Travel is a way of self-discovery. When I travel, I discover new cities and countries, new tastes and smells. But first of all, I discover myself. In the new conditions of a foreign country, I begin to understand who I am and why I am. What stereotypes and limitations live in my head.
Another great method for self-discovery are books about travel and self discovery. After all, a good book, like a good trip, is an opportunity to live another extra life, right?
I find blog posts like "the top 100 travel books" to be stressful. All descriptions, synopsis, and titles merge into noise. How can you choose one of the 100 best books about self discovery? So I decided not to make such a long list of books. I have chosen only 5 books about travel and finding yourself, that I have read myself, and I recommend if you want to understand yourself, understand your inner calling, and connect with yourself. And all this simultaneously with the discovery of the world.
If you can't choose from dozens of books on travel and self-discovery, start with one from this list. It will be a great start on your journey of self-discovery.
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Top books about travel and self discovery
1. Eat Pray Love: a journey of self discovery
What the book "Eat Pray Love" is about?
Chances are that you have already watched the movie of the same name "Eat Pray Love".
But a book EAT PRAY LOVE is different!
Even though the film based on this book was made really good, only with the book can you truly walk the path of self-discovery. Only with the book you can follow thoughts of the main character, ask yourself the same self discovery questions, take notes, and talk to yourself.
“Eat Pray Love” is one year in the life of a woman on a journey across Italy, India and Indonesia in search of herself, self love and self care.
This book is not fiction, but the autobiography of 34-year-old American journalist and writer Elizabeth Gilbert.
The book consists of three parts, each one is divided into 36 chapters. One part of the book is dedicated to one country: Italy, India, and Indonesia.
The main character, after a difficult divorce proceedings, decides to go on a journey and start life from scratch. In Italy, Liz learns bodily joys and eats off Italian pizza, in the ashram of India she comprehends the meaning of life, and in Bali she finds harmony with the world and herself. This is a philosophical book about travel and the search for the meaning of life that consists of simple human joys and peace.
Why should you read this book?
This book will take you to Italy, India and Indonesia. On this journey, you will discover cultural specificities of these countries.
Traveling with Elizabeth through these distant countries, you will re-learn to eat, pray and love, or rather, enjoy it all.
You will understand that the feeling of harmony in the world comes when you find harmony with yourself. This book is for inspiration. I don't know other book that gives me so much desire to LIVE!
This book motivates to put aside problems and go to discover yourself and the world around you.
If now you cannot go to another country, then go to a neighboring city, or another area in your city, or at least to a new cafe to feel how alive you are.
In this book I have learned one simple and important Italian phrase “Atraversiamo”, which translates as “let's go to the other side of the street”, “let's change the subject”. If your shoes keep chafing, maybe it's time to get rid of them and buy new ones?
It's one of the best books about self discovery and it reminds you that it is never too late to change yourself and your life.
2. The Pilgrimage: a book about travel and self-discovery
What the book "The Pilgrimage" is about?
An unusual book about travel and self-discovery that will not leave anyone indifferent, is the creation of Paolo Coelho THE PILGRIMAGE.
The core of the book is the road - "The Camino de Santiago" that leads from the French city of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino de Santiago known in English as the Way of St. James is a real-life path in Spain that has been traveled by millions of pilgrims since the Middle Ages.
Not only believers and religious people follow this route, but also everyone who is looking for self-discovery and their spiritual path in life.
Many travelers treat this journey as a form of retreat for their spiritual growth. Some my friends have already traveled the Camino pilgrimage and say that this experience changed their lives. It's kind of a meditation journey that opens up new meanings of life. I have not done myself the Camino de Santiago yet, but I seriosly consider it after reading this book.
If you are interested in walking the Camino pilgrimage, then you will love this book.
Although the book seems fiction, it is actually an autobiography. It is a personal story from the life of Paulo Coelho that describes how he traveled the legendary Pilgrimage of Compostela.
He set out on this path to find his Sword - ancient wisdom. On this journey, he is accompanied by his guide and mentor Petrus. However, the main character faced not only difficulties in the search of his sword along the way, but first of all he faced himself.
Throughout the journey, his mentor teaches Paulo esoteric exercises that help him on his way of self improvement, self discovery, and self discipline. You can find these exercises at the end of each chapter and practice them too. Be prepared for the fact that religion, mysticism and esotericism are very closely intertwined in the book.
Why should you read this book?
Firstly, if you are thinking about making a pilgrimage trip to Santiago di Compostela, by reading this book you can try it on yourself and see if you should go there too.
Secondly, there are many deep thoughts in the book about dreams, life, love, death, and the search for oneself.
This is a book about finding your way and your place in the world.
It will help you to discover yourself and find harmony and energy, and the world will sparkle with new colors.
3. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Travel Book About Fulfilling Your Dreams
What the book "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" is about?
THE MONK WHO SOLD HIS FERRARY is an extraordinary story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer confronted by a spiritual crisis.
The successful and wealthy lawyer survived a heart attack, sold his house and red Ferrari, and went on a journey of self discovery and to find his way to the Himalayas.
There, high in the mountains, the monks taught him all the wisdom and enlightenment practices that he shares in the book. This journey to the Himalayas was a real spiritual transformation for Julian.
The book is easy to read and in one breath. It absorbed me so much that I could not tear myself away from the book until I read it to the end. But I reread it a second time more slowly and deliberately, pondering the ideas from the book and taking notes. At the end of each chapter, you will find short summaries of the chapter with very succinct and deep phrases. I wrote out these phrases and repeat myself every day.
Why should you read this book?
The book "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" will take you to the Himalayas and plunge into the world of the life of monks.
You will learn about the rituals that monks adhere to, their philosophy, limiting the consumption of meat, physical activity, reading, the ability to serve others, and at the same time the ability to refuse and value their own time.
Read it to discover how a garden, lighthouse, sumo wrestler, pink wire cable, stopwatch, roses and a winding path of diamonds are symbols of timeless principles for living a harmonious and fulfilling life.
This book is a story that teaches how you can make your life conscious and harmonious.
It made me think about what it means to be truly rich. What's the point of having a red Ferrari and a huge villa if you're depressed, in poor health, and have no family or true friends?
The book contains many tips and practices on how to change your life for the better. If you read the book meaningfully, ask yourself self discovery questions and answer them, complete all the tasks, this book will change you and your life.
If you are now in a difficult period of your life, be sure to read this book! It’s one of the best books on self help and self motivation.
4. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
What the book "The Geography of Bliss" is about?
THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS is not a typical travel book, but rather a travelogue of ideas.
Eric Weiner spent a decade as a foreign correspondent reporting about catastrophes. But in the book "The Geography of Bliss," he decided to research and write about happiness: how different countries define and pursue it.
Where do the happiest people live? Can the conditions of place contribute to happiness?
The journalist travels across countries and asks the residents if they are happy. He traveled through the happiest and the most miserable, the richest, and the poorest countries in the world: The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, Great Britain, India, Moldоva.
In this epic journey, the author is looking for himself, looking for a recipe for happiness, and at the same time reflecting on different approaches to happiness in the world.
Why should you read this book?
You should read this one of the best travel books of all time if you are interested in the cultures of different countries and love travel.
"The Geography of Bliss" is suitable for those interested in psychology, those who want to find a better place to live, and those who want to be happier.
In this travel book, you will find out in which countries people feel happiest and why.
Personally, I loved this book, because I traveled myself to the majority of the countries that Weiner describes in his book, and asked myself the same questions.
My favorite quote from the book:
“Money matters but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.”
I really recommend this travel book as it is at the same time a travel guide to several countries like The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, and also a self-discovery book.
5. On the Road: the best book about traveling, adventures & wanderlust
What the book "On the Road" is about?
Written in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s book ON THE ROAD is a timeless travel novel.
"On the Road" is an autobiographical novel by Kerouac, where each of the characters has a prototype in real life.
A stunning fact: Kerouac wrote "On the Road" in just three weeks, bringing a 36-meter roll of paper with a manuscript to the publisher! The editor was shocked and said that he had never received such a strange novel in such a strange form.
The writing style of Kerouac is unusual and abrupt. It's a stream of consciousness, similar to jazz improvisation. The manner of writing embodies freedom and refusal to follow the rules. I also think that the roll of paper with the book written on it is a genius metaphor for the road.
In the book, Kerouac described his journey through America and Mexico with his friend Neil Cassidy.
Why should you read this book?
In fact, this is a dangerous book. Kerouac writes about a lost generation. Neither money, nor family, nor a stable job is important to them.
This book is about lost people who have no purpose and who do not know what they want out of life.
The main heroes abandon everything that held them before and set off to meet the unknown. But did they find their happiness? No. They are mired in drinking, partying, drugs, casual sex, and short relationships. The worst thing is that they cannot stop.
A quote that illustrates this well:
'You boys going to get somewhere, or just going? We didn't understand his question, and it was a damned good question.’
The book persuades not to idealize vagrancy and travel without purpose. But on the other hand, it remains one of the best books to inspire travel. Reading Kerouac, you can feel the romance and recklessness of travel, hitchhiking, and adventure.
Kerouac's road is life itself. With Dean, the road turns into a spiritual quest - a quest that has no end.
I hope you liked at least one book from this list. For me, these books became a revelation and made me think about many things, about myself and my place in the world.
What is your life-changing book?
Share in the comments. I always read and respond to the comments.
Sasha from The Alternative Travel Guide
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