12 wanderlust books that will whisk your imagination far, far away

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Oh, the places between the pages you'll go.

Do you long for the road less traveled? Is a major lifestyle change approaching steadily? Restless limbs, wandering minds and burning questions have led the authors of the following non-fiction books around the world and spawned riveting recounts of their experiences. Whether it’s uprooting your life to move to Tuscany, navigating the Pacific Ocean, or simply attempting to “adult” in everyday life, the tales within these gems may bring comfort to your wanderlust spirit.

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin

Take a walk with Chatwin along the southernmost tip of South America shared by Argentina and Chile: Patagonia. In this 1977 travelogue, he treks “where bandits were once made welcome” in search of things left behind by time. Get it here.

Coasting: A Private Voyage by Jonathan Raban

During the Falklands war of 1982, Raban chartered a boat to explore the 2,000-mile coast of England, which prompted him to reflect on his upbringing and concept of home. His revelations and interactions with people in communities along the coast are collected in this book. Get it here

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle 

Mayle and his family have moved into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in Lubéron, and each season brings a new perspective on the provençal life they’ve chosen to live. Get it here

Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

With only a fear of deep water standing between her and the man she loves, DeRoche leaves her inhibitions on the shoreline and climbs aboard her Argentinean lover Ivan’s sailboat for a year-long voyage across the Pacific. This memoir finds DeRoche far beyond her comfort zone in pursuit of love, worldly exploration, and antidotes for seasickness. Get it here

Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

What awaits after the “Pomp and Circumstance” of collegiate graduation? Brown University alumnae Pan and Kapelke-Dale have filled their post-grad lives with lengthy travels, various career ventures, breakups, breakdowns, and constant tests of their readiness for adulthood. Get it here

Among the Russians by Colin Thubron 

Thubron put pen to paper to describe his cultural exploration of Soviet Union Russia on the cusp of dissolution. Get it here

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

Vowell ventures on a tour of the United States, taking in the view through the lens of the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, and William McKinley. This book is equal parts a history lesson and a meditation on the exploitation of their deaths to promote tourism as well as political and cultural change. Get it here

Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage by Kathleen Winter 

Winter provides a detailed account of her observations during a voyage across the Northwest Passage including the mating of grizzly and polar bears to create a new hybrid species and the struggles of the local Inuit people as they attempt to participate in the global economy while maintaining their way of life. She also touches upon her emigration from England to Canada to demonstrate how her she personally connects with this changing region. Get it here

Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns, and Game Meat by Paula Lee

Lee is a tradition-rejecting former vegetarian with a nomadic spirit. In this recipe-spliced memoir, she discovers strengths in hunting, butchering, and shooting and meditates on how this lifestyle change influences changes to her personality. Get it here

Road Trip Rwanda: A Journey into the New Heart of Africa by Will Ferguson

A Giller Prize-winning author and an escaped Rwanda prisoner reflect on the dark past on this country and bear witness to the hope its people forge every day toward a brighter future. Get it here

Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

As Mayes took on the restoration of an abandoned Tuscan villa, she unearthed unexpected treasures not only on her new property but also in the vibrant countryside in which she’d chosen to live. This book is littered with anecdotes on relationships, food, and cultural exploration. In 2003, lovers of travel and romance flocked to theaters for the book’s film adaptation, starring Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, and Lindsay Duncan. Get it here

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Four years after the death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed threw caution to the wind and decided to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone. In navigating this journey she hoped to course correct the trajectory of her life. Strayed’s candid retelling of the suspenseful and maddening experience inspired the 2014 film by the same name starring Reese Witherspoon. Get it here
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