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25 Books on Travel That Will Change Your Life

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25 Books on Travel That Will Change Your Life

The right book can change our life forever. It’s a secret weapon that we carry with us, especially as we travel and discover not only the world we live in, but explore who we are as a human being. There are millions of books out there “in the cloud” and in the bookstores, but only a few deserve our attention and will continue to deserve our attention. We’ve handpicked 25 amazing books you must read before you travel the world or set out on a quest to explore yourself. Use these books as your guide; a handbook you can refer to anytime you feel lost or need inspiration.

Here are the 25 books you must read…

1. The Alchemist

This is by far one of the best (and the most translated) books you must read on following your dreams. The Alchemist is a story about following your dreams. The story follows a young shepherd boy from Spain to Egypt as he follows his heart, goes with the flow, learns to love, and learns the meaning of life. Whatever your dream entails, this book will fill up you with inspiration.

“If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man… Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”

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    2. Vagabonding

    This book is a must-read for those new to long-term travel. The author Rolf spent 10 years on the road (he even walked across Israel) and his book contains valuable insights, quotes, and a lot of practical information. From saving to planning to life on the road, this is a must for newbies.

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      3. The 4-hour Workweek

      Don’t be so quick to judge this book by its title. It has been a life-changing movement for millions of people around the world, who have gone out to start their own business, live a digital nomadic life, and travel the world. The author, Tim Ferriss, is a self-claimed “Human Guinea Pig,” performing life experiments on himself that will fascinate you like losing 50lbs in record time, running a business while traveling, and creating early mini-retirements for yourself.

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        4. The Promise of a Pencil

        If there’s one takeaway from this book, it’s that anyone can create extraordinary change for those who need it most. Adam Braun traveled the world, and ran into a young boy during his trip. When Adam asked him what he wanted most in the world, the boy responded “a pencil.” This is when Adam started his “for-purpose” organization called Pencils of Promise, where they have now gone out to build hundreds of schools in Nicaragua, Laos, and Thailand, and providing full-time education to tens of thousands of children in need.

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          5. The Beach

          This is a novel following, Alex Garland, a British backpacker, as he searches for paradise on earth. It has helped inspire a generation of gap year students to head to the Far East and is symbolic of the all-consuming escapism that travel can provide.

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            6. Unlikely Destinations

            This book is a unique mix of autobiography, business history, and travel book. It traces Tony and Maureen Wheeler’s (the founders of Lonely Planet) personal story as well as the often bumpy evolution of their travel guide business into the world’s largest independent travel publishing company.

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              7. The Looptail

              This is the extraordinary story of Bruce Poon Tip’s personal adventure, starting with his first-person account of how he honed his entrepreneurial instincts to start and develop G Adventures, the world’s most successful adventure travel company, which now operates more than 100 countries, on all seven continents, serving more than 100,000 customers every year. Along the way, Poon Tip reveals his unusual management secrets that not only keep his employees fully engaged and energized but also keeps his customers extremely happy.

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                8. On the Road

                On The Road features a series of trips made by Kerouac and his Beat Generation friends across America in the years after the Second World War. Through the eyes of narrator Sal Paradise (Kerouac himself) the reader is transported from New York to Denver to San Francisco and LA. Along the way there’s jazz, poetry and drugs. A thrilling story that brings you back to the exciting moments of history.

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                  9. The Turk Who Loved Eating Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World

                  Matt Gross, who wrote a column for a few years in the New York Times called Frugal Traveler, shares stories, scenarios and “sod off” moments he experienced as a traveler before, during and after working for “All the news that’s fit to print”.

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                    10. Eat, Pray, Love

                    This is a story about a woman named Liz, who thought she had everything she wanted in life: a home, a husband and a successful career. Now newly divorced and facing a turning point, she finds that she is confused about what is important to her. Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Liz embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and Bali. Highly recommended for someone going through a transition and seeking to get out of one’s comfort zone.

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                       11. In a Sunburned Country

                      Bill Bryson is a master of the modern travel essay. In a Sunburned Country, perhaps his funniest book, follows his journey through Australia, that hot, dry, strange, kangaroo-filled country, where he explores the cities, deserts, ocean, people, and regions with weird names (Tittybong!). Bryson’s cheery and supremely curious travel ethos will inspire you to adopt a similar attitude on your journey abroad.

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                        12. The Geography of Bliss

                        In the book, Eric Weiner travels to spots around the globe—including Iceland, Bhutan, Moldova, and Qatar—to search out how different countries define and pursue happiness.

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                          13. The Places in Between

                          In 2002, the same time as America’s invasion of the country, Scottish author Rory Stewart traveled across north-central Afghanistan: by foot and completely alone. Named one of the top 10 books of 2006 by The New York Times, The Places in Between is moving and thoughtful, and, at times, devastating, never more than when he visits the Buddhas of Bamyan, two historical Buddha statues from the 6th century that had just been bombed by the Taliban. The book is a prime example of what it means to truly be present in a place, however uncomfortable or difficult that can be.

                           
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                            14. Into the Wild

                            Into the Wild addresses the issues of how to be accepted into society, and how finding oneself sometimes conflicts with being an active member in society. If you feel that you don’t fit into the confines of how society defines normal, then this book will show you how to embrace yourself.

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                              15. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

                              Mark Twain shares what life is like in the Mississippi region, addressing the painful contradictions of racism and segregation. This is without a doubt something that you’ll experience throughout your travels and a powerful narrative to absorb before you departure.

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                                16. In Patagonia

                                The 1977 classic travel book follows English author Bruce Chatwin’s journey from Lima, Peru to Patagonia, where he spent six months. The book, divided into 97 sections, defies the standard structure of travel narratives by almost entirely rejecting linearity, which makes it the perfect read for all self-identified wanderers who refuse to follow straight paths.

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                                   17. The Sun Also Rises

                                  This book can be read as a morality tale about a protagonist who searches for integrity in an immoral world. As we travel, it’s without a doubt we will face injustice and struggle that is unfair, and this book will help you gain a unique perspective about the world we live in.

                                  18. Inca-Kola: A Traveller’s Tale of Peru

                                  This is a hilarious book for anyone to read before they travel to South America (especially Peru). It follows the author Matthew Parris’s trip around Peru and shares the great adventures he experienced with a side of humor. If you enjoy a giggle and interested in learning more about Peru, this is a must!

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                                    19. The Motorcycle Diaries

                                    Leaving Argentina for a lark on a sputtering motorbike, the young Marxist revolutionary returns as a man with a mission. He becomes, in his daughter’s words: “increasingly sensitive to the complex indigenous world of Latin America”.

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                                      20. ‘A Year in the World’ by Frances Mayes

                                      This is a narrative story of a woman who departs from her home in Tuscany to see Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, Turkey and North Africa. She shares her personal anecdotes, commentary on art, architecture, history, landscape, and social and culinary traditions, making you feel as if you’re there with her.

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                                        21.’The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost’

                                        Ever wish you took a year off after college to see the world? Backpack vicariously with Friedman’s coming-of-age travel memoir about the year she spent plane- and train-hopping across three continents.

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                                          22. Life is a Trip

                                          This book can be summarized by the author herself, “It occurred to me that any traveler can travel like a journalist—looking for cues and clues, diving into new cultures, and coming home with great stories and new ways of responding to life.”

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                                            23. How to Travel the World for $50 USD a Day

                                            Do you want to travel more but think it’s expensive? Would you like to find a way to make travel more affordable? Matt Kepnes, the founder of NomadicMatt.com, shares his tricks of the trade on how to hack travel and plan the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank.

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                                              24. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

                                              “In 1986, my classmate Claire Van Houten and I decided to backpack around the world for a year,” writes Gilman in this page-turning memoir about two young women and the crisis the faced while traveling in China. “We had no idea, of course, of how complicated the world could be, or of our place in it, or of just how much trouble we were in for.”

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                                                25. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

                                                What is the answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything? If you find yourself pondering these philosophical questions, then you’ll relate greatly to the protagonist of this book.

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                                                  If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love reading How to Read Over 60+ Books a Year and Complete Guide to Doubling Your Reading Speed (Without Losing Comprehension).
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                                                  Sean Kim

                                                  Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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                                                  Last Updated on January 13, 2022

                                                  15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

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                                                  15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

                                                  Many of us dream of living abroad but can often be scared to make such a big change to our routine lifestyles and leave our home countries behind. Daunting as it may be, living abroad can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor and can give you the quality of life you have been looking for.

                                                  From a warmer climate to a more easy going way of life, there are many foreign countries favored by expats who stay for a long time – and sometimes forever. Taking into consideration livings standards, opportunities and social aspects, here are our top 15 best places to live as an expat and why.

                                                  1. Thailand

                                                  A hot spot for expats, the ‘land of smiles’ as it’s commonly known offers expats a tropical climate, a huge array of sandy beaches and islands to explore, and a rich culture. The cost of living in Thailand is extremely low, and when combined with the friendly tax system means that disposable income can be very high.

                                                  Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, offers expats great employment opportunities.

                                                  2. Switzerland

                                                  Another popular destination for expats, Switzerland offers exciting employment packages and a high standard of living. It’s great for those who love the outdoors, as there are many beautiful lakes, mountains to hike in and skiing in the winter. The school standards for expats are also excellent, making it appealing for those with children. English is also widely spoken so day-to-day living can be stress free.

                                                  Unemployment in Switzerland is low and expats moving here don’t need to worry too much about finding a job before they arrive.

                                                  3. Australia

                                                  Many foreigners who visit Australia don’t want to leave as it offers a great quality of life, beautiful beaches and a warm climate. Making friends in Australia is easy too, due to the lack of language barrier and the large number of expats who already live here. Australia is a great place to move to if you have children because of its wide range of schooling possibilities and recreational outdoor activities.

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                                                  Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live.

                                                  4. Singapore

                                                  Expats in Singapore can benefit from generous financial packages, great career opportunities and low tax rates. Although education is expensive here, it is rated one of the top places for raising children abroad due to the quality of the education system and the array of schools.

                                                  Public transport such as buses and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) are cheap and very reliable in Singapore.

                                                  5. South Korea

                                                  South Korea offers expats a unique range of opportunities and a very different way of living. Jobs for expats are easy to find and usually very well paid, with apartments provided by the employer on the most part making living costs even lower. There are also many tight-knit expat communities in South Korea, making it easy to socialize and meet new friends. The excellent education system is also a pro for families wanting to move to this culture-rich country.

                                                  South Korea has a cheap public healthcare system and offers great medical care, with most doctors speaking English.

                                                  6. New Zealand

                                                  New Zealand is constantly on the lookout for skilled workers to expedite to the country – especially those under the age of 30 – and skilled migrants can be granted a stay for up to five years. It offers a good climate and although income levels can be lower than other countries, quality of life is high, with its awe-inspiring scenery, low crime rate and state sponsored healthcare.

                                                  New Zealand is great for those looking for a laid back and active outdoors lifestyle.

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                                                  7. Canada

                                                  Its national healthcare system, friendly locals and very high quality of life are just a few of the reason expats choose Canada as a place to live. It’s very welcoming to expats and skills shortages encourage foreigners to move here in order for the country to grow economically. It’s easy for expats to feel comfortable quickly in Canada due to its multicultural environment.

                                                  Canada was largely unaffected by the economic crisis, making it a very popular country for expats.

                                                  8. Qatar

                                                  Qatar is becoming increasingly popular among expats with an estimated 500 new arrivals every day. The salaries are generous and are tax free too, making disposable income very high. Car and housing allowances are part of many remuneration packages, and education for your children and airfares are often included.

                                                  The cost of living is lower in Qatar than in other UAE countries but salaries can still be just as generous.

                                                  9. Hong Kong

                                                  Where east truly meets the west, this bustling island has a population of over seven million people. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment and an active nightlife, Hong Kong is definitely the place to be. Benefits for expats include its advanced healthcare system and elevated standards of schooling for children, along with great employment opportunities. The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high, so trying to negotiate a housing allowance with your employer can be beneficial.

                                                  Hong Kong is great for those looking for high incomes and career advancement.

                                                  10. Japan

                                                  As an expat destination, Japan offers a rich culture and a chance to experience a very different day-to-day life. Currently around two million expats live in Japan, and in the larger cities such as Tokyo a large portion of the population speaks English. English speakers are also in demand and there are a large number of opportunities for language teachers, especially in the capital.

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                                                  Japan offers a high standard of living for expats and a good education system for those with children.

                                                  11. Spain

                                                  Spain is a very popular destination for expats due to the high temperatures and year-round sunshine. EU residents don’t require a visa to work here, meaning the move can be a lot easier. Skilled foreign workers also continue to be in demand with jobs such as engineering, customer service, skilled trades and language teachers widely available.

                                                  A huge 14% of Spain’s population are expats from a variety of foreign countries.

                                                  12. Dubai

                                                  Two of the main attractions of moving to Dubai are the tax-free salaries and the warm climate. Some of the most popular jobs for expats are in construction, banking, oil and tourism. You can also enjoy a busy social life in Dubai as the expat community is thriving. Although it can be an expensive country, the tax-free salary means you experience a higher quality of life than in other countries.

                                                  You will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to live in Dubai as an expat.

                                                  13. Germany

                                                  Germany is one of Europe’s most populous countries, with around 82.4 million people. It’s a lively and inexpensive country to live in as an expat, and if you have children the education system is great and healthcare is to a high standard. An estimated 250,000 expats live in Germany currently, with the numbers rising every year.

                                                  If you are already an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to live and work in Germany.

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                                                  14. The Netherlands

                                                  The Netherlands is a great place for expats who love the outdoors. Cycling is one of the main modes of transport and looking after the environment is widely recognized. There are a lot of English speakers in the Netherlands too, but learning the language can work to your advantage and make day-to-day life that little bit easier. Skilled expats can also benefit from a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% if they meet the correct criteria.

                                                  It is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when looking for employment in the Netherlands.

                                                  15. China

                                                  China offers expats great employment opportunities with little competition. Those who embrace the culture and decide they want to live in China long term can see a host of employment opportunities as its economy is growing rapidly every year. Economists predict it will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2018. China also offer expats low living costs and high disposable incomes, which is why many look to live here for a higher quality of life.

                                                  Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular destinations for expats who live in China.

                                                  Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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