In my opinion, books are dying.  Yea we’ve got the Kindle, but still, I don’t read “real” books much anymore, and I don’t know many others my age who still do either (wrong group of friends?).  It’s because were flooded with info and quick reads on the web, ahemm, just like this blog.  If I can’t breeze through something in less than 5 minutes, then chances are, it ain’t being read.  It’s just how things are these days.

But, I have been thinking recently about a few books that have completely inspired and actually made myself and others travel, and two of them were written in the past ten years when the internet was already thriving and sucking away our souls.  Read on my friends to discover 3 books that have gotten people off their asses and into the world.

Eat Pray Love – By Elizabeth Gilbert

The cover of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love

Yea I might be the only straight dude out there who has read AND seen the movie, but Gilbert is a great writer.  It was highly suggested by an ex-girlfriend to read the book (before it was super popular) and I actually really enjoyed it, minus the fact that she in my opinion, seemed like a pretty selfish bitch (Elizabeth Gilbert, not my ex, well…)

Anyways, the book was ripped off of the shelves of every bookstore (that still exists) by lovelorn middle aged women, college-age girls who had finished the Twilight saga already, and…me.

Her story takes her from her quaint and comfortable life in New York, to having a mid-life crisis and deciding she needed to see the world and thus Italy, India and Bali became her next few home bases to get more in touch with her sensuality, spirituality and sexuality.

That book alone has spurred millions and millions of dollars for the destinations she visited in her book, and you can even go on Eat Pray Love inspired world tours (STA Travel even has one!).  Vacations to Bali and Italy have surged recently and all because of the work of one woman’s book.

 

On The Road – By Jack Kerouac

On The Road by Jack Keroac

If you’re a traveler, and especially if you’re an American, On The Road is a must-read.  Kerouac was a part of the Beatnik movement and On The Road, his Magna Opus, is his account of a series of epic trips he took across America in the 1940’s via boxcar, bus and hitchhiking.

The story is all about growth through experience, connecting with people, sex, drugs and the great unknown and basically spurred the backpacking movement in my opinion. Read this book if you haven’t yet, you will be very inspired, hell you might even tie up a hanker chief to the end of a broomstick and head out before you even close the back cover!

The Beach – By Alex Garland

The Beach (image from http://www.stephandtonyinvestigate.com)

Most people are familiar with The Beach because of the movie that was adapted starring Leonardo Dicaprio (one of his best movies if you haven’t seen it).  The book is awesome and matches the sentiments of every perpetual traveler; the longing for more and more off-the-beaten-track destinations to discover, connection to place and time, disconnecting from the world  (not for us Flashpackers!) and self-discovery.

The story starts in Bangkok, Thailand with Richard, a Young English traveler who was staying solo in a hostel.  He is approached by a rather crazy Scottish guy (we’ve all experienced this one!) and he offers Richard a tattered map to a “secret” beach that no tourists know about.  Daffy, the Scottish guy ends up committing suicide in the hostel and Richard decides to try and discover the beach.

Richard teams up with a young French couple and sets out to find the beach on a nearby island, and when they finally get there, they have a run in with marijuana farmers who are heavily armed.  They escape and stumble upon a group of people from all over the world living on the island who have created their own little self-sufficient commune.

Richard and the Frenchies become a part of the group and the rest of the story is pretty exhilarating (won’t ruin it for you) but there is lots of sex, drugs and violence, shark attacks and all that shit that actually makes you read a whole book!

Have you been inspired to travel from a book?  Share it with us!

 

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