10 Travel Memoirs to Take You Around the World

August 6 2015

Experiencing a new place and a new culture leads to both outward and inward discovery. Set off on a literary adventure with these ten gorgeous travel memoirs that chronicle the authors’ exploration of their surroundings and themselves and allow you to travel the globe from the comfort of your cozy reading chair.

Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert

Chances are you’ve heard of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book of epicurean adventures, soul-searching, and the road to rediscovering love across Italy, India, and Indonesia. Her tale of recovering from a broken marriage and her search for peace is honest and encouraging; her warm and candid prose will have you dreaming of sandy shores, but, more importantly, it will make you believe that no matter how dark things may seem, the world is filled with goodness.

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Eat, Pray, Love
Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s beautiful memoir is about finding out who she really was and what she really wanted from life. Aiming to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature, she spends a year traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia. But it is more than the appealing locations and heaping plates of pasta that caused Eat, Pray, Love to touch a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Intensely articulate and wise, Eat, Pray, Love showed that a woman can claim responsibility for her happiness and stop living in imitation of society’s ideals.

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Wild
by Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed had lost her mother and her marriage. With no experience or training, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: She would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from California’s Mojave Desert to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Sparkling with warmth and humor, her memoir powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and 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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The Lost Continent
by Bill Bryson

Following his father’s death, Bill Bryson takes to the highway with the goal of traversing the continental United States. Along the way, he reflects on his childhood as he explores small towns off the beaten path to achieve an authentic local experience in the heartland of America.

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The Lost Continent
Bill Bryson

Following his father’s death, Bill Bryson takes to the highway with the goal of traversing the continental United States. Along the way, he reflects on his childhood as he explores small towns off the beaten path to achieve an authentic local experience in the heartland of America.

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Travels in Siberia
by Ian Frazier

The culmination of five years and various trips, Ian Frazier’s memoir about his travels through Siberia unveils the underappreciated beauty and bewildering complexity of the vast territory in Russia’s northern region. You’ll fall in love with Frazier’s enchanting memoir as he explores the tundra’s expanse and learns about the rich history and people of this indomitable land.

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Travels in Siberia
Ian Frazier

The culmination of five years and various trips, Ian Frazier’s memoir about his travels through Siberia unveils the underappreciated beauty and bewildering complexity of the vast territory in Russia’s northern region. You’ll fall in love with Frazier’s enchanting memoir as he explores the tundra’s expanse and learns about the rich history and people of this indomitable land.

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The Great Railway Bazaar
by Paul Theroux

Considered a modern classic of travel literature, Paul Theroux’s memoir tells the unusual story of his railway adventures across continental Asia. Rounded out with wit and humor, Theroux takes you on an incredible ride from London’s Victoria Station to Japan and back again.

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The Great Railway Bazaar
Paul Theroux

Considered a modern classic of travel literature, Paul Theroux’s memoir tells the unusual story of his railway adventures across continental Asia. Rounded out with wit and humor, Theroux takes you on an incredible ride from London’s Victoria Station to Japan and back again.

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The Turk Who Loved Apples
by Matt Gross

Matt Gross, the former "Frugal Traveler" for The New York Times, can teach you how to get lost and let your surroundings guide you to incredible discoveries. No matter where you are or where you’re headed, Gross’s globe-trotting memoir is the perfect travel companion.

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The Turk Who Loved Apples
Matt Gross

Matt Gross, the former "Frugal Traveler" for The New York Times, can teach you how to get lost and let your surroundings guide you to incredible discoveries. No matter where you are or where you’re headed, Gross’s globe-trotting memoir is the perfect travel companion.

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In Patagonia
by Bruce Chatwin

Fueled by wanderlust and a lifelong fascination with one of the outermost reaches of the earth, Bruce Chatwin set off for Patagonia to uncover the mysteries of this territory once favored by bandits like Butch Cassidy. An elegant and captivating journey to the end of the earth, Chatwin’s memoir is a masterpiece of the travel canon.

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In Patagonia
Bruce Chatwin

Fueled by wanderlust and a lifelong fascination with one of the outermost reaches of the earth, Bruce Chatwin set off for Patagonia to uncover the mysteries of this territory once favored by bandits like Butch Cassidy. An elegant and captivating journey to the end of the earth, Chatwin’s memoir is a masterpiece of the travel canon.

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Seven Years in Tibet
by Heinrich Harrer

In 1943, Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer escaped from a British internment camp in India and, after trekking across the Himalayas, established himself in Tibet. During his seven-year stay, Harrer became a tutor to the Dalai Lama and learned about Tibetan rites and customs. Forced to leave due to the Chinese invasion of 1950, Harrer’s memoir captures in vivid detail an image of Tibet lost to time while offering a window into a land so infrequently visited by foreigners.

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Seven Years in Tibet
Heinrich Harrer

In 1943, Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer escaped from a British internment camp in India and, after trekking across the Himalayas, established himself in Tibet. During his seven-year stay, Harrer became a tutor to the Dalai Lama and learned about Tibetan rites and customs. Forced to leave due to the Chinese invasion of 1950, Harrer’s memoir captures in vivid detail an image of Tibet lost to time while offering a window into a land so infrequently visited by foreigners.

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A Time of Gifts
by Patrick Leigh Fermor

The first book of a trilogy that chronicles his journey on foot from London to Constantinople, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s memoir is rich with history, art, philosophy, and the optimism of youth. This enchanting snapshot of Europe on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power preserves a sense of a time long lost.

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A Time of Gifts
Patrick Leigh Fermor

The first book of a trilogy that chronicles his journey on foot from London to Constantinople, Patrick Leigh Fermor’s memoir is rich with history, art, philosophy, and the optimism of youth. This enchanting snapshot of Europe on the eve of Hitler’s rise to power preserves a sense of a time long lost.

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Paris to the Moon
by Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik moved to Paris with his family in 1995, where he lived for five years. There he wrote essays and observations on the beautiful and the base in the City of Lights. At turns laudatory and disparaging, Gopnik’s memoir is an honest, witty homage to the romance of Paris in all its pretention and grandeur.

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Paris to the Moon
Adam Gopnik

If you loved A MOVEABLE FEAST, you should try PARIS TO THE MOON. Adam Gopnik, a longtime writer for the New Yorker, spent several years based in Paris. This delightful collection of essays, some previously published in the New Yorker, are funny and contemplative at once. I always feel nostalgic for Paris when I read them.

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