10 Personal Stories About Eye-Opening Travel

Whether you want to learn new things about travel before your next vacation or journey vicariously through adventurous authors, books about people exploring the world are fascinating and eye-opening reads. The ten non-fiction works on this list are personal stories written by well-traveled authors who went off the beaten path and gained new perspective along the way. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

10 Personal Stories About Eye-Opening Travel

Title Author Place(s) Travelled
1. Traveling with Ghosts Shannon Leone Fowler Eastern Europe, Israel, and more
2. Illegal John Dennehy Ecuador
3. The Temporary Bride Jennifer Klinec Iran
4. Almost Anywhere Krista Schlyer America
5. Border Kapka Kassabova The border between Bulgaria, Turkey, & Greece
6. Reckless Traveler Walter Rhein South America
7. Between River and Sea Dervla Murphy Israel & Palestine
8. Tell Them To Get Lost Brian Thacker Southeast Asia
9. Adventures of a Railway Nomad Karen McCann Several countries across Europe
10. Vroom with a View Peter Moore Italy

Things To Bring on Your Next Vacation

  • Travel size toiletries that won't take up too much space
  • Keep your dirty clothes separate from the clean ones with a laundry bag
  • A money belt for easy access to cash & cards
  • If you're traveling with kids, you might want to bring along some games
  • Depending on your preference, either a backpack or some nice luggage
  • Cozy pillows can improve any long flight or car trip
  • If you're going to a country where you don't know the language, a translator can be a big help
  • A travel mug for your coffee or tea

Travel Packing Tips: How to Pack a Carry-On

In Depth

Even if you love setting sail for new places whenever you can, chances are you don't get to do it as much as you'd like. If you're dealing with a case of wanderlust, it's helpful to surround yourself with tales of revelation and self-discovery in gorgeous, exotic settings. For readers who love to jet set and nomads who are always dreaming up their next adventure, here, in no particular order, are some of the most inspiring books about the power of travel.

At #1, we have Shannon Leone Fowler's "Traveling with Ghosts." Marine biologist Fowler was backpacking through Thailand with her fiance Sean when tragedy struck. Sean was stung by a poisonous jellyfish and killed instantly. In this memoir, Fowler recounts her attempt to put the pieces of her life back together by taking a journey around the world. A tale of self-discovery in the style of Cheryl Strayed's "Wild," this book takes readers on a rocky, emotional journey.

At #2, we find "Illegal," by John Dennehy. During the post-9/11 panic of the early 2000s, Dennehy wasn't content to stay put in a country growing ever more fearful of foreigners and outsiders. In his search to find greater meaning, he journeyed to Equador, where he found love, violence, and the true meaning of resistance. This action-packed tale is perfect for anyone who's still searching for their place in the world.

In his search to find greater meaning, he journeyed to Equador, where he found love, violence, and the true meaning of resistance.

In the #3 spot is Jennifer Klinec's "The Temporary Bride." Tired of working her 9 to 5 office job, Klinec decides to leave everything behind to start a cooking school in her own home. But when her journey for spice leads her to Iran, she discovers the beauty and danger of taking a deep dive into Iranian culture.

Coming in at #4 is Krista Schyler's "Almost Anywhere: Road Trip Ruminations on Love, Nature, National Parks, and Nonsense." Twenty-eight years old and feeling lost, Schyler decided to throw out everything she knew about life and start again. Selling all her possessions and taking off in a camper van to get to the heart of the American West, she embarked on a journey that would change her life forever. This modern take on "Into The Wild" offers all the adventure with a far less tragic outcome.

For #5, we get "Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe" by Kapka Kassabova. Twenty-five years ago, Kassabova left her native Bulgaria and never looked back. That is, until now. In this deeply reported work, the author takes a trip to the border between Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece to take the political pulse of the ever-changing landscape.

That is, until now.

At #6 is Walter Rhein's "Reckless Traveler." Part guidebook, part memoir, "Traveler" recounts the exploits of Rhein as he makes his way across South America, fighting malaria, crooked law enforcement, and terrifying mercenaries at every turn. Anyone who's thought about exploring the richly beautiful continent should consider this a must-read.

In #7 we find Dervla Murphy's "Between River and Sea: Encounters in Israel and Palestine." What truly separates Israel from Palestine? Is it the people? The borders? The religious differences? By taking off for parts unknown, Murphy explores the plight of disenfranchised Palestinians trying to find their way home.

For #8, we have "Tell Them To Get Lost" by Brian Thacker. In the 1970s, Tony and Maureen Wheeler wrote the first ever "Lonely Planet" guidebook, ushering in a style of travel writing that would shake up the way we voyage forever. In this travelogue, Thacker uses the original "Lonely Planet" guide as a starting point as he winds his way across Southeast Asia and beyond. But will the legendary guide keep all its promises, or fall short in the modern era?

Coming in at #9 is "Adventures of a Railway Nomad" by Karen McCann. Seeking to recapture a more carefree time in their lives, McCann and her husband take off on a railway adventure across Europe with nothing but a carry-on bag. By letting go of traditional constraints, McCann was able to cross 6,000 miles of earth and see thirteen countries, one revelatory train ride at a time.

Finally, at #10, is Peter Moore's "Vroom With a View." Inspired by his love of Vespas, Moore decides to take off on one. With his girlfriend by his side, he explores the ins and outs of Italy, falling more deeply in love with the hidden sights and sounds of the country at every turn. If you love discovering hidden gems and wild romance, this is an unmissable read.