The proper adventure book has the power to transport you up mountains, through canyons, down trails and across the world. It will leave you raw, inspired and possessed to purchase the next plane ticket outta here.
The following is a compilation of 10 of my favorite adventure books that did just that! Just don’t hold me liable for your next impulse plane ticket purchase.
A national bestseller, motion picture and the source of some pretty interesting controversy, Into The Wild recounts the true story of Christopher McCandless. He’s the man who dropped his whole life, family and world to survive the Alaskan wilderness. No matter your position on his decisions, this book threatens any reader to ask ‘what if…‘?
A classic memoir written by American writer and park ranger Edward Abbey, the reading of Desert Solitaire is a rite of passage for any hiking enthusiast. The book recounts Abbey’s time as a park ranger in Arches National Park in the late 1950’s.
He challenges any reader to leave the concrete behind and “walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus” to truly live and experience this world. His challenges of industrial tourism in our wild places are still relevant today.
Endurance is the bestselling account of history in the making. The book recounts the failed attempt of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew to make the first crossing of Antarctica. With the wrecking of their ship Endurance, the abandoned and dwindling crew struggles to survive for two years on the frozen, uncharted Antarctic wasteland.
A riotous and nonfiction research project by Eric Weiner, The Geography of Bliss follows one man’s life mission to find happiness. Each chapter analyzes a unique destination on our world map, from the saddest country in the world of Moldova to the happiest country of Iceland. Weiner will take any reader around the world on his rollercoaster of emotion.
You’ve never experienced a tropical island quite like this. One of the few fictional pieces on this list, Hotel Honolulu tells the story of the writer turned hotel manager escaping his life on the mainland. A raunchy and real depiction of life as a local on the island of Hawaii, the infinite plot twists leave any reader a thought-provoked mess. Theroux has a gift for transporting any reader into the lives and world of his characters. For 432 pages, you WILL live in the Hotel Honolulu.
Walden on Wheels is on the required reading list for every American college student. A candid, comedic memoir of the author’s post-college experience, Ken Ilgunas uses #vanlife and a transcontinental journey to yank himself out of $32,000 of school debt. After three short years, he succeeds! It wasn’t always easy, but it was always eyeopening.
Lovestruck author and 20-something Brian Benson had no idea what he wanted out of life. But he knew he loved Rachel and that he’ll follow her anywhere. A quick and easy read, Going Somewhere is the romantic comedy for adventurers. With no prior cycling experience and moderate physical fitness, the couple of Brian and Rachel set off on the adventure of a lifetime, crossing America on wheels. The adventure proves to be the ultimate relationship test.
Unlike Paul Theroux’s novel Hotel Honolulu, nonfiction essay Deep South is a transformative and emotional piece that will transport you straight into the American deep south. The book explores culture, poverty, social strife and racial difficulty in the world of the 21st century. As a result, Paul Theroux reminds the reader why we travel and what it’s really all about.
Now a major motion picture, you’ve probably heard of “old man” Bill Bryson’s failed attempt to walk the entire Appalachian trail. A pee-your-pants comedy, Bryson battles circumstantial disaster and aging with brutal honesty and frankness. For all of us who have gotten in over our head in the backcountry, his story is a true breath of fresh air.
Why read the book if you’ve already seen the movie? Bryson has an original and impassioned take on conservationism and nature, and provides a valuable look into historical significance of everywhere he goes.
A compilation of short stories, dirtbag climber and author Luke Mehall reminds us of a world we all can appreciate. As a druggie saved by climbing, Mehall catches the climbing bug, doing any and everything he can to stay submerged in this barebones community of granite lovers. It’s an easy book to pick up and put back down, requiring the reader to marinate in each and every experience.
Happy Reading & Happy Travels