In the past year several travel bloggers who I follow or am lucky enough to know personally have published books that are well worth a read, especially if you’re a female thinking about traveling or living abroad. What’s particularly interesting about the four books below is that, while all four writers spend time in some of the same areas and start out never having traveled much before or making a leap of faith without a clear direction, they all share very different experiences and are candid about personal situations, experiences or trials during these times in their lives that you may not have first realized if you followed along with their blogs and magazines.
Ultimately though, similar messages and lessons ring true – if you want to travel, you can make it happen and, in the end, you’ll probably be much further away from the course you thought your life would take, but also much better for it. (Note: The links in the titles above take you directly to where you can buy the books on Amazon.)
I met Nikki about a year and half after living in Chiang Mai when I had just stopped teaching English full-time and was looking for some direction. With my background in PR and writing I was thinking I would try to start freelancing but didn’t know how or what to do. I had read South East Backpacker Magazine and figured it was put together by a small publishing company, then met Nikki and realized it was just her hustling and that her office was just down the street from where I was living.
Though I knew a lot about Nikki’s story and was in Chiang Mai with her at the same time as many of the events were happening, reading Backpacker Business I learned about the very beginnings of the magazine and better understood what was going on in Nikki’s life when I first met her. While most travel memoirs through Southeast Asia focus on beaches and buckets (okay, those still make an appearance), most travelers don’t end up staying and building a business which is what Nikki did.
Kristin Addis – Be My Travel Muse
Kristin’s book, A Thousand New Beginnings, will incite wanderlust in anyone who dreams of exploring the great outdoors and experiencing firsthand some of the world’s most incredible natural environments. This girl has a taste for adventure and it seems to follow her just as much as she seeks it out. Most of her travels have been completely solo and she’s still going strong to this day.
Stephanie Yoder – Twenty-Something Travel
Stephanie’s book, A Year Without Makeup, covers her first year of nonstop travel and how it took a turn she didn’t expect – instead of backpacking solo she ends up meeting the love of her life early on in her adventure. I met Stephanie a few years ago and have since gotten to know her better on my trips back to the US as she now lives in Seattle, so reading about her first travel experiences was particularly interesting to me. Like Kristin, her light, conversational writing style makes the book and easy, enjoyable read.
Lauren Juliff – Never Ending Footsteps
The travel mishaps – major mishaps – and personal issues that plagued Lauren before traveling abroad could easily be perceived as a travel horror story and even put some people off going out to adventure on their own, but despite an impressive ability to seemingly be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Lauren hasn’t let anything stop her realizing that all her misfortunes have actually helped her along the road of a personal transformation.
Even with having anxiety and regular panic attacks, not to mention having never eaten white rice, Lauren has gone from never having ridden a bus to not thinking twice about trying fried crickets in the past five years that she’s been on the road. For anyone who has even a faint dream of traveling but is simply scared to do so, Lauren’s story and honesty is a tale worth reading and proof that we’re all more capable than we probably think.
What travel memoirs have you read lately?
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Hey! I'm Alana and I've spent nearly the past decade living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working as a writer and photographer. I started Paper Planes as a place to share local insight, special places, and how to travel well through a range of experiences — from hostels to high-end hotels, street meat to multi-course meals.
New places are always calling my name...
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