My Top 5 Adventure Books

I have always been an avid reader, ever since I was little. I love to get lost in words and pictures – so lost, in fact, that I regularly find myself partially confused when I look up from the book to find I am in my bedroom, not some far off land. I have read my way through most of the library, but I find myself returning to some books more often than others. Because we have all been forced to slow down and leave adventures to those in stories, I find myself going back to my adventure books to open my mind up to the world I have yet to discover. The books listed below are the books that have always inspired adventure in me and often are my companions on adventures. Happy reading!

1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Ok, I may sound like a book hipster (ok – maybe I am a book hipster?), but I have loved this book with my whole heart well before it was in the culture zeitgeist. It was a book that I found before getting the chance the explore the world in big ways on my own. So, when I got the call to be on The Bachelor and was told books wouldn’t be allowed on the show, I zipped this one into the lining of my suitcase. At first, I would only read it at night, far away from cameras and producers so I wouldn’t get caught. By my end on the show, with only a few of us left, I was allowed to read it in public spaces, but I was told that if a camera entered the room I must shove it under the nearest pillow. You wouldn’t believe how many shots I’m in with it under my butt! I probably read the book close to three times while on the show (I didn’t have any other books!) and it is a big piece of what kept me sane. I think this makes the perfect adventure book because it not only takes you to far off places, but it shows you how much an external adventure can impact you to have an internal adventure as well. So much of my travels have changed and liberated me as a person – and this book shows you just how that happens.

2. I Hope You Find Me by Alan Feuer 

I Hope You Find Me is one of them most romantic, comedic and fun books that I know of. This book is a collection of “Missed Connection” entries from craigslist turned into poem by journalist Alan Feuer. If you are unsure of what a “Missed Connection” entry is, you are in for a treat. There is an entire section of craigslist for people who have met someone (or even just spotted them!) and then had no way of reaching out to them – so they place a comment on this particular section of Craigslist and hope that somehow some say the internet connects them back together again. It’s beautiful and romantic and just the tiniest bit creepy (in the fun way??), but when Feuer turns them into poetry they become masterpieces. This book is divided by city showing the maps of each upon each chapters start. It is so fun to be sitting in San Francisco reading about the people of the city in this weird and relatable way. It’s also a super small book – so it fits perfectly in a purse or pack for some light entertainment on your travels.

3. Soulpancake by Rainn Wilson

Yes, that Rain Wilson – the actor who plays Dwight on The Office! Not only is this one of my favorite adventure books, it’s one of my favorite books of all time. This book breaks down into many sections of life’s big questions so that you can explore your perspective and learn from those around you. This book works by asking the reader is presented with facts, quotes, and art related to a topic. You are then asked 3-5 big questions about this topic (questions with no right answer such as “What’s one time you wish you trusted your gut? Why didn’t you?”) and then you discuss! There are also fun activities (like reverse pick pocketing – can you sneak money in someones pocket without them knowing??) and interesting stories. You may be thinking, “this doesn’t sound like such a great travel book – it’s not even about adventure!” but this is where you would be wrong. This book has accompanied me on so many trips it is now tattered at the corners. It is perfect for travel because if you are alone it acts as almost a journal prompt – elevating your experience in whatever location you find yourself in. Pushing you to learn more about yourself in your new setting. If you are with others – it helps you take your conversation from surface level to human-experience deep. It helps you connect with others in real meaningful ways. I would recommend this book for any trip – short or long, alone or together – if you are looking to connect with others.

4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild is one of the quintessential adventure books. Again, it explores both an internal and external journey through the Pacific Crest Trail, but it also showcases how any level of adventurer can do anything, as long as you just start somewhere. My favorite aspect of this book is that Cheryl starts with fresh, out of the box boots (cue blisters!) for a 2,650 mile trek. It hits me right in my soft spot. I am often scared to do something because “I’m not an expert,” but this book shows how experts become experts – by starting at the beginning and trying something new. I think this mindset is brilliant for travel and adventure – often you will find yourself in new places, not knowing a language, not understanding a culture, but that feeling of being new or outside of something, pushes us into new and interesting perspectives.

5. Harry Potter – Audio Books, By JK Rowling and recorded by Jim Dale

LOL – you thought I’d get out of a book blog without mentioning Harry Potter??? YOU’RE HILARIOUS. But, I’d like to point out that I am very specifically recommending the Harry Potter Audio Books. As you know, I am a Harry Potter super fan and in my expert opinion, the audio books are the BEST way to experience this journey. Jim Dale, the voice artist, is brilliant and deserves to be knighted. On many-a-road trip, I will listen to Harry Potter, completely immersed in the story and *snap* it’s been six hours! This audio book series has over 120 hours of book to listen to, so even on a cross country trip, you will be fully entertained! It’s reading at its best! It make it so you can enjoy the sights of traveling by car, plane or train and still get cozy into a good book!

What are your favorite books to take on adventure? Or to read when you want to be transported to one? Any stories that have inspired you to travel? Tell me in the comments below or send a story here.

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