Stuck in the same ole, same ole with no variety in sight? Need to follow your heart and explore the world on your terms? When it comes to traveling and having an adventure, there’s no right or wrong way to do it if your mind’s in the right place. That’s what makes these books on adventure so inspiring; they all depict a different epic mental or physical journey and cause anyone reading it to want to drop everything and take fate into their own hands. 

Scope this reading list for fearless travelers and adventurers — maybe something will find its way into your pack during your expedition ahead.

Hitting the Road

"On the Road" will conjure your inner minimalist. Grab your favorite backpack and start trekking!

“On the Road” (Jack Kerouac)

What might be the quintessential American travel novel is also arguably the most memorable achievement of the Beat Generation. The story follows main characters Sal Paradise (Kerouac himself) and Dean Moriarty across America, chronicling their desires, impulses, momentum, frustrations and thoughts. “On the Road” has inspired countless generations of travelers to let the chips fall where they may and accept life as one unpredictable, beautiful journey. Grab a sturdy backpack and head out!

Mystical and Magical

“Shantaram” (Gregory David Roberts)

Set in India, “Shantaram” is nearly a 1,000 pages stuffed with intrigue and intensity. After escaping from an Australian prison, the main character heads to Bombay to disappear. However, he soon finds himself at the crossroads of the mafia, slum life, and the city’s underworld. The book received rave reviews for its vivid imagery, insightful prose, and Roberts’ masterful storytelling.

Book a New Delhi day stay if you need to refresh in the capital city. 

“The Lost City of Z” (David Grann)

An intelligent, charming, rugged, adventurous account of Colonel Percy Fawcett’s grand adventure. He was one on the long list of many throughout history who spent their time searching for some of the world’s purported mysteries. Leaving his comfortable home in the United Kingdom, Fawcett headed to the Amazon. He was searching for a mythical city said to be hidden in the jungle. David Grann documents Fawcett’s time in South America and in the UK. The book is an interesting look into a legendary explorer, and also hit the silver screen last year.

The Wisdom of Wandering

“Vagabonding” (Rolf Potts)

Potts has lived the life many of us dream about. He spent 10 years exploring the world, even walked across Israel along the way. “Vagabonding” is a practical, yet interesting look into the joys and pitfalls of long-term travel. Serious travels can find much wisdom from the author’s experiences and advice about the world. If you’re just looking for an interesting read you’ll no doubt find Potts’ philosophical musings enthralling.

Two hikers make their way through Denali National Park in Alaska to reach Christopher McCandless' Magic Bus site.

“Into the Wild” & “Into Thin Air” (Jon Krakauer)

Both of Krakauer’s books have gotten a lot of headlines as page-turners, both for their interesting subject matter and riveting storytelling. “Into The Wild” explores the life of Chris McCandless, the disillusioned Emory graduate who was found dead in the heart of Alaska. “Into Thin Air” takes readers to the cliffs of Mount Everest by retelling a litany of bad choices and disasters that climbers faced in a season.

Both books are great reads due to Krakauer’s interesting insights into human nature. He’s also quite adept at spurning readers to delineate between honest adventure and reckless madness.

Harkening Hemingway

“The Sun Also Rises” (Ernest Hemingway)

From serving in World War I to living and writing in Cuba, Hemingway’s life was filled with adventure. So it’s no surprise these same themes play out in his post-war novel about Americans in Europe. Hemingway’s command of the written word really comes out in describing some of Europe’s most majestic scenes in the book, from relaxing in Paris cafes to marveling at bullfighters in Spain—he makes each scene come alive.

If Hemingway’s words inspire, book a Paris day use hotel room to regroup (or nap if you’ve had a few daytime drinks in Hemingway’s honor) after exploring the city for a day.

This reading list of fearless journeys and adventures is a supplement for anyone needing inspiration to step into the unknown. No matter where you plan to explore, let HotelsByDay make your journey easier along the way. Book a day use hotel room to relax for a few hours in a new city or as a means to explore a city center lighter while you keep your belongings safe.


Photo Credit

“On the Road” by Christopher DOMBRES (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Crossing the Outer Range” by Paxson Woelber CC BY-2.0 via Flickr Creative Commons

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Kevin O'Brien

Kevin is a native Texan who is currently on the east coast. He’s spent time living and working in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and in Africa, and enjoys playing a couple of musical instruments.