In regards to travel literature, my personal favourite "sub-genre" is women travelling, particularly, women travelling solo. I find it reassuring and motivating that there are hundreds of other women who, like myself, long to see the world on their own. There is something empowering to be able to do it by yourself. And really, from what I've read, you rarely end up alone.
Below I have listed a few of my favourite books - either travel literature or how-to guides. I hope some of you find them as interesting as I have.
My all time favourite travel book (to date) is The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner. In 2006 these three 20-somethings quit their jobs and travelled together around the world for a year. Although the book is not about solo travel their story is very an interesting one. The writers not only included what they saw and where they went, they opened up their hearts to show how they felt and grew as women. I highly recommend it. They also have a travel website filled with plenty of information. Check it out at Lost Girls World.
Seal Press put out Go Your Own Way: Women Travel the World Solo (Editors: Faith Conlon, Ingrid Emerick, Christina Henry de Tessan), a compilation of 23 short stories from around the globe. Some are funny, some heartfelt and yet others filled with adventure. This was actually the first book that I read about women travelling solo. Here is a link to an interview with the editor Ingrid Emerick on the website Expat Women.
Thinking about going around the world (a.k.a RTW trip)? If you're like me and have this as a lifelong goal then get yourself a copy of Rough Guides First Time Around The World (3rd edtion, 2010) by Doug Lansky. This book has information to cover pretty much anything to do with extended travel. Even if you are not planning on circumnavigating the globe but want to travel to certain areas of the globe, this book is a great option. Actually any Rough Guides travel book is helpful in my opinion. Take a visit to the Rough Guides website for updated info or to download their iPhone app. Just a note - I'm about halfway through this one and I have learned plenty!
Well those three are my top picks but there are a few others that are also worth mentioning:
Adventures of a Continental Drifter by Elliott Hester - This book was certainly enjoyable. Tales of Elliott's adventures in 2002 when he quit his job & started travelling from place to place. He also has a syndicated travel column and another book called Plane Insanity (he was a former flight attendant).
Practical Nomad- How to Travel Around the World by Edward Hasbrouck (4th edtion, 2007) - Although I haven't completely finished this book it is filled with good information. A bit more detailed than the Rough Guides' book but also a bit harder to get into. I will get through it though.
I know I've posted quite a few books but I do want to make mention of two other books - mainly because they have gotten away from - literally. Both of these books I have, unfortunately, left on the bus and nobody has turned them in. People, please if you find a book on public transit HAND IT IN TO THE DRIVER!! They send it the Lost and Found so they can be reunited with their absent-minded owners. Thanks :)
I do intend to re-purchase these books and finish them. Not because I found them to be superbly written but because the premise was interesting and I wanted to hear the end of their tales.
On the Couch by Fleur Britten - This UK journalist decided to travel across Asia and stay only in the homes of strangers by using the CouchSurfing online network. Since I am a member of CouchSurfing I wanted to read about her tales. Although I found her writing style to be rather bland I will eventually finish this book to hear the stories and what her final thoughts are about this alternative form of accommodation.
Grounded: A Down To Earth Journey Around The World by Seth Stevenson - My sister gave me this book for christmas and I started reading it this month. Seth and his girlfriend embark on an RTW trip without taking a single airplane flight. They use train, bus, and boat and see the world from a closer vantage point. I was bummed I lost the book because I barely even got into it.
Well those are my extensive reads for the time being. If you get a chance to read any of them I do hope you find them as intersting as I have.