10 Books to read before embarking on a solo journey 

Woman sitting with legs crossed reading
Woman sitting with legs crossed reading

10 Books to read before embarking on a solo journey 

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Japan

Traveling solo, especially when lucky enough to live overseas, is a dream shared by many. Getting lost in Tuscany among the hilly vineyards, strolling through London’s bustling markets or just catching some sun along the Mediterranean coastline can be cause for daydreaming wanderlust. The solitude in traveling by yourself can cast the world into a completely different light. Here are 10 books to check out before planning your next solo trek. 

A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit (2005)

This hodgepodge collection of autobiographical essays documents a deeper journey of how our life experiences shape our view of the world. When we travel off the beaten path geographically, we can rediscover what we’ve lost within ourselves.  

A Moveable Feast: Life-Changing Food Adventures Around the World” edited by Don George (2010)

This delicious compilation of travel, culinary and cultural adventures is a must-read for any foodie. Read fascinating accounts by multiple writers, including chef Andrew Zimmern and the late Anthony Bourdain. 

A Year in the World” by Frances Mayes (2006)

The best-selling author of “Under the Tuscan Sun” and her husband decide to wander through various countries of Europe (and briefly touch down in Morocco) discovering the local delights and cultures. Not quite a solo-travel read, but worth it, nonetheless. 

The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (1988)

The touching story of young Santiago, a shepherd from the Andalusia region of Spain who follows his heart and dreams on the path to Egypt in search of buried treasure. This simple story is about not giving up and self-discovery along the way. 

The Big Trip” by Lonely Planet (2012)

A guide filled with tips and one-of-a-kind experiences for traveling abroad. Geared toward graduating students taking a gap year or those with more time on their hands to travel, this book is well worth the read. 

Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)

This autobiographical account takes readers on a heartfelt journey through Italy, India and Indonesia. Following the realization her life isn’t as she hopes, Liz sets out to rediscover herself through travel and self-reflection. 

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World” by Eric Weiner (2008)

Eric Weiner is a foreign news correspondent who took a year to trot the globe in search of finding the happiest places (and one really unhappy place). An insightful read into how fate, upbringing and happenstance can help find bliss anywhere. 

How NOT to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker” by Lauren Juliff (2015)

A heartbroken young woman battling her inner demons decides to take off on a whirlwind adventure-seeking self-healing. Instead, Lauren finds herself in a barrage of less-than fortunate circumstances and events. A great example of what NOT to do when traveling solo. 

Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel” by Judith Fein (2010)

Author Judith Fein shares 14 different journeys from around the world and the lessons she learned along the way. Chief among them, expect the unexpected and embrace the unknown. Learn authentically from people, cultures, food and how it can change the way you relate to it.  

Worldwalk” by Steven Newman (2012)

Freelance journalist Steven Newman decides to embark on a backpacking journey that spans more than 20 countries, five continents and four years. Newman writes about his adventures (and misadventures) and learns although we all speak different languages, the world is full of love, hope, friendship and humanity. 

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