There’s nothing quite like travel to awaken the imagination. And when that’s not possible, books are the next best thing. With every turn of the page, you’re transported to foreign lands, where new cultures and thrilling experiences await.
These 10 books are the perfect way to satisfy your urge to explore, all from the comfort of your home.
1. “Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy” by Frances Mayes
Delve into the glorious minutiae of life in the Italian countryside with this book, which tells the true story of how the author restored a crumbling Villa in Tuscany. Compared to the movie of the same name, the book takes a closer look at the challenges of renovating a historic home while integrating into a new culture.
2. “The Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell
Travel along with Russell as she uproots her London life and moves to rural Denmark. As her husband settles into his new job at the LEGO corporation, the author takes a deep dive into the delightful quirks of Danish culture — and along the way, she offers a unique and affectionate glimpse into a society most people miss.
3. “Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2” by Jennifer Jordan
If you’re a fan of expedition literature, this book by Jennifer Jordan is a must-read. It takes you high onto the slopes of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. You will meet the remarkable women who have mastered the summit. The gripping blend of climbing lore, Pakistani cultural tales, and feats of physical endurance will have you hanging on to every word.
4. “Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel” by Rolf Potts
If you’ve ever longed to quit your job and take off to explore the world, this book is for you. Potts tells the story of his adventurous solo travels — and frequent foibles — around the globe. Hilarious anecdotes and helpful tips illustrate each tale.
5. “The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt” by Isabelle Eberhardt and Liz Kershaw
In the 1800s, Isabelle Eberhardt defied expectations of women at the time. She dressed as a man and traveled solo into the unknown, wandering freely across Africa. Follow her journeys in the pages of this book, which was created from her journals and letters.
6. “In a Sunburned Country” by Bill Bryson
In his classic comical style, Bill Bryson brings us to Australia in this charming book. Using a mix of local lore and first-person experiences, he describes each adventure in detail. From his exploits in trying to pronounce local names to his discovery of the many things in Australia that can kill you, each story is a hilarious romp.
7. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
Follow along with Gilbert as she tells the true story of how she traveled to rebuild her life after a shattering breakup. From Italy to India to Bali, the novel offers a realistic look at three remarkably different cultures across the world. Be prepared — you’ll want to buy a plane ticket as soon as you start reading.
8. “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts
This is one of those books that you see backpackers reading at hostels around the world. It’s easy to see why. In 900+ pages, the author spins a fantastic epic that takes the protagonist from Australia to India’s furthest reaches. With its thrilling descriptions of life in the slums of Bombay and the sets of Bollywood, this novel is a riveting read.
9. “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing
” Endurance” tells one of the most remarkable stories of all time. It follows Ernest Shackleton and his crew of explorers as they attempt to sail to Antarctica’s South Pole. Along the way, their ship becomes frozen in the ice, forcing the men to travel on foot for more than 800 miles to safety.
10. “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway
Travel along with Hemingway as he moves to Paris in the 1920s to build his career as a writer, traveling through legendary literary circles as he goes. Fans of classic books will be amazed by the characters that show up on each page: Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound are just a few.
A great travel book is an excellent way to travel to another place, even when the bonds of practicality are keeping you at home. Each page is a chance to experience the world through the author’s eyes. Where will you begin?