Sometimes you need a little inspiration to book that one-way flight and go embrace expat life. As someone living abroad I sometimes like to read books that make me feel like, “Yea, ok, somebody gets me.” These books will do that. I’m a bit of a reading nerd (no joke I read about 4 books a week). Nerd for sure! Anyway, these have been my fave travel and living abroad themed books that I’ve read over the past few years.
By: Kristen Newman
This is the perfect book to read while chilling on the beach. The book is written by Kristen Newman who is a comedy writer for shows such as How I Met Your Mother and That 70’s Show. During her twenties and thirties, Newmann took advantage of breaks from various shows she had been working on to go on jaunts around the world. Her escapades are humorous and enlightening to the life of a constant traveler.
Great For: Anyone who is young and in need of some major wanderlust adventures complete with random hookups and spontaneity.
By: Bill Bryson
It’s hard to limit my picks of Bill Bryson books. I can’t give him enough praise as a writer. He is my idol and someone I’d love to hang out with because his wit would keep me laughing for hours. Anyway, enough Bill Bryson fangirling, In A Sunburned Country chronicles Bryson’s adventures in Australia over various trips. The great thing about this book is that not only is it a fun read, it is also extremely informative. After reading in A Sunburned Country I have a better understanding of the history, wildlife, culture, and different places in Australia. Australia had never been a place I was dying to see (I’m much more obsessed with New Zealand) but after reading this book, I definitely think I need to check it out.
Great For: Anyone who wants a good laugh and is interested in exploring Australia.
By: Candice Millard
The River of Doubt was an unexpected gem for me. I read it because I had nothing else to read while on a camping trip, but after a few pages I was completely engrossed in this book. The River of Doubt chronicles the trip Theodore Rosevelt took down a river in the Amazon of Brazil. The journey those men took is completely enthralling. Along the way they encountered natives, rapids, illness, death, poisonous animals and more.
Great For: Anyone who is interested in history and needs some inspiration for a grand adventure.
By: Bill Bryson
Another Bill Bryson book (and my favorite Bryson book at that). I first read A Walk In The Woods when I was about eleven years old. I had a teacher who had recently hiked The Appalachian Trail and for whatever reason, I was completely fascinated by this. He recommended I read A Walk In The Woods to get a better understanding of what life on the trail was like. Bryson chronicles his trip with his friend Stephen Katz as they attempted to complete the trail, but trail life became a bit too much for them. Since reading this Bryson book it has been my lifelong goal to hike the whole Appalachian Trail. Also, it is a book I literally reread probably at least once a year.
Great For: Anyone considering a long backpacking trip and who enjoys some good Bill Bryson humor.
By: Alex Garland
I guess I’ve been living under a rock because I have never seen the movie The Beach. I recently read the recommendation of another blogger that it is a great travel inspiration movie, so I decided first I had to read the book. This book is a work of fiction and chronicles a British backpacker’s time in Thailand. Not long after arriving in the country the backpacker, named Richard, receives a map detailing the location of an idyllic beach paradise that is untouched by tourism. You have to read the book to see what happens next. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it to be an easy, fun read.
Great For: Anyone interested in backpacking through Thailand and anyone who is interested in leaving society behind.
By: Paulo Coelho
This is a classic that I somehow skipped over (I thought it looked boring) until someone recommended it to me last year. It is lovely, beautiful, amazing. This is the type of book which you finish and think “man I wish I could keep reading that forever.” It was originally written in Portuguese by Paulo Coelho and has since been translated into over 67 languages. The book tells the story of a young Andalusian shepherd that journeys to Egypt after having several dreams of finding treasure there.
Great For: Anyone that believes strongly in something despite all the people doubting them and anyone just looking for a novel that will change their life.
By: Tahir Shah
The Caliph’s House tells the story of author Tahir Shah purchasing a mansion in need of some serious love in Casablanca Morocco and the drama that unfolds after he relocates with his family to Casablanca to start fixing up the mansion. This book was absolutely hysterical without really meaning to be. The things his family went through are so unusual. I honestly don’t think I could have gone through what they did and have kept my sanity.
Great For: Anyone that is thinking of purchasing property abroad and anyone who has or is considering moving to a country with a culture completely different from their own.
By: Timothy Ferriss
You’ve probably heard about this book as it was quite popular a few years ago. It is written by Tim Ferris who is somewhat of a business expert. I find him to be rather arrogant and some of his ideas to be a little far fetched, but despite that, he does have some really good ideas in his book. The 4 Hour Work Week is basically a guide for anyone interested in starting their own business and being location independence.
Great For: Anyone that needs that last little bit of inspiration for quitting your job and becoming your own boss.
By: Colin White & Laurie Boucke
I came across this book while in the airport in Amsterdam a few years ago. I read a few pages and found it so funny that I had to buy it. This book shares the author’s humorous observations of life in The Netherlands. Although I’ve personally never lived in The Netherlands I could relate to all the humorous culture differences of living in another country.
Great For: Anyone living abroad that finds themselves going crazy over cultural differences and especially for anyone that lives abroad in The Netherlands
By: Sarah MacDonald
India is personally my number one wanderlust destination. I’ve never been, but I’m obsessed with the idea of going. Naturally, I was drawn to this book about author Sarah MacDonald’s experiences in India. She is hilarious and the situations she deals with are sometimes absolutely insane. Read it. You won’t be disappointed.
Great For: Anyone that is living abroad in India or has lived abroad in India and for anyone who is curious about what it would be like to live in India.
I hope this list gives you something to add to you reading list! Also, I’m always looking for new books to read so if you have any recommendations of your fave abroad themed books (or any books for that matter), leave them in the comments. I love a good read!
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