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Best Books For The Armchair Traveler

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While there are few better places to be than cozied up next to the fireplace during the holiday season, the setting isn’t complete without a novel to whisk you a world away. The best travel literature takes you to the destinations of your dreams in the comfort of your own home — and they’ll either excite a desire to pack your bags and head out the next day, or leave you happy you never left.

 

101 Places Not To See Before You Die, by Catherine Price

In this whimsical take on the “bucket list book,” Catherine Price is kind enough to bring you to all the places you’ll never need to take vacation time to go see. Learn from Price’s mistakes, and take a rain check when it comes to The Testicle Festival, Stonehenge or the top of Mount Everest. For the insatiable wanderluster, this book helps narrow down where not to go next.

 

Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer

From the best-selling author of Into The Wild, Krakauer recounts his personal trials of the Mt. Everest Disaster in 1997 in chilling, exacting detail. From start to finish, you’re guided along every factor and facet of what it takes to reach the highest peak in the world. It’s the next best thing to risking the trek, and your life, on your own.

 

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America, by Bill Bryson

Pretty much anything by Bill Bryson is worth a read, but this tale of Bryson’s adventure to find the most quintessential, perfect American small town is one of the best. Journey through all of what the central United States has to offer, down to every former President’s home, miles of strip malls and quirky roadside attractions.

 

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure, by Sarah Macdonald

This is the story of how one well-to-do Australian journalist learned to love India 11 years after a less-than charming experience backpacking there in her twenties. Follow Macdonald through her (playful and comical) spiritual awakening as she explores different religious beliefs with a manner of insightful characters and friends she meets along the way. It’s a wild ride through the heart of India.

 

The Blind Masseuse, by Alden Jones

One of the Huffington Post’s Best Books of the Year, Jones takes us from Costa Rica to Cambodia on an adventurous tale from the awareness and perspective of an American outsider looking in. Her memoir recounts years teaching in locales like Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua, and what she learned as she became richly involved in the lives of the people she met. It’s an inspiring and refreshingly original read around the world.

 

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, by J. Maarten Troost

In characteristic hilarity, Troost recounts his misadventures on the island of Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. At 26 years old, the idea of packing up for an island getaway from a mundane and aimless life was a romantic one, but Troost quickly discovered the mistake in his reasoning. Thankfully, Troost knows how to laugh at his travel blunders, and we can laugh along with him.

 

No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain is the god of gourmet exploration, and his book explores the grand and nitty-gritty details behind his acclaimed Travel Channel TV show. It’s a delightful guide to discovering the world’s gustatory nooks and crannies, and Bourdain recounts the experience that built his foodie expertise from China to New Jersey to France. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

 

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