What better way to pass the long hours on a bus or plane than with a book? I am happiest with my bashed up old Kindle in a hammock (in some shade with a breeze). As much as I love turning pages, the Kindle is so compact and convenient for travel. I’m pretty sure that the 1st edition Kindles and 1st edition Nokia (remember those?) will be the only thing left on earth after a nuclear war or a meteor hits the earth.
These books are all related to travel and great journeys. Rather than give you a list and synopsis of each book, I would like to share my favorite quote from each and what I learned from each.
“Vagabonding- An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel” by Rolf Potts
“Sadly, the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” (“someday I’ll do this, someday I’ll do that”) is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.”
Rolf Potts is a nomadic hero. His book has inspired thousands to quit their jobs, if even for a few months to travel and see the world. He also has a great podcast on his site and has been interviewed by Tim Ferris, who credits him for his career and success as a world traveler. I actually have this book on Audible and have listened to it twice. His advice is so reassuring and practical. He doesn’t try to tell you it will always be easy on the road but encourages you o keep an open mind, curiosity, and awareness everywhere you go.
Read the quote and read it again if you have been thinking about traveling for years but it is never the right time. There is never a right time. I left Ireland two years ago and the same people I left are still waiting for the right time and still talking about all the things they want to do and places they want to go.
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”
“At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”
I re-read this book recently and it provided me with great comfort about the journey that I am about to undertake. The book tells the fable of a young man named Santiago following his path in life and how it is important it is to have faith in trusting your instincts.
The book mentions God a lot, and I consider myself an atheist, but very spiritual. I think that there is higher power and mysteries of the universe we cannot understand but no almighty man in the sky if that makes sense.
I could not pick just one quote from the book but the main lessons are:
Although your dreams are big and terrifying, you will know in your gut when you are on the right path. You will sleep better, have more energy and feel satisfied and happy despite the moments of terror. If you’re not a little bit terrified every once in a while, how do you even know you’re alive anyway?
“Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts
I’d always thought that fate was something unchangeable: fixed for every one of us at birth, and as constant as the circuit of the stars. But I suddenly realised that life is stranger and more beautiful than that. The truth is that no matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter how good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love.
Shantaram is a fantastic story and for many years, producers have been trying to make it into a movie. I am glad that hasn’t happened yet because then no one would read the book! There are so many complex characters and it is such a long book- sorry but I just think that there is no way the movie could match up.
This quote shows that although you can believe in fate, you must also realise that you have the absolute power to change your life of your own free will. The smallest decision can change it all, such as striking up a conversation with a stranger. No one knows how much that stranger can change your life, is that fate or is that you, opening up possibilities for yourself?
“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn’t want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences”.
I don’t really care that this one is a bit of a cliche. I love it (and the movie).
I didn’t want a leaving party when I left Ireland and I don’t want one now that I am leaving Grand Cayman. I hate goodbyes. A few will be really hard for me and those are enough. I don’t want a huge party with people I am acquainted with but not attached to will turn up. I don’t want to be interrogated about my plans and repeatedly asked the same questions as I’m just not sure. I don’t want advice or to hear about a story someone heard once about somewhere that I am going. All I want when I’m leaving is to slip out the back door unnoticed. Guess what? Most people won’t miss you when you’re gone until someone tells them you left! I want to spend my last few days with the people that I will miss and will miss me. (Plus I hate attention of any kind- birthdays, surprises etc)
“Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found” by Cheryl Strayed
“I’d do anything to trade places with you”, he said as we drove. “I’m a free spirit that never had the balls to be free”.
This book is currently being made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Cheryl tells her story of the loss of her mother, her path to near self-destruction and the journey to finding herself again. She hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, with just her heavy backpack having never hiked before. I think I related a lot to this as she describes well the sheer anguish of losing a parent and the bizarre and destructive way some people have with dealing with the grief. Fortunately for me, I never dabbled in heroin, although I would argue alcohol is just as bad if the only aim you have is numbing the pain.
I love the quote above as most people don’t admit that they just don’t have the balls to travel or undertake a great expedition or challenge. They are afraid so will blame not having enough money or not having enough time until finally, they can blame being too old.
Let me know if you have enjoyed this post and please share your travel book recommendation! I am always in search of my next read.