Books for the Armchair Explorer in You

February 17 2015

In this new year, you might want to travel more, be more spontaneous, or do something totally wild that pushes your limits. You might dream of climbing Mount Everest one freezing step at a time, cycling through the Hindu Kush, or daring the greatest pilgrimage of all, El Camino de Santiago—or maybe just reading about these feats feels adventurous enough for you. Here’s a list of seven books to inspire your inner (or armchair) adventurer.

The Mountain: My Time on Everest
by Ed Viesturs

Ed Viesturs is a veteran world-class climber—the only American to have climbed all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks—and a bestselling author. In The Mountain, he trains his sights on Mount Everest in richly detailed accounts of expeditions that are by turns personal, harrowing, deadly, and inspiring—and takes us along for the ride.

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The Mountain: My Time on Everest
Ed Viesturs

Ed Viesturs is a veteran world-class climber—the only American to have climbed all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks—and a bestselling author. In The Mountain, he trains his sights on Mount Everest in richly detailed accounts of expeditions that are by turns personal, harrowing, deadly, and inspiring—and takes us along for the ride.

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I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago
by Hape Kerkeling

Overweight, overworked, and physically unfit, Hape Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the 1,200-year-old pilgrimage across the French Alps to the Spanish shrine of St. James. But that didn’t stop him from getting off the couch and walking. Lonely and searching for meaning, he began the journal that turned into this frank and engaging book. Through his struggles with his physical limitations and the rigors of long-distance walking, he discovered a deep sense of peace that transformed his life and allowed him to forgive himself, and others. He learned something every day, and shares his daily lessons in this book.

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I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago
Hape Kerkeling

Overweight, overworked, and physically unfit, Hape Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the 1,200-year-old pilgrimage across the French Alps to the Spanish shrine of St. James. But that didn’t stop him from getting off the couch and walking. Lonely and searching for meaning, he began the journal that turned into this frank and engaging book. Through his struggles with his physical limitations and the rigors of long-distance walking, he discovered a deep sense of peace that transformed his life and allowed him to forgive himself, and others. He learned something every day, and shares his daily lessons in this book.

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The Pilgrimage
by Paulo Coelho

Decades before Hape Kerkeling was inspired to write I’m Off Then, Paulo Coehlo made the pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James in Spain. The road to Santiago was not only a common pilgrimage but a turning point in his existence. A year later, he wrote this autobiographical novel that is considered the beginning of his career, and paved the way to his phenomenon, The Alchemist. This fascinating parable explores the need to find one’s own path. In the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. Part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery, this compelling tale delivers the perfect combination of enchantment and insight.

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The Pilgrimage
Paulo Coelho

Decades before Hape Kerkeling was inspired to write I’m Off Then, Paulo Coehlo made the pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James in Spain. The road to Santiago was not only a common pilgrimage but a turning point in his existence. A year later, he wrote this autobiographical novel that is considered the beginning of his career, and paved the way to his phenomenon, The Alchemist. This fascinating parable explores the need to find one’s own path. In the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. Part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery, this compelling tale delivers the perfect combination of enchantment and insight.

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Cycling Home from Siberia
by Rob Lilwall

Rob Lilwall was a twenty-seven-year-old high-school British geography teacher when he quit his job and decided to ride 30,000 miles from Siberia back to the U.K. He arrived in Siberia equipped only with a bike and a healthy dose of fear. Cycling Home from Siberia recounts his epic three-and-a-half-year journey dealing with the foreboding jungles of Papua New Guinea, an Australian cyclone, and Afghanistan’s war-torn Hindu Kush. A gripping story of endurance and adventure, this is also a spiritual journey, providing a poignant insight into life on the road in some of the world’s toughest corners.

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Cycling Home from Siberia
Rob Lilwall

Rob Lilwall was a twenty-seven-year-old high-school British geography teacher when he quit his job and decided to ride 30,000 miles from Siberia back to the U.K. He arrived in Siberia equipped only with a bike and a healthy dose of fear. Cycling Home from Siberia recounts his epic three-and-a-half-year journey dealing with the foreboding jungles of Papua New Guinea, an Australian cyclone, and Afghanistan’s war-torn Hindu Kush. A gripping story of endurance and adventure, this is also a spiritual journey, providing a poignant insight into life on the road in some of the world’s toughest corners.

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What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
by Kristin Newman

In need of an escape from her job as a sitcom writer, Kristin Newman traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year. Kristin introduces readers to the characters she meets along the way, including the Israeli bartenders, Finnish poker players, sexy Bedouins, and Argentinean priests, people who helped her transform into a slower, softer, and wilder version of herself at home. Equal parts laugh-out-loud storytelling, candid reflection, and wanderlust-inspiring travel tales, you’re going to be rushing to renew your passport after this one.

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What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
Kristin Newman

In need of an escape from her job as a sitcom writer, Kristin Newman traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year. Kristin introduces readers to the characters she meets along the way, including the Israeli bartenders, Finnish poker players, sexy Bedouins, and Argentinean priests, people who helped her transform into a slower, softer, and wilder version of herself at home. Equal parts laugh-out-loud storytelling, candid reflection, and wanderlust-inspiring travel tales, you’re going to be rushing to renew your passport after this one.

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Wild
by Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-six years old, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s sudden death from lung cancer and the self-destruction of her marriage, and with her family scattered, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

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Wild
Cheryl Strayed

A solo thousand mile journey on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State taken by an inexperienced hiker is a revelation. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

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Rowing the Atlantic
by Roz Savage

Stuck in a corporate job rut and an unraveling marriage, Roz Savage realized that if she carried on as she was, she wasn’t going to end up with the life she wanted. So she turned her back on an eleven-year career as a management consultant to reinvent herself as a woman of adventure. Investing her life’s savings in an ocean rowboat, she became the first solo woman to enter the Atlantic Rowing Race.

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Rowing the Atlantic
Roz Savage

Stuck in a corporate job rut and an unraveling marriage, Roz Savage realized that if she carried on as she was, she wasn’t going to end up with the life she wanted. So she turned her back on an eleven-year career as a management consultant to reinvent herself as a woman of adventure. Investing her life’s savings in an ocean rowboat, she became the first solo woman to enter the Atlantic Rowing Race.

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