Books are the gateway to the world. A first-class ticket to exploring the globe without ever leaving one’s comfort zone, they are how we hiked the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail, abandoned society’s strong arm and went into the woods near Walden Pond, and embarked on the ultimate treasure hunt through the Egypt’s pyramids. And we’re not homebound yet. Whether you’re more interested in armchair travel (no passport required) or you’re planning your great escape, here are six books to give you the travel bug.
No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering
Clara Bensen shares her leap-of-faith experience in her memoir that started out as a Salon.com article entitled, “The Craziest OK Cupid Date Ever.” Fresh off a quarter-life crisis, Clara meets Jeff, and the two hit the road for a spontaneous three-week trip across eight countries. The deal? No plans, no rezzies, and absolutely no metaphorical or literal baggage.
The Winter Girl
Alive and well during the summertime, the Hamptons are abuzz with punchy parties and thirty-to-fortysomethings not acting their age. Matt Marinovich, however, takes us to the East End during a much colder part of the year. And though the calendar is flipped to the dead of winter, things are heating up for a married couple who thought their marriage had long gone stale. But not in the way you’d think.
Jalan Jalan: A Novel of Indonesia
From British author Mike Stoner comes an award-winning tale of self-transformation masquerading as an expat-in-Southeast Asia adventure. Meet Newbie, a Brit whose girlfriend has just died and needs to get away. So he heads to Indonesia to drown his sorrows in cheap booze and hot girls. Though, as any seasoned reader knows, emotional detachment is never that easy.
Dog Run Moon
Get transported to Big Sky Country via author Callan Wink’s critically praised collection of stories. Including a tale of a construction worker who hits the road with a dog that ain’t his and a war reenactor who carries on an affair with the Native American who takes his life on the battlefield, Wink’s stories are funny, weird, and exactly what we’d expect from a fly-fishing writer with time on his hands.
Wreck and Order
Incongruent in nature, Elise is a walking contradiction. Though sharp witted and self-assure, she’s simultaneously reckless and self-destructive. Home from Paris and back to her abusive relationship and dead-end job, she decides a drastic change is in order. So she packs a bag and heads to Sri Lanka, seeking friendship, meaning, and hope. If we could only all be so brave.
Ways to Disappear
Hey, Where’d You Go, Bernadette fans, get pumped; there’s another missing-person case coming to your e-reader soon. This time, it’s Brazilian writer Beatriz Yagoda who’s MIA. Drowning in debt, she’s last seen with a suitcase heading up an almond tree. And it’s up to her American translator, Emma, to wade through the sticky Brazilian landscape to get to the root of Idra Novey’s noirish, oft-humorous mystery.
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