5 Travel Memoirs to Inspire Epic Travels

travel journal and camera for recording travel memoirs

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We may not be able to take an epic vacation right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t be inspired by those who’ve done it before us and plan for the future travels. We won’t always be stuck at home after all. I’ve read each of these travel memoirs and can honestly say I fell in love with the places they’ve described. I know we see a lot of these on every “must-read travel books,” but they are there for a reason.

The Geography of Bliss

What I loved about this book was the author’s skeptical search for the happiest places in the world. The self-proclaimed grumpy author blends a mix of travel and psychology to find where the happiest places are and why. If you’re going to be inspired to travel to a place because the people there are happier, and isn’t that what we all need right now, then this should be on your list.

Travel Light

Subtitled, Regular People Go on Adventures Too, Travel Light is your inspiration to plan travel.

I actually met the author, Laura Holmes, at a travel conference. Through the power of Facebook, I saw we had friends in common. Of course, I stalked her and struck up a conversation. She lives in my hometown and I found we had more in common than just a love of travel. We met face to face at the conference, and then later over beers at our favorite brewery in Muskegon, Michigan.

Laura graciously sent me a copy of her book. Through reading, I found we have even more in common. Laura’s travel memoirs should inspire you to travel more. Even if it’s just a weekend getaway, her goal through her “Year of 40” was to travel each month. She shows how, why, and where she traveled and encourages the reader to look at travel differently. It’s not always some all-expense paid two-week trip to Europe. Sometimes it’s a weekend getaway in your own state.

I made a similar goal last year, to find a way to travel each month. We have precious few vacation days each year. Even if you don’t travel every month, or seek to hit 50 states before you turn 50, don’t let those vacation days go to waste. The Light in Travel Light can mean so many things: take fewer things, take lighter style vacations, light up your life through travel. However you look at it, know that travel is for you too, and not just epic vacations, gap years, or backpacking around Europe. Those are great too. But Travel Light should get you started!


Now a movie starring Reece Witherspoon, Wild follows Cheryl Strayed’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail as she trekked the trail alone. What I loved about this book was learning all about the areas along the PCT and how it differs in scope and danger from the more well known Appalachian Trail.

Another key element in this book is Strayed’s journey to the discovery of her self and her strengths. She learns the importance of family, of forgiving herself and forgiving nature.

Eat Pray Love

This ends up on a lot of lists, and it comes with mixed reviews. Either you’ve been that woman who has it all but is unsatisfied, or closely relate to her, or you think she’s spoiled. Elizabeth Gilbert isn’t a mother, but I do feel mothers can relate to her more. While I do love my life, I can relate to the innate desire to take a year off and find myself.

It is a phenomenon and inspired many people to do similar journeys. If you’ve read Eat Pray Love and enjoyed it, consider reading Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It: Journey’s inspired by the book.

One Year Off

This is another one that is not likely realistic in our present world, but I really enjoyed dreaming about taking one year off with my children. This pre-dates many people who actually do this now, either living abroad, or RV‘ing across the country. One Year Off really speaks to the nature of travel for me, that travel is the best way to spend more time as a family and with our kids before they grow up.

What are your favorite travel memoirs? While I take inspiration from the epic vacations, the definition of epic varies among authors.

Check out even more Travel Memoirs at my store on Amazon.

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