When I’m feeling a bit burnt out or lost, I turn to a really great travel story to get me back on track. Reading tales from wanderers around the world is just the antidote to boredom, and does wonders for creativity and inspiration—if you feel the same way, here are 24 fantastic books from travelers who’ve been all around the globe and have experienced the most incredible adventures.


Desert Solitaire

By Edward Abbey

An ode to the American Southwest, this memoir paints a picture of the beauty, desolation, and complexity of life in the desert.

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The Road to Oxiana

By Robert Byron

Often considered one of the best travel books ever written, this 1930s travelogue recounts Byron’s journey through Iran and Afghanistan.

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An Area of Darkness

By V.S. Naipaul

A raw and insightful narrative of Naipaul’s journey through his ancestral homeland of India.

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Travels with Charley: In Search of America

By John Steinbeck

Accompanied by his beloved poodle Charley, Steinbeck embarks on a road trip across the United States, offering an intimate look at its landscapes and people.

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Arabian Sands

By Wilfred Thesiger

Thesiger’s account of his travels across the Empty Quarter of Arabia is both a story of endurance and a portrayal of a way of life on the brink of change.

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The Places In Between

By Rory Stewart

Stewart narrates his walk across Afghanistan in 2002, very shortly after the fall of the Taliban, detailing the kindness and complexity of the people he meets.

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Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet

By Xinran

Based on a true story, this book captures the tale of a Chinese woman’s journey through Tibet in search of her lost husband.

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River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze

By Peter Hessler

Detailing Hessler’s experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in China, this memoir captures the cultural nuances, personal stories, and the profound changes sweeping through the country.

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The Pilgrimage: A Contemporary Quest for Ancient Wisdom

By Paulo Coelho

Before The Alchemist, Coelho wrote about his journey on the Camino de Santiago, a spiritual quest filled with challenges and self-discovery.

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The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca

By Tahir Shah

Shah’s humorous account of relocating from London to a crumbling palace in Casablanca, navigating cultural differences and local superstitions.

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Lost on Planet China

By J. Maarten Troost

A candid portrayal of modern China, Troost dives deep into the chaos, beauty, and contradictions of this vast nation.

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The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific

By Paul Theroux

Theroux’s kayak journey through the South Pacific islands offers an introspective look at the cultures and landscapes of this region.

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Among the Russians

By Colin Thubron

A vivid account of Thubron’s journey during the latter days of the Soviet Union, capturing the spirit and struggles of its people.

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The Cat Who Went to Paris

By Peter Gethers

A delightful tale of Gethers and his Scottish Fold cat, Norton, traveling together exploring life, love, and the magic of staying in the moment and enjoying the simple things.

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In Patagonia

By Bruce Chatwin

A captivating account of Chatwin’s journey through Patagonia, capturing the stark beauty of the landscapes and the stories of the people he encounters.

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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

By Bill Bryson

Bryson’s humorous account of his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail, revealing the beauty, challenge, and quirks of America’s wilderness and history.

Get it on Amazon.

The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia

By Paul Theroux

Travel with Theroux on one of the longest train journeys, from the UK through the Middle East and Asia, as he offers insights into the cultures, landscapes, and human interactions.

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Dark Star Safari

By Paul Theroux

Join Theroux as he travels from Cairo to Cape Town, offering a deeply personal and poignant look at modern Africa.

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Turn Right at Machu Picchu

By Mark Adams

Adams retraces the steps of Hiram Bingham III, the famed explorer of Machu Picchu, offering a mix of history, personal experience, fun, and the wonder of the Incan city.

Get it on Amazon.

The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner

A witty exploration of places around the world, Weiner delves into what makes people happy, blending travel, psychology, and humor.

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The Snow Leopard

By Peter Matthiessen

Join Matthiessen in the remote regions of the Himalayas as he searches for the elusive snow leopard and spiritual enrichment, creating a meditative reflection on nature, spirituality, and journey.

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Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe

By Bill Bryson

Travel through Europe with Bryson as he revisits places from his youth, offering hilarious observations and heartfelt moments.

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback

By Robyn Davidson

Davidson narrates her 1,700-mile trek across the Australian desert with four camels and a dog, delving into the challenges, beauty, and self-discovery of solitude.

Get it on Amazon.

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

By Dervla Murphy

Embark on a fearless adventure with Murphy as she cycles from Ireland to India, capturing the landscapes, cultures, and the spirit of human connection.

Get it on Amazon.

About the Author

As the editor-in-chief of Frayed Passport, my goal is to help you build a lifestyle that lets you travel the world whenever you want and however long you want, and not worry about where your next paycheck will come from. I've been to 20+ countries and five continents, lived for years as a full-time digital nomad, and have worked completely remotely since 2015. If you would like to share your story with our community, or partner with Frayed Passport, get in touch with me at!

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