Not only am I an avid traveler and adventurer, but I am also a certified elementary and middle school teacher. Being a teacher is great, I get to read new things all the time with my students, but that allows for little time for pleasure reading on my own. I wish that my busy life allowed me to have more time to read. I am hoping that once we hit the road and begin to travel I will be able to step up my reading game. I’m sure there are some great books that should be included on this list, but I’m only including books that I have had the pleasure of reading. I’ve added both fiction and nonfiction, some I have read for pleasure and others I have read with my students.
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed – This book is great. I try not to do too much research in how authors stretch the truth when writing memoirs, but of course I’m always curios. While Cheryl may have exaggerated the truth and added some things for entertainment purposes, overall this is a great book about a women finding herself on the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl ventures out onto the PCT alone at a time in her life when she is lost and looking for a purpose. Her time spent alone with nature is seen as both a blessing and a curse, but in the end totally worth it.
“I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.” – Cheryl Strayed
- Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck – Another memoir that I may have dug a little too deep into, to find out fact vs. fiction. Most of Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley is true, he did make more/longer stops and stayed at very nice hotels along his trip, but I don’t blame him for not mentioning it. Travels With Charley is a favorite of mine because it is the story of a man and his dog traveling across America. Charley, Steinbeck’s dog, is as much of a character of this story as Steinbeck himself is. Not only is the relationship between man and dog a wonderful thing in Travels With Charley, but Steinbeck has a way of describing America in a beautiful way. The way he describes Montana makes me want to get in my car and just drive there
“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.” – John Steinbeck
- On The Road by Jack Kerouac – A true travel classic. Jack Kerouac writes a book about unplanned adventures across the country. On The Road is a novel about two friends and their adventures to and from places all across the country. This novel takes place over the course of a few years and allows you to really get to know the two main characters and their relationships with each other and the people they meet on their journey. As you read you’ll run into adventures, love, beautiful places, and character development.
Have you ever seen the movie version? I wasn’t a fan.
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” – Jack Kerouac
- Boy & Going Solo by Roald Dahl – An obvious choice for an elementary teacher – right? These two short books are autobiographical though. Dahl describes his childhood and his young adult years being deployed to Africa in the British Royal Airforce. Dahl traveled the world and his great writing style and imagination have an obvious impact on these stories. Dalh’s real life adventures are truly as exciting as those he has wrote about in many of his children books.
“It is almost worth going away because it’s so lovely coming back” – Roald Dahl
- Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer – Follows the final days of the young adventurer Chris McCandless in the wilderness of Alaska. Chris is a great student and athlete who turns his back on it all to survive in the wilderness. This story is true and the amount of research that went into creating an accurate account of McCandless’ life is extraordinary. Into The Wild reminds me of the, sometimes forgotten, dangers and mysteries that nature holds.
“The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” – Jon Krakauer
Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite travel/adventure books are.