be capable of leadership or becoming a CEO.
However, she started working on herself and took steps to become a stronger version of herself by investing in herself. Her story is also relayed in a series of the same name on Netflix.
Sophia goes on to explain the point and writes:
“Each time you make a good decision or do something nice or take care of yourself; each time you show up to work and work hard and do your best at everything you can do, you’re planting seeds for a life that you can only hope will grow beyond your wildest dreams.
Take care of the little things—even the little things that you hate—and treat them as promises to your own future. Soon you’ll see that fortune favors the bold who get shit done.”
Why you should read it: We often find ourselves getting lost in the pattern that maybe we do not deserve the life we dream of. Sophia will help you break free of that notion by teaching you how to invest in yourself.
Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business
By Barbara Corcoran
Before Barbara became popular through Shark-tank, she made a real estate kingdom for herself in NYC.
In this inspirational book, she shares her life and how she took a $1,000 loan from her boyfriend to start a mini real-estate business which turned into a 6 billion dollar company.
Barbara talks about how taking chances will take you on the road to happy endings.
She goes further and says:
“Sometimes very successful people appear to be winging it, because they look so comfortable on their feet. But don’t be fooled; there ain’t no such thing. They just come across that way because they practiced so many times.”
Why you should read it: To make it big, we need a real life example of someone who started with little. If Barbara can do it, why not us?!
The Woman Code
By Sophia A. Nelson
Sophia talks about how there are certain principles women need to excel at in both their personal and professional lives.
She focuses on how important it is to not only focus on work but also on cultivating healthy relationships with other women.
The book relays what great women and visionaries are by describing them as follows:
“A visionary is one who sees beyond his present reality or circumstance and paves the way for others who come after him to get where he himself would like to be.
Why you should read it: The Woman Code will change your outlook on life and motivate you to create the life every woman deserves.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)
By Elaine Welteroth
Welteroth talks about the journey that she had to go through in fashion and media to make a name for herself and how difficult and intimidating it was to be the only black woman in the room. It put a lot of pressure on her but she found a way to combat it and she preaches what she believes in.
“When the world tells you to shrink, expand.”
Why you should read it: There are often things which might make you believe that you don’t deserve that seat in the table. Know that you are more than enough by being who you are.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
By Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg, widely known as the Chief Operating Officer of the tech-giant Facebook, writes about the glass-ceilings and leadership barriers for women.
In this very famous book, Sandberg talks about the challenges women have to face in order to carve their career path and tries to inspire more women to have it all.
She also gives hope to the readers about the future and hopes that it will be a more equitable one and writes:
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
Why you should read it: Until the future becomes more inclusive and equal, this book will serve as a beacon of light for female leadership in a male-dominated society.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
By Simon Sinek
Start with Why is about the Golden Circle of Business and how the most important question for success in both business and life is to know why exactly you are doing something. You can build your Hows and Whats once you have a reason and you know it.
Famous motivational speaker Simon pick on great companies such as Apple to explain how they aren’t just a hardware and software company, and how their branding, their values and the reason why they exist, “be different” is the real secret behind their success.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”
Why you should read it: Whether it is your personal life or professional, Start with Why will help you lay foundations which are essential for success.
The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
By Erin Meyer
If you are a woman working in International Business or any business, Erin Meyer’s book is just the right fit for you! She talks about a field tested model which will help you navigate not only your business, but also relationships, better and how several aspects differ because of culture.
This what Cari Guittard from Huffington Post had to say about Erin’s book:
“Whether you’re a corporate or traditional diplomat, global traveler, government official, or passionate world citizen, this is the one book you should not miss.
Chock-full of real-world examples and a simple framework that can be utilized in any cross-cultural context, Meyer’s work is characterized by a fresh and relevant voice, distilling down the essentials of communicating, persuading and working effectively around the globe. It is rare that I pick up a cross-cultural book and can’t put it down.”
Why you should read it: Never be misunderstood again and learn to decode cultures with just one read!
What Will It Take To Make A Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power
By Marianne Schnall
Marianne was asked a question by a 8-year old, “Why haven’t we ever had a woman president?” so she set out to understand this better.
In this highly inspirational book, the author interviewed politicians, parliamentarians, activists, writers and people in positions of power and recorded her findings in her book.
Beyonce recommends the book to every girl and woman by saying:
“I would love for my younger fans to read What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? by Marianne Schnall. It’s a collection of interviews and essays by great women, including Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Melissa Etheridge. They will inspire you to become a better leader.”
Why you should read it: If you are into public policy or just interested in government and the public sector, this book will give you greater insights about the political scenario and about the challenges women have to prepare for when entering this arena.
How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life
By Joanna Barsh
Have you had enough motivational books for women and are looking for some data-backed research? This book is it.
Joanna compiles 5 years of research and talks about the traits that make female leaders. This book could act as a blueprint as you develop your wings and learn to fly as a leader.
However this will take time and it will not be an overnight process.
“It takes time to find your strengths, and it takes even more time to turn them into capabilities.”
Why you should read it: Joanna’s book is not a quick-fix, rather she talks about the reality and complications and will facilitate you in understanding yourself better.
Our list of the best books for women could not be complete without a section for travelers and explorers.
All the recommendations in this section are for inspirational books for women who want to explore the world, much like all of our community members. The authors or protagonists in these books are not mere travelers, they are some of the greatest explorers, many discovered the planet well before the time of airplanes.
Sit back and read some of these inspirational books for women to go on an armchair adventure.
Wild By Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot
By Sarah Marquis
This phenomenal travel book will blow your mind.
Sarah shares her journey across 6 continents in 8 pairs of walking shoes. She covered 10,000 miles on foot in 3 years and had some of the most amazing encounters and experiences.
“The only way to survive three years of walking was to embrace the moment of now.”
She starts her hike from the Gobi Desert and moves through Thailand and Australia. Sarah also included interesting accounts of being surrounded with nomads who she could not understand, being threatened by the Chinese government and stories of drug trafficking.
Why you should read it: Wild by Nature will awaken the adventure spirit in you as you read through the Sarah’s travels.
Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel
By Julia Dimon
The book retells her stories from her journey across 7 continents including polar kayaking, eating fried scorpions and drinking cobra blood.
This is a fun yet inspirational travel book for women who are in search of true adventures.
You can get her fun tone and love for travel right from the start of the book:
“My name is Julia Dimon and, i’ll admit it… I’m an addict. I think about it 24/7, I dream about it. I crave it. The hunger is insatiable. It’s not my fault really, they say it’s hereditary, carried down from naughty gene to naughty gene. There’s no denying that I’ve got it bad. Yes. it’s true… I have a problem. I am a hard-core travel junkie.”
Why you should read it: Not only does it contain tips to have the time of your life, it also contains tips and tricks for cheap and budget travel.
A House in the Sky
By Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
This travel memoir from Amanda is based on her experience of being abducted in Somalia. Amanda talks about how her love for travel led her to visit places which are not common among tourists like Pakistan, Sudan and Syria.
She could never have imagined the situation as she was abducted on her fourth day in Somalia. A House in the Sky, as the title suggests, alludes to the power of pure imagination, which is what helped Amanda keep her sanity in times of extreme struggle and brutality.
She further explains:
“In my mind, I built stairways. At the end of the stairways, I imagined rooms. These were high, airy places with big windows and a cool breeze moving through. I imagined one room opening brightly onto another room until I’d built a house, a place with hallways and more staircases.
I built many houses, one after another, and those gave rise to a city — a calm, sparkling city near the ocean, a place like Vancouver. I put myself there, and that’s where I lived, in the wide-open sky of my mind.
I made friends and read books and went running on a footpath in a jewel-green park along the harbour. I ate pancakes drizzled in syrup and took baths and watched sunlight pour through trees.
This wasn’t longing, and it wasn’t insanity. It was relief. It got me through.”
Why you should read it: Curiosity and caution go hand in hand. Amanda’s story is shocking yet powerful and is one of adventure like no other.
Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
by Robyn Davidson
Robyn is one daring woman who decided to trek 1,700 miles from desert to sea in Australia.
During her travels, all she had for company was 4 camels and a dog, no one else. She decided that she was brave enough to do it and never looked back.
“There are some moments in life that are like pivots around which your existence turns—small intuitive flashes, when you know you have done something correct for a change, when you think you are on the right track.
I watched a pale dawn streak the cliffs with Day-glo and realized this was one of them. It was a moment of pure, uncomplicated confidence—and lasted about ten seconds.”
Why you should read it: Sometimes some things seem too far out of reach. This memoir is a reminder that nothing is stronger than the human spirit.
Four Corners: A Journey Into the Heart of Papua New Guinea
by Kira Salak
In this uber inspirational book for women, the author shares her journey across undiscovered Papua New Guinea over the course of 3 months.
The number 1 thing that you are going to notice about Kira is that she has a way with words and the way she tells her story will captivate and hook you.
She writes about possibilities and says:
“To Whom It May Concern–
Only four words of advice: It can be done.”
This memoir is more of a thriller and will not only discuss beautiful landscapes but also teach you powerful lessons about life. The one that really spoke to us was:
“…I don’t know where a utopia is supposed to be, or where one could be found. I sometimes think that it is the place where fear and doubt end with the realization that around you is everything you need, and there is nothing else to find.”
Why you should read it: Filled with interesting encounters with guerilla fighters, tribal people and expats, Kira will make you fall in love with this underrated Paradise.
West with the Night
by Beryl Markham
In this inspiring book, Markham talks about her life and her love for travel.
She shares that even though she is of English descent, she moved to Kenya at a young age and that probably kicked off her love for exploration.
Beyond being a writer, she was also the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and this book is bound to inspire you to your core.
West with the Night is surely a book that will have you at a loss for words.
Ernest Hemingway was so impressed with Markham that he wrote:
“She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer . . . [She] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers . . . It is really a bloody wonderful book.”
Why you should read it: Because her narration style is beautiful!! This is just an example:
“You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. You learn to watch other people, but you never watch yourself because you strive against loneliness.
If you read a book, or shuffle a deck of cards, or care for a dog, you are avoiding yourself. The abhorrence of loneliness is as natural as wanting to live at all.
If it were otherwise, men would never have bothered to make an alphabet, nor to have fashioned words out of what were only animal sounds, nor to have crossed continents – each man to see what the other looked like.”
Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will
by Judith Schalansky
When you travel frequently to many known places, curiosity starts to kick in and leads you to far flung destinations off the beaten path.
In this book, Judith illustrates her voyage to fifty islands some of which are too far away for comfort, and she does an excellent job explaining the destinations and the landscapes of such remote and unknown places.
She also writes about how the atlas and maps are essential for a traveler:
“Consulting maps can diminish the wanderlust that they awaken, as the act of looking at them can replace the act of travel. But looking at maps is much more than an act of aesthetic replacement.
Anyone who opens an atlas wants everything at once, without limits–the whole world. This longing will always be great, far greater than any satisfaction to be had by attaining what is desired.
Give me an atlas over a guidebook any day. There is no more poetic book in the world.”
Why you should read it: Judith will remind you that human connection is so pure that you will even find it in the most remote places and it is the only connection that matters.
Swell: A Sailing Surfer’s Voyage of Awakening
By Liz Clark
Growing up, Liz had only one dream – to sail across the world.
Soon enough she found a mentor who helped her realize her dream at the young age of 25.
In her pursuit, she traveled around 20,000 miles in 10 years and visited places like Mexico, Panama and Bora Bora. The book recounts her adventures.
Michael Robertson from Good Old Boat magazine comments about her book using the following words:
“I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone ― not sailors, not women, not young people, everyone. I loved it.”
Why you should read it: This is not your usual travel memoir of a woman who goes traveling, finds love and all is well. Swell is different. Swell will lead you on a journey inside yourself as Liz understands herself better through her expeditions.
Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle
By Dervla Murphy
Dervla doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk as she sets out on a journey through Europe starting from the heart of Asia.
Travel accounts of South Asia can be pretty biased, but Dervla does a remarkable job putting the fear of danger aside and basking in the beauty of all that this land has to offer and traveling across on nothing except a bicycle (and armed with a gun).
For many, the author is one of the most well traveled women in the world.
“For it is not death or hardship that is a fearful thing, but the fear of death and hardship.”
Why you should read it: This beautiful account of Dervla’s journey from Ireland to the legacy filled Persia, from the terrains of Afghanistan to the Himalayas of Pakistan leading to India, Full Tilt will give you a fresh perspective on Asia.
Lands Of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road
By Kate Harris
In this inspirational book for women, Kate talks about the “paradoxical freedom” that paddling the world on a bicycle has given us. In her memorable travelogue she writes about her journey on the Silk Road and what it has taught her.
An adventure through some of the most majestic and incredible parts of the world, steeped in history and filled with blue tiles.
Kate admits how traveling on a bicycle will change your life forever:
“In restricting the range of directions you can travel, in charging ordinary movement with momentum, a bike trip offers that rarest, most elusive of things in our frenetic world: clarity of purpose. Your sole responsibility on Earth, as long as your legs last each day, is to breathe, pedal, breathe—and look around.”
Why you should read it: She talks about interesting parables. For example she explains that every heartbeat signifies that we took certain roads and we have forsaken others to end up where we are right now, right at this moment. It will definitely be a memorable read!
Travels In A Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile
By Sara Wheeler
Antarctic expert Sara Wheeler, wrote this mix of political feuds, people she came across and the places she visited as she traveled from the north to the south of Chile.
The book is pretty insightful and will help you compare and contrast Chile from the 1990s with how it has evolved over time.
Her other books, most notably the ones on Antarctica, are great insights into one of the least explored parts of the world.
The New Statesman describes her writing as:
“Always lively and informative, sketching in the history with a light but sure touch . . . she admirably conveys the mood of contemporary Chile.”
Why you should read it: Sara’s accounts are not only interesting because of her travels but also because of her historic and geographic viewpoint.
By Maurice Herzog
This incredible mountain adventure story by Maurice Herzog and other members from the French Alpine Club is an amazing thriller.
As the members decide to climb the Himalayan peak called Annapurna which is 26,493 feet in height, they soon learn that it takes both grit and courage to complete the task at hand.
This near death experience will not only give you an adrenaline rush but will also inform you about the perils of extreme climbs including frostbite.
The wording chosen by the author is simple yet powerful.
“The mountains had bestowed on us their beauties, and we adored them with a child’s simplicity and revered them with a monk’s veneration of the divine. Annapurna.”
Why you should read it: Sometimes we seek thrill and decide to take a journey, but what will lead to success is perseverance in challenging circumstances.
Into the wild
By Jon Krakauer
Into the wild is the phenomenal yet heart-breaking story of Christopher Johnson McCandless who abandoned the comfort of his home, donated his life savings of $25,000 to charity and hitchhiked across Alaska.
The journey gave him a new life, however he was found dead by moose hunters four months later. This story is going to stay with you for a while because of how much it will teach you about life. It was also adapted into a movie of the same name directed by Sean Penn.
Why you should read it:
This excerpt from the book will give you a strong reason why you should read this book:
“I’d like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt.
So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
The Motorcycle Diaries
By Che Guevara
The Motorcycle Diaries was not only a New York Times bestseller but has also been adapted into a famous movie.
This travel diary is about a 23 year old who sets on a journey across South America and shares what he sees and learns.
Needless to say, we all know where El Che ended his days and how his life progressed after that trip.
January Magazine writes about the book and comments:
“As his journey progresses, Guevara’s voice seems to deepen, to darken, colored by what he witnesses in his travels. He is still poetic, but now he comments on what he sees, though still poetically, with a new awareness of the social and political ramifications of what’s going on around him.”
Why you should read it: The diary talks about the daily struggles of travel and the famous author and political figure does a remarkable job in portraying Latin America in the 1950s.
The Great Railway Bazaar
By Paul Theroux
Well written and incredibly prolific travel writer Paul Theroux recounts his adventure onboard various trains throughout Asia which led him to the most interesting places.
He took the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express and finally the Trans-Siberian Express.
He also visited Japan on his journey, he writes about the possibilities which can emerge on a train:
“Anything is possible on a train: a great meal, a binge, a visit from card players, an intrigue, a good night’s sleep, and strangers’ monologues framed like Russian short stories.”
Why you should read it: Paul will give you a unique perspective on traveling the world by train and will leave a lasting impression on you as he talks about his odyssey.
Last but not least, this list of great books for women needed some fantastic travel books to inspire wanderlust, exploration, tolerance and respect for other cultures.
By Sara Wheeler
Another excellent piece of prose in which Wheeler explains the tales and experiences from her seven month visit to Antarctica.
The usual metaphors, the vivid descriptions and story-telling – everything is on point in this incredibly inspiring book for women.
As the Telegraph puts it:
“A triumph . . . I cannot believe that anything better will ever be written about Antarctica.”
Why you should read it: If adventure is at the heart of who you are, this is just the right book for you as Sara takes you with her on the journey to the extreme climate and conditions of the cold yet exotic Antarctica.
Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan
by Naomi Duguid
If there was a book with descriptions of food and culinary experiences that will make you drool, this book is it!
Naomi dives deep into the flavors of Persia and shares her experience with scrumptious kebabs, golden hued saffron, distinct and flavor filled condiments and yummy rice stews which would take you to paradise.
As The New York Times puts it, this book is:
“A reason to celebrate . . . a fascinating culinary excursion.”
Why you should read it: Not only is Taste of Persia a treat for your taste buds, it also includes excellent photography of locals, delicious recipes and incredible cooking suggestions.
The Ultimate Guide for the Solo Woman in Italy
by Sierra Busch
This solo travel guide by Sierra Busch is the ultimate travel guide for the solo woman in Italy; your guide to eating more authentically, shopping locally, and traveling off the beaten path in one of the biggest bucketlist destinations for solo women.
This is the most comprehensive e-book to learn the skills, strategies, and tools you need to finally take the leap and travel solo in Italy–safely, confidently, and with an Italy expert in your back pocket!
The book helps you shift your mindset to break down the barriers holding you back, gives you creative journal prompts to help you capture the details of your journey, and covers “taboo” topics like romantic adventures in Italy and women’s health on the road.
Why you should read it: This e-book is for any woman traveling to Italy alone, wanting to approach locals and get inside the culture for a truly immersive experience, as well as looking to plan a trip like a pro and master logistics for stress-free travel.
Solo in Salento: A Memoir
by Donna Keel Armer
Donna was raised never to lie, but she was desperate to break out of a life haunted by a wretched past, a loss of faith, toxic relationships, and a slow sink into domestication.
Her life had stalled after an extensive and stressful management career in public and private sectors and early retirement. She craved time away from everything and everyone, including her loving husband. To give herself permission to take a personal journey, she lied, telling everyone she was traveling alone to do research for a historical fiction she intended to write.
While in Otranto, Donna learned how to master the complexity of a recycling system in a country where she didn’t speak the language. In the process, she discovered by applying these same trash rules to her own life she could sort, recycle, and discard the personal garbage that had plagued her over a lifetime.
Why you should read it: The book’s universal themes of personal growth and travel invite you to come along. Active travelers, solo travelers, courageous wanna be travelers, and armchair travelers enthusiasts alike will be drawn into the magic. The Italian-American community as well as anyone who has traveled to or wants to travel to Italy will relish this transformational story filled with music, mosaics, mysterious sacred places, culinary delights, and the possibility of being kidnapped.
Island of the Lost: An Extraordinary Story of Survival at the Edge of the World
by Joann Druitt
This award-winning book by Joann is a remarkable account of two shipwrecks which take place 285 miles south of New Zealand off Auckland Island. Joann tells the story of how the crew learns to survive, plans to escape and even resorts to cannibalism just to stay alive.
Island of the Lost earned deserving acclaims and received several accolades.
Entertainment Weekly wrote:
“Druett’s well-researched account earns its place in any good collection of survival literature.”
Why you should read it: This well-written account by the maritime historian is bound to appeal to all the thrill-seekers and adventure lovers because sometimes adventure turns into a struggle to survive where one’s focus is just to make it to the next day.
Love With a Chance of Drowning
by Torre DeRoche
It might sound like another typical romance, but it’s not!! Love with a Chance of Drowning is a fun book in which the writer finds herself agreeing to sail across the Pacific Ocean in a 32-feet boat with her newly found boyfriend.
As she talks about her love for travel, Torre also shares an important lesson:
“Life’s most beautiful things are empty without somebody to share them with.”
Why you should read it: Torre shares her journey across idyllic islands in the Marquesas, Tonga and the Cook Islands and she is bound to inspire you to overcome your fears even if it is on boats and to sail to the unknown because this is where the adventure begins.
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
by David Grann
David has a way with writing, he shares with great skill the accounts of people including a South American explorer Percy Fawcett who journeyed through the Amazon in search of the mythical lost city of Z.
He shares various stories about the people who searched for the fabled city of Z and how some had “mysterious” deaths and disappeared.
This book is such a masterpiece that it even won acclaim by Malcom Gladwell. He said:
“The story of Z goes to the heart of the central questions of our age. In the battle between man and a hostile environment, who wins? A fascinating and brilliant book.”
Apart from the travel and adventure appeal, David talks about how indigenous communities are destroyed by outsiders. He writes:
“‘Anthropologists,’ Heckenberger said, ‘made the mistake of coming into the Amazon in the twentieth century and seeing only small tribes and saying, ‘Well, that’s all there is.’’
The problem is that, by then, many Indian populations had already been wiped out by what was essentially a holocaust from European contact. That’s why the first Europeans in the Amazon described such massive settlements that, later, no one could ever find.”
Why you should read it: David will keep you on your toes by gripping you with his account of the Amazon and will appeal to your inner explorer.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time Paperback
by Mark Adams
Adams writes exhaustively about everything that you need to know about the Sacred Valley of the Incas along the Urubamba River, the Inca Civilization, Ollantaytambo and beyond.
National Geographic described the book as:
“A serious (and seriously funny) travelogue, a smart and tightly written history, and an investigative report into perhaps the greatest archaeological discovery in the last century.”
Why you should read it: It is a story of Hiram Bingham III who is known to have “discovered” Machu Picchu and will give you a perspective of someone who climbed the Andes Mountains of Peru to find an undiscovered citadel.
Memories of Silk and Straw: A Self-Portrait of Small-Town Japan
by Junichi Saga, Susumu Saga (Illustrator), Garry Evans (Translator)
Junichi Saga does a phenomenal job in painting the picture of Pre-Second World War Japan. It is a collective biography of a doctor who shares the lives of different people with distinct occupations.
The interesting accounts include a horse-meat butcher, a midwife, a local farmer, a carpenter, a blacksmith, rice merchant and about fifty other professionals.
The book does an excellent job of painting a picture of historic Japan in which there were no high-rises and technology and life was quiet and simple.
In the end of the book, some illustrations by Junichi’s father are included to share how Japan looked at that time. So grab a warm cup of tea and:
“Come, sit down by the fire, and listen to the grandparents tell stories about “how it was in the old days” in a small lakeside town just north of Tokyo”.
Why you should read it: We know Tokyo as one of the mega-cities but this book will take you deeper into a town in north-east Tokyo and will act as a reminder that even empires have humble beginnings.
Eat, Pray, Love
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth’s story is one of renewal and finding herself after her divorce. She journeys through Italy, India and Indonesia in search of deeper meaning. She hopes that she can find answers.
Her travels inspire her to find a world inside of herself. The book was also adapted into a film which features Julia Roberts, however the book is far more awe-inspiring and profound.
She beautifully explains:
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.
And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
Why you should read it: Eat, Pray, Love is very relatable as it discusses the main theme of happiness that sometimes we get too busy in life that we forget what truly matters.
Everything You Ever Taught Me: If you’ve a lot on your mind, go for a walk…
By Person Irresponsible
Person Irresponsible’s story is about being a woman in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Since she couldn’t afford the Ferrari, and couldn’t be bothered having an affair, she went from perfectly locatable in the Cotswolds, UK, to utterly bewildered living in the wilderness of America when she set about walking from Mexico to Canada.
“Everything You Ever Taught Me” charts the real journey of forty-something female in her fourth year of sobriety. Though this is not a drunkalogue – it’s a record of everything she learnt in the rooms of AA that got her ‘practising the principles’ in a quest to walk 2,650 miles across America, following the Pacific Crest Trail.
The book chronicles her journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail during the 2020 pandemic.
Why you should read it: This book doesn’t pull any punches. It tackles the topic of women’s drinking and offers real insights into the life of alcoholic recovery. It will give you a real, raw account of what it’s like to hike the famed Pacific Crest Trail, as well as the quirks of navigating a foreign country, and it’s written in a way which is both side-achingly funny, and refreshingly honest.
It’s What I Do
By Lynsey Addario
Addario is famous for her journalism in war-torn areas. She also captured stories and photographs of women in the Congo and Afghanistan, for example. This travel memoir focuses on kidnappings and abductions during the Libyan Civil War.
Entertainment Weekly comments on her work and writes:
“The opening scene of Lynsey Addario’s memoir sucker punches you like a cold hard fist.
She illuminates the daily frustrations of working within the confines of what the host culture expects from a member of her sex and her constant fight for respect from her male journalist peers and American soldiers.
Always she leads with her chin, whether she’s on the ground in hostile territory or discussing politics.”
Why you should read it: These heartbreaking stories will tell you about the world which we are totally unaware of but it exists, right here with us.
By Lauren Elkin
In one sentence, this is all about megacities. Elkin talks about how women in the streets differ from Paris to Tokyo to Venice and London walk their own walk. She notices the subtle similarities and differences in the strides of women.
Jane Kamensky writes in the Wall Street Journal about the book and describes it as such:
“Lauren Elkin brings breadth and depth to a cocktail party crowded with genius . . . Her historical and literary portraits take their power from her talent for seeing aslant, making the familiar strange and vice versa . . . Ms. Elkin’s clear-eyed view of her own flâneuserie is one of the charms of a book that is pedestrian in the best possible sense: It makes you want to walk.”
Why you should read it: Elkin is inspired both from history and her own life and shares the relationship of women with different metropolitan cities.
Imagine Wanting Only This
By Kristen Radtke
In her travel memoir, Kristen walks you through ghost towns, ruins, abandoned buildings and leads you to far-fetched locations. It all begins when her uncle passes away and Kristen encounters an abandoned mining town.
Kristen’s phenomenal memoir also received praise from Forbes:
“This delicate, multi-layered mediation on memory, loss and the allure of abandoned spaces is an astonishingly sure-footed first work….
Radtke’s clear and earnest linework adds a dimension that elevates it above the standard ‘young person’s memoir’ genre, while bringing the narrative strengths of contemporary literary non-fiction to the graphic novel format.”
Why you should read it: This book will leave a lasting impression on you and will have you asking questions like “Why are we here and what will we leave behind?
Tales Of A Female Nomad
By Rita Golden Gelman
In 1986, being a digital nomad was not very common. Nevertheless, Gelman sold everything to lead a different life from what people at the time knew. She traveled from Mexico to the Galapagos and recorded every detail with exuberance in her memoir.
The Book List talks about her travel memoir and writes:
“Gelman doesn’t just observe the cultures she visits, she participates in them, becoming emotionally involved in the people’s lives. This is an amazing travelogue.”
Why you should read it: As Gelman works to make her dreams a reality, it will encourage you to do the same!
The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels
by Freya Stark
In the 1930s, traveling solo to the Middle East was not a common journey. Freya Stark did it all on a small budget and with a huge will. She learnt Arabic and her travels took her off the well-worn path as she encountered and came across plunderers and thieves.
Not only did she charm and impress everyone that she came across in her travels, she also has a way with words.
“If I were asked to enumerate the pleasures of travel, this would be one of the greatest among them – that so often and so unexpectedly you meet the best in human nature, and seeing it so by surprise and often with a most improbable background, you come, with a sense of pleasant thankfulness, to realize how widely scattered in the world are goodness and courtesy and the love of immaterial things, fair blossoms found in every climate, on every soil.”
Why you should read it: We often talk about our limitations but if one woman can follow her heart in 1930, so can we!
Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere
by Jan Morris
A woman soldier in Italy shares her experiences in Trieste and it will make you fall in love with Italy. Set in 1946, Jan describes Italy during the Second World War and Post War Era and also talks about how it changed over time when she visited again later in her life.
She also talks about the significance of Trieste:
“For some years, Trieste was a murky exchange for the commodities most coveted in the deprived societies of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia.”
by Candacy Taylor
This is rightfully called “The Guide to Black Travel”. In the previous century, it was not common to sell gas to black travelers, so the Green Book was published to outline hotels and stations which were open to them.
Taylor’s guide builds on the Green Book and discusses how black travelers can still find a way to make their dreams come true in a way that is safe and convenient.
Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund wrote about Taylor’s book:
“With passion, conviction, and clarity, [Candacy] Taylor’s book unearths a fascinating and true—if not willfully obscure—history of African American activism and entrepreneurship in the United States.
This remarkable study broadens our understanding of black life, leisure, and struggles for equality in twentieth-century America, presents the Green Book as a social movement in response to a crisis in black travel, and makes a compelling case for the need to protect more diverse African American sites that have been heretofore underappreciated.”
Why you should read it: White privilege is real and it is also true that the travel space has evolved over years and become more inclusive. This book will educate you in these concepts.
Gift from the Sea
by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The author, who is also an aviator, talks about the things that inspired her when she was on Florida’s Captiva Island. She collects beautiful shells and talks about how the sea in itself is an inspiring gift.
“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith.
Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
Why you should read it: Because you will learn a fresh perspective and in Anne’s own words, “I must remember to see with island eyes”.
Land of the Dawn-Lit Mountains
by Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
Antonia’s book is all about fighting internal struggles to follow your heart. Antonia had severe panic disorder but this did not stop her and she decided to take a journey in Arunachal Pradesh which is a less touristy place in India.
She draws beautiful illustrations with her words as she shares her experiences, her encounters with the locals, the historic accounts and the landscape.
Ted Simon, author of Jupiter’s Travels writes:
“With tremendous verve and determination Antonia plunges through an extraordinary world. Thank heavens she survived to tell this vivid and thoughtful tale.”
Why you should read it: Everybody talks about the beauty of Jodhpur and New Delhi but this lesser known region of India will blow your mind!
End of the rope: Mountains, Marriage and Motherhood
By Jan Redford
This travelogue is more of a thriller with accounts of the author’s near death experiences. She talks about how some fields are harder than others and rock climbing is definitely one of them. This story is all about breaking stereotypes and pursuing them even when the odds are stacked against you.
Jan will definitely inspire you to try rock climbing, at least once! John Vaillant, author of The Tiger states:
“Jan Redford is a bad-ass. She is also a born storyteller.”
Why you should read it: Thinking rock climbing is too extreme for you? This book will inspire you to your core!
She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild
By Gale Straub
Gale follows the journey of 40 inspirational, smart and adventure-loving women with a passion for the outdoors. She shares how the group seeks adventure and goes out to explore the wild.
Filled with amazing tips on hiking, camping, trekking and outdoor photography, this book is bound to become your next go-to before you head out into nature.
“The mountains do not discriminate; they don’t care who you are, where you came from, or what your skin color is. They demand your respect.”
Why you should read it: This is not just another travel book! It is also about outdoorsy friends and a travel-loving sisterhood who set out for a journey to have the time of their lives.
Under The Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy
By Frances Mayes
The story revolves around Frances buying an abandoned Villa in Tuscany and life starts to unravel in front of her.
As she starts to learn more about the Tuscan countryside, its markets and its people, she also starts to learn about herself. You can also follow Frances’s inner and outer journey in the film adaptation.
Tuscany is a vibrant place and Frances writes:
“My idea of heaven still is to drive the gravel farm roads of Umbria and Tuscany, very pleasantly lost.”
Why you should read it: Embedded in this Tuscan travelogue is a journey to self-realization and falling in love with one’s own self.
The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost
by Rachel Freidman
Rachel writes her story about an uncanny friendship between an American and an Australian girl with a free spirit. The memoir covers the span of one year and includes her journey to three different continents.
Through this friendship Rachel realizes that she has been a “good” girl all her life and life is too short and adventure is what makes life interesting and worth living.
Her lessons are memorable:
“I imagine the people whose lives are most intertwined with mine, and I realize life has gone on without me. The planet has not imploded because I, the girl who has always done what is expected of her, decided not to, just this once.”
Why you should read it: It is an incredible mix of how an amazing friendship and incredible travel experiences can shape you for better.
By Dierdre Wolownick
Dierdre is the mother of Alex Honnold, a world famous climber that free solo climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Yet she is a huge name and a source of motivation herself. She is the oldest woman to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Her story is inspirational and that of pure determination and strength.
Kirkus Reviews has nothing but massive respect for her:
“The author proves that age is just a number and that determination and grit can take a person to unexpected heights. For her, that meant conquering El Capitan at the age of 66.
Wolownick’s story of her drive to push her physical body beyond her mental limits will serve as a stimulant for those yearning to do more with their lives. A motivational tale of a woman who overcame her biggest critics, including her inner self, to achieve one dream after another.”
Why you should read it: If she can climb El Capitan at 66, you can surely do anything you set your mind to!
Queen Of The Desert: The Extraordinary Life Of Gertrude Bell
By Georgina Howell
150 years ago solo travel for women was not as common as it is today. It was almost unheard of but Gertrude Bell was courageous enough to pursue her dreams. She made a name for herself as one of the early women travelers in Renaissance history.
She was also a scholar in addition to an adventure-seeker and she made it through the Arabian Desert and learnt immensely from the natives she encountered.
Her writing is insightful as she writes:
“From the point of view of most of the Arabs, another foreign conqueror, heretic and Western, had come into their land, evicted their Muslim occupier and claimed the local people to have been liberated.
Then, like all the others, it established itself as the ruling authority.”
Why you should read it: Female Solo Travel was not as common as it is today. Learn from the example of Gertrude, prepare yourself for the journey and follow your heart! You can do it too!!
A Dip In The Ocean: Rowing Solo Across The Indian Ocean
By Sarah Outen
Sometimes the worst and most heartbreaking experiences can turn our life around for the better. This was the case for Sarah. She thought that her life was over when her father passed away but she didn’t lose herself.
She persisted and set out on a journey across the Indian Ocean and she crossed with so much courage that she made three world records in the process. She was the youngest person and first woman to cross the Indian Ocean rowing solo.
National Geographic Traveller described the book as:
“A book to stroke your adventurous streak . . . gripping.”
Why you should read it: Break free of your pain. Letting go and being yourself is the surest way to heal.
Wild Mama: One Woman’s Quest To Live Her Best Life, Escape Traditional Parenthood, And Travel The World
By Carrie Visintainer
Usually we are too scared of commitments, relationships and parenthood. Carrie navigates it all and keeps her dreams alive at the same time.
She finds the strength to climb out of the deep dark rabbit hole and realized that family does not get in the way of travel dreams, it is all about how you tackle things.
Paula Lee, author of Deer Hunting in Paris reviewed the book and said:
“Candid, funny, and mesmerizingly honest, Carrie Visintainer’s Wild Mama is a subtle guidebook to being a modern woman. From the parking lot of Walmart to the shores of Mexico, this book provides the pleasures of pure discovery. A delight.”
Why you should read it: For all traveling mamas and mamas to be, this one’s for you!!
The Virago Book Of Women Travellers
By Mary Morris
Travel and History books are filled with accounts of men conquering territories, trekking mountains, climbing peaks, sailing across oceans and doing all that there is.
This interesting book covers precious stories and collections of writings by phenomenal women who were passionate about travel and adventure. Mary will remind you that there is nothing which is out of reach.
Her writing style is beyond beautiful:
“The late John Gardner once said that there are only two plots in all of literature. You go on a journey or a stranger comes to town. Since women, for many years, were denied the journey, they were left with only one plot in their lives — to await the stranger. Indeed, there is essentially no picaresque tradition among women novelists. While the latter part of the twentieth century has seen a change of tendency, women’s literature from Austen to Woolf is by and large a literature about waiting, usually for love.”
Why you should read it: Get inspired by amazing women from diverse backgrounds who share your love for travel!
Never a Stranger
By Tania Romanov
Never a Stranger is a multicultural story of different experiences that Tania has while traveling to different countries. She spent most of her early years in Croatia and Russia but she sets out to visit different places.
From Bhutan to Namibia, Japan to India, she learns the subtle differences in cultures and values of people. This exposure to different cultures and traditions helps her to acquire a greater sense of her own being.
Catherine Karnow, National Geographic photographer and author of Vietnam: 25 Years of Documenting a Changing Country reviews Tania’s masterpiece and writes:
“When I look at Tania’s images, I want to stay with them for a very long time, and then return to them over and over.
She creates an emotional space for people to feel safe and embraced. The photographs show a compassion and a love for people that is deeply honest and profoundly moving.”
Why you should read it: Tania’s story is not just about travel and connection it is also about self-realization and finding fulfillment.
The Wrong Way Home: London To Sydney The Hard Way
By Peter Moore
Too often travelogues encompass the beauty of the place and the destination. Peter Moore takes a different approach and talks about people living in those places.
He meets different people each with their unique story which teaches him a lot not only about the place but also about the culture. He has several encounters which include people stricken with war in Bosnia, the beautiful Iranian girls, and crossing the Himalayas from Pakistan to Afghanistan. All extremely interesting to read about.
He takes a different approach in his writing:
“If there is one thing I’ve discovered in all my travels, it’s that you can’t take Italians anywhere… They strolled leisurely, smiling and waving, convinced that the crowd had gathered to see them. The really annoying thing is that they look so damn stylish doing it.”
Why you should read it: Perspectives from different people will open your mind to a whole new world!
In A Sunburned Country
by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is an internationally acclaimed travel writer and his books are nothing short of inspirational. It was too tough to pick one book. This book covers his expeditions to Australia.
He travels from east to west and includes interesting accounts and lists of places which are less known including some coastal cities and mining towns.
His writing style is also somewhat amusing:
“Australians are very unfair in this way. They spend half of any conversation insisting that the country’s dangers are vastly overrated and that there’s nothing to worry about, and the other half telling you how six months ago their Uncle Bob was driving to Mudgee when a tiger snake slid out from under the dashboard and bit him on the groin, but that it’s okay now because he’s off the life support machine and they’ve discovered he can communicate with eye blinks.”
Why you should read it: The trivia in his accounts definitely add to the description and will make you both excited and scared (because of snakes, reptiles and crocodiles!!)
by Gregory David Roberts
This interesting novel takes place in modern Bombay in which a convict from Australia flees to India and discovers and sees another side of the country.
He sees beggars, prostitutes, robbers and all types of people in the street and shares what life looks like for the majority of the people in Bombay.
His writings are profound, he explains in Shantaram:
“Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.”
Why you should read it: The character development from being an angry convict to a deep person who forms genuine relationships is phenomenal!
Out of Africa
By Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)
Karen is a Danish born woman who shifts to Nairobi after buying a coffee plantation covering 4,000 acres of land. She stayed in Kenya from 1914 to 1931 with her husband.
During her stay, she learnt that the locals have a way with storytelling and this also reflects in her memories. She has a way with words and she can weave realistic tapestries with her writing capability. She took the pen name Isak Dinesen after returning home.
For example, look at this excerpt!
“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue.
They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will.
The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that these things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control.
Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of…”
Why you should read it: Her story is captivating and the descriptions will make you feel as though you are walking with her. The film adaptation starring Meryl Streep as Blixen is brilliant.
7 years in Tibet
By Heinrich Harrer
More commonly known from the movie starring Brad Pitt, this book is written by an Austrian writer and narrates how he escaped an internment camp in India and stayed in Tibet for the next seven years as he brushes paths with the young 14th Dalai Lama.
His time in Tibet became one of the most beautiful times of his life as he explains:
“Wherever I live, I shall feel homesick for Tibet. I often think I can still hear the cries of wild geese and cranes and the beating of their wings as they fly over Lhasa in the clear, cold moonlight.
My heartfelt wish is that my story may create some understanding for a people whose will to live in peace and freedom has won so little sympathy from an indifferent world.”
Why you should read it: This is an inspiring read about life, culture and religion in Tibet.
What I was doing while you were breeding
By Kristin Newman
Kristin writes candidly about her 20s and 30s which were spent attending friends’ weddings and baby showers, however she was just not ready to settle.
She would travel every year and seeked thrills and adventure, after all this was the only thing that made sense to her. She talks about how she morphs into “Kristin Adjacent” when she is traveling who is a more fun, free and wild version of herself.
Her book is extremely interesting, she writes:
“When you travel, you’re forced to have new thoughts. ‘Is this alley safe?’ ‘Is this the right bus?’ ‘Was this meat ever a house pet?’ It doesn’t even matter what the new thoughts are, it feels so good to just have some variety.
And it’s a reboot for your brain. I can feel the neurons making new connections again with new problems to solve, clawing their way back to their nimbler, younger days.”
Why you should read it: It is both funny and honest as Kristin shares both her love affairs with the planet and the natives.
By Paulo Coelho
Hippie is a personal story from Paulo and his partner and how they travel to Nepal in search of peace, freedom and love.
The book is nothing too overwhelming and Coelho uses a calm and soft tone which will encourage introspection to think about your life decisions.
For example, this is a soulful excerpt:
“A man in search of spirituality knows little, because he reads of it and tries to fill his intellect with what he judges wise. Trade your books for madness and wonder—then you will be a bit closer to what you seek.
Books bring us opinions and studies, analyses and comparisons, while the sacred flame of madness brings us to the truth.”
Why you should read it: In this autobiography from Paulo Coelho you get a glimpse into the famed author’s own life which will inspire you to follow your heart.
Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story
By Tony and Maureen Wheeler
Tony and Maureen tell their honest story of how they developed Lonely Planet from scratch and how passion is what fueled them despite all obstacles.
Lonely Planet has grown into the largest travel publishing company and they discuss the opportunities, setbacks, company history and several lessons that they learnt along the way.
Publishers Weekly spoke highly of the book, describing it as:
“…a lively autobiography that is as interesting, informative and amusing as their series itself…This look back at their almost 40-year career divided neatly into thirds, with the first energetically covering their various travels while they get their business off the ground;
…the second frankly detailing why their early and ‘often fairly shoddy productions’ became popular because they “were still better than anything else around”; and the third refreshingly discussing their current business ventures.”
Why you should read it: With hard work and grit you cannot just travel, you can create the most successful travel company in the world.
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town
By Paul Theroux
Paul will take you with him on his peculiar travels across the Middle East and Africa on this adventure of a lifetime.
Starting in Cairo, he crosses dangerous and unruly borders, some of which are unstable and filled with armed men as he compares these countries to his previous trip, decades before. Some countries are better off, some do not seem to have developed much, but the adventure does not disappoint.
He shares in his book:
“Travel is transition, and at its best it is a journey from home, a setting forth. I hated parachuting into a place. I needed to be able to link one place to another.
One of the problems I had with travel in general was the ease and speed with which a person could be transported from the familiar to the strange, the moon shot whereby the New York office worker, say, is insinuated overnight into the middle of Africa to gape at gorillas.
That was just a way of feeling foreign. The other way, going slowly, crossing national frontiers, scuttling past razor wire with my bag and my passport, was the best way of being reminded that there was a relationship between Here and There, and that a travel narrative was the story of There and Back.”
Why you should read it: Paul’s book includes a panoramic view of Africa and includes a rich combination of history, society and adventure.
By Paulo Coelho
Another amazing book by Coelho. We couldn’t resist including this. Coelho talks about the pilgrimage that he takes as he tries to find his path setting out on the journey across Santiago de Compostela.
This book, like his other books, have an element of spiritualism, he writes:
“When we both experienced the love that consumes, we shared in the Absolute. The Absolute shows each of us who we really are; it is an enormous web of cause and effect, where every small gesture made by one person affects the life of someone else.
This morning, that slice of the Absolute was still very much alive in my soul. I was seeing not only you but everything there is in the world, unlimited by space or time.”
Why you should read it: An insightful read which will lead you to discovery of your own self.
The Journey Home
By Radhanath Swami
Inner harmony and union combines with the Divine to bring a sense of mysticism in Radhanath’s book. He writes about how the quest and search for divine truth took him from Chicago to the tracks of the Himalayas.
He called his travels, “a journey home” because he felt that he was led to where he truly belonged.
“Man cannot be enlightened through any organization, creed, dogma, priest or ritual, nor through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique.
He has to find it through understanding the contents of his own mind, through observation, not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.”
Why you should read it: Let Radhanath be your spiritual guide as he blends mysticism with travel in this heart-warming and humorous read.
By Wilfred Thesiger
Thesiger takes an unforgettable journey across the Middle East where he learns that most people have never seen a European. He also learns that religious openness is almost unheard of.
He notices the traditions and the markets and how widely they differ from Europe and records it all in his book.
His account is heartwarming, he ponders and writes:
“I pondered on this desert hospitality and compared it with our own. I remembered other encampments where I had slept, small tents on which I had happened in the Syrian desert and where I had spent the night.
Gaunt men in rags and hungry-looking children had greeted me, and bade me welcome with the sonorous phrases of the desert.
Later they had set a great dish before me, rice heaped round a sheep which they had slaughtered, over which my host poured liquid golden butter until it flowed down on to the sand; and when I protested, saying ‘Enough! Enough!’, had answered that I was a hundred times welcome.
Their lavish hospitality had always made me uncomfortable, for I had known that as a result of it they would go hungry for days. Yet when I left them they had almost convinced me that I had done them a kindness by staying with them.”
Why you should read it: Wilfred’s Arabian Sands should be your number one book if you want to understand the Middle East better!
My Journey to Lhasa
By Alexandra David–Neel
In 1923, Lhasa was Tibet’s forbidden city, but Alexandra mustered her courage, dressed herself as a beggar and learnt Tibetan language to enter the city as a local. The picture painted by her words is remarkable!!
Outside magazine comments about her:
“David-Neel was indisputably a fearless traveler, a rogue’s rogue. Her account has the power to awe even today.”
Why you should read it: Alexandra’s account of Tibetan culture and religion will make you fall in love with it!
Married to Bhutan
By Linda Leaming
Bhutan is a small and less known landlocked country sharing borders with China and India. However, it is the wisdom of Bhutan which will surely take your breath away.
The people do not dwell in materialistic possessions and the government uses “Gross National Happiness” as the measure of success not Gross National Product. It is truly an amazing read!
“There’s too much structure in the world: too much insurance, litigation, unfulfilling work, fighting; too many credit cards, receipts, forms, taxes, mortgages, traffic jams, obligations—and always enormous pressure and fear as a result.”
Why you should read it: Linda will take you with her on a journey to accidental enlightenment as she discovers that money and possessions are not everything!
Woman in the Wilderness
By Miriam Lancewood
Miriam is a Dutch woman and her husband is from New Zealand. Both of them move to the wild with minimal supplies.
She lives in a hut and depends on the forest for sustenance. It is a simple beautiful life for her as she shares what she has learned about what actually matters in life. The book is the nectar of her six years’ experience in the wilderness, living a simple life and focusing on simple things.
Ben Fogle comments:
“Woman in the Wilderness is an intriguing and mesmerizing book.”
Why you should read it: Less is more! Miriam’s writing will make you feel more connected to the wild and you will understand that sometimes the little and simple things of life are the big things.
My Year Without Matches
by Claire Dunn
Claire Dunn’s story is literally about how she survived in the wild without matches. Claire got tired of the 9 to 5 job and decided to live off the grid for an entire year trying to figure out her mental state and looking for direction.
However leaving for the wild and staying there came with its own set of challenges which included keeping warm or feeling too warm, as well as getting bitten by insects and mosquitoes.
In the words of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux:
“Believe one who knows: you will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.”
Why you should read it: Her story is very relatable for everyone who feels tired of their corporate jobs and wants to take a break and unwind.
A Hard Place to Leave: Stories from a Restless Life
by Marcia DeSanctis
This captivating book is a memoir of essays that shares the joy of traveling and captures the journey between exploring the world and staying home. We love this book because it makes you follow a solo female travel journey and reveals how each trip leaves a mark on our story.
A Hard Place to Leave immerses you in places from all over the globe like Cambodia, France, Rwanda, and more.
“There’s a restorative power of these stretches of time spent alone, immersed in some other landscape, lost in another language, absorbed in a new culture. Solitude leads me to a better version of myself”, the author writes.
Why you should read it: this collection of essays will fill your adventurous soul with deep stories that take place more than 18 countries and will make you fall in love with solo female travel.
Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List 2: The Best Places on the Planet… Ranked
by Megan Eaves
Lonely Planet is the world’s most trusted travel companion, we’ve all held onto their books tightly while journeying across foreign lands. This new edition of their Ultimate Travel List ranks their favorite places in the world with 500 entries over 320 pages.
The book is not only packed with insider insights from writers, editors and industry experts, but is also accompanied by some jaw-dropping photos. Not sure where to go on your next trip, this book will inspire you and increase the size of your bucket list.
Instead of placing a quote, we think a video would work better…
Why you should read it: Because we can always do with a bit of travel inspiration, and the images are absolutely gorgeous! This book will surely give you wanderlust.