14 Books That Satisfy Wanderlust When Traveling Isn’t an Option

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Satisfying your burning itch for traveling across the globe can be pretty difficult, especially when you don’t want to sell your kidney to pay for the trip. However, there is an alternative that won’t break your bank: books.

Dive head first into epic sagas featuring stories about different cultures and live vicariously through their characters. Here are twelve novels you need to read if you’re looking for an adventure in the comfort of your home.

1. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

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As you read A Walk in the Woods, you’ll be mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the Appalachian Trail. Bill takes you on a rollercoaster of adventure by beautifully describing gorgeous mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and vibrant green forests packed with life. With this immersive novel, you’ll be able to go on a riveting quest from the cozy blankets of your bed.

2. Into Thin Air By Jon Krakauer

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Situated on the highest mountain on the planet, Into Thin Air will satisfy your urge for a trip up north. It’s a story that shows the power of determination and achieving your dreams in the face of all odds. Following Jon Krakauer’s journey to the top of Mount Everest, you get to experience the snowy storms and the gorgeous views through his narration.

3. Hot Tea Across India by Rishad Saam Mehta

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If you’re an avid tea lover, then there’s no better place to enjoy a cup of it than in the hustling and bustling streets of India. Hot Tea Across India is a culturally rich book taking you to the epicenter of South Asia. It’s a travelog where the protagonist explores the cities of this beautiful country, looking for this warm and comforting sweet brown nectar that is the heart and soul of the nation.

4. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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Into the Wild is a non-fiction book about a journey Chris McCandless took to the Alaskan backcountry. A major theme of the book is about the struggles of being a contributing member of society. Especially when that society is often at odds with your core values. In the book, McCandless hitchhikes to the Stampede Trail in Alaska, where he finds an abandoned bus that he then uses as his shelter.

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5. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

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This is not only an inspiring biography, but it also highlights a series of escapades that will quench your thirst for fun.  A couple, Raynor and Moth, face several hardships when they find out they’re going to lose their home.

On top of that, one of them is diagnosed with a degenerative disease that has no cure. Instead of giving up all hope, they decide to pack things up and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime walk from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset, making memories along the way.

6. Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux

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Written by one of the most renowned travel writers across the world, Riding the Iron Rooster will have you hooked in no time. Paul paints a stunning picture of what China was like back in the 80s that will let you explore the country’s roots and traditions. He travels to the place using a train through Asia and passes the center of Russia before stopping in China.

7. Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon

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As a way to escape the realities of life, Willam Least decided that he had enough, so he gathered his stuff and went on a long journey through various American states and cities. But what makes this account special is that he doesn’t highlight the typical bigger towns we all know about but showcases the smaller ones that often get overshadowed. A brilliant sweater of knitted words, Blue Highways will let your imagination run free.

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8. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

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Centered around two abandoned boys in Ethiopia, Cutting for Stone is a beautiful amalgamation of culture, love, and redemption. It highlights various aspects of Africa, from the social dynamics of the place to the heritage and tradition that’s deep-rooted amongst the people to the influences of religion in the area. This serves as a powerful narrative and a one-stop shop for learning about their way of life.

9. A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain

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If there’s one thing that brings us all together, it’s food. In an attempt to explore a plethora of cuisines from across the world, Anthony Bourdain went on a sizzling adventure, breaking barriers and making readers realize we’re so similar yet so different. Experiencing a kaleidoscope of aromas and flavors, he expanded both his mind and palette for food.

10. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

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A memoir of his time in Paris as an aspiring writer, A Moveable Feast is a throwback to the 1920s. Ernest recalls the old days when he, with other notable writers, would sit in cafes, pouring their hearts into their words and discovering who they wanted to be. The book also serves as a love letter to the beautiful city of Paris, which the writer holds dear to him.

11. Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinback wanted to reimage the country he had spent years writing about and truly experience its nature and people. Leaving the city life behind, he hopped into a camper truck, exploring the real America behind the shadowy facade.

12. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

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Surrounding the historical city of Rome, Anthony Doerr recalls his transformative years back when he got a fellowship there. This is a memoir about his experiences there and encapsulates the timeless beauty and day-to-day life within the locale.

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13. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

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Henry David Thoreau spent two years, two months, and two days in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. He built this cabin himself for $28.12, predominantly out of hand-cut and recycled materials. The book itself transforms you into a more straightforward place where self-reliance and reflection are paramount. Walden contains daily details of his life in the woods. Detailing time spent planting and maintaining a garden, hunting, cooking, and his observation of nature.

14. The Beach by Alex Garland

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Last but by no means least, The Beach follows a young backpacker who finds himself in Thailand. In a shady guest house, Richard, the protagonist, learns about a long-standing legend in Asian culture, the beach where only a few have made it to Eden, a communal area. Richard sets off on an adventure like no other through the lush forests and undulating plains.

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