Travel Books to Read: Inspiring the Wanderlust

Nobody really needs convincing that it’s nice to go on a trip. That’s already a given. But you might need some pushing and inspiration so you can start saving up and planning that long overdue trip. Here are some books that will make you wish you’re flying to some exotic country, and will make you wonder why in the world haven’t you planned that holiday yet.

The Motorcycle Diaries 

This book follows the journey of Che Guevarra and pal Alberto Granada aboard a motorcycle. It speaks of how traveling changes a person, and how it can transform you from a nobody to somebody who cares about the world and who can do something about it.

The Alchemist

Still an inspirational book that will make you look deep into your soul, this masterpiece by renowned author Paulo Coelho tells the story of a man who journeys through the world to find his great personal treasure. Explore the fields of Spain, the deserts of Egypt and the beauty of Africa as the protagonist finds something beyond the physical.

Playing with Water – Passion and Solitude on a Philippine Island

A non-fiction book that talks of James Hamilton-Paterson’s stay in the Philippines, this book tackles the fun and rich culture of the Filipino people. It gives clear and attractive descriptions of the Philippine seas and environment, and also gives a glimpse to uniquely Filipino practices like politics in the village, superstitious beliefs, and yummy food.

On the Road

Jack Kerouac isn’t a famous author for nothing. On the Road, one of his popular works, brings us to his own footsteps as he journeyed through America, from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco. You’ll read nice poetic words, hear excellent jazz music, and take some amazing drugs – all while sitting down with the book. This piece should make you think of who your best traveling buddy is – one who’s more adventurous and crazier than you are.

Lonely Planet guide books

Just browsing through the pages of a Lonely Planet guide should already make you feel excited about going to a trip. What’s your dream destination? Paris? Pick a Lonely Planet Paris guide and just immerse yourself in all the information. Soon, you’re already booking your flights and writing on your piggy bank “Paris fund”.

The Beach

Although the story is scarier than it is exciting, it is thrilling enough to make you question yourself and what you’re doing (or not doing yet). This novel has inspired travelers to head to more exotic locations and buy airline tickets that take them to uncharted territories, in search of adventure and of the ultimate escape that the protagonists in the book experienced. If only you look like Leo diCaprio, then this novel will make the most sense.

Travel Magazines to Check out

Aside from Facebook and the rest of the interwebs, where else do you look when you want some travel inspiration and information? I suggest magazines.

I love magazines, and you would too. There’s nothing like flipping the pages of a thick magazine filled with photos, trivia and tips; it’s like going through a trip yourself. The Internet simply cannot give that feeling of anticipation.

Also, magazines are well researched, super edited and excellently laid out for you. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t pay for them would you? So you pay for something and you really get what you pay for. With the Internet, you don’t pay so you also do not expect much.

I’m not saying that you wouldn’t find helpful information in the Internet, because you can. But reading a magazine gives a unique feeling that excites the traveler in you and makes you want to book a flight even if you’re only halfway through it.

Here are some international and local publications to check out:

International Titles

The reason why I was addicted to travel.

  • National Geographic. I remember flipping through the pages of National Geographic when I was a kid. The photos were superb, the information very well presented. (My eight-year old self could understand the text easily.) Even if you get back issues, the effect would still be the same – you’d ask yourself why you still haven’t made new travel plans.

  • National Geographic Traveler. While National Geographic presents places and the culture in them, there isn’t much information you can use for travel planning. Enter National Geographic Travel, the magazine that is as rich as the NatGeo magazine in terms of photos, culture and facts, but is also robust with travel tips and helpful information. Great for backpackers, the magazine packs loads of tips and insights you can use for that DIY trip to the exotic country you’ve been eyeing.

  • Travel and Leisure. Hailed as the world’s best magazine for travel, Travel and Leisure give a glimpse of the high life traveling. Whether you plan on taking the expensive route on your next travel or you just like some inspiration for your someday dreams, Travel and Leisure is definitely worth picking up.

Local Titles

  • Travelife. Travel plus lifestyle equals Travelife magazine. Like the international publication Travel and Leisure, Travelife delves into luxurious escapes that you can take abroad and also in the Philippines. The magazine also features business personalities such as ambassador and CEOs, and their philosophies in traveling. Yes, they have philosophies in traveling. Get inspired, get your copy now.

  • Juan Philippines. If you want straight to the point articles about the must-see places in the Philippines, check out Juan Philippines. It features destinations in each episode, with an extensive guide on what to do, where to eat and what to see.

  • Asian Traveler. A Philippine-based travel magazine that features destinations around the world, Asian Traveler gives a more relatable perspective since the contributors is fellow Filipinos. For instance, you’d most likely agree with their food reviews, since the writers have the same taste as you do.

Of course almost all airlines have inflight magazines, such as Cathay Pacific’s Discovery and Cebu Pacific’s Smile. But you won’t be able to read them unless you board their plane right? And you won’t board that plane unless you get inspired to travel, right? So yeah, get a travel magazine and get inspired today!

The Ten Beach Vacation Essentials

After three days of continuous rain, I finally see the sun shining outside my window. Makes me want to pack my stuff and head to the beach. But of course I won’t do that, as mere mortals like me do not have the power to simply book a flight (it’s expensive to fly today) and cancel all the work I have to do for the next couple of days.

Lucky for me though, I can book a trip to the beach as early as now, and as affordable as I can imagine. The catch, however, is that I won’t have any baggage allowance. This means that I can only bring a duffle bag with all the stuff I would need. Allow me to present to you the ten things that I bring to any and all of my beach trips, things that are essential, easy to pack, and really cool.

A reliable camera to capture your beach moments

  1. A good camera: For me, it’s the lowest Canon EOS model, the 1100D. I bring an 18-55mm lens, as well as a 50mm for portraits. Sure it’s a bit bulky, but the beach deserves good lenses and excellent documentation.

I just love my bikinis.

  1. Two reliable pieces of swimwear. I make sure I bring two that are completely different in color and design, just so I won’t be bored at how I look.

Image from Victoria’s Secret

  1. Light cover-ups. I usually bring just one dress that doesn’t wrinkle, a pair of board shorts, and a loose tank top. I just mix and match based on my mood.

Protect your skin.

  1. Sunblock, insect repellant. My current favorite is the spray type of sunblock. The higher protection, the better. I also bring insect repellant for nights when I just want to lay on the beach under the stars and with mosquitoes flying around.

Who says you can’t be in two places at the same time?

  1. A book. All my beach trips are associated with a certain book. In this day and age that I seldom get the chance to just be still with a book, I make sure that I carry a paperback (so that it’s lightweight) to the beach.

Good vibes.

  1. A soundtrack. Just like a book, a playlist of great vacation songs is a must for me. Somehow, a certain set of songs give my beach trip its own identity, making it very different from the previous ones. My two Boracay trips, for instance, are far off from each other just because each has a different mood, thanks to the songs that I brought. If I’d recommend anything though, it’s got to be “All Night Long” by Jason Mraz. 😉

  1. A nice pair of sunglasses. Nice means it gives your eyes the protection it needs, it doesn’t give you a headache, and it makes you look cool and pretty.

Tip-top shape even on holidays.

  1. Necessary medicines. I’m prone to migraines, especially if I spend a long time under the sun (ergo, sunglasses), so I make sure I have at least five tablets of mefenamic acid.

Something to keep you warm.

  1. A small and light blanket. For laying under the sun, for walking under the sun, as a cover-up when I’m in my swimsuit, to keep warm in the plane (no domestic flight, whether Zest Air or PAL, offer blankets for passengers who need them), inside a van, on the beach during nighttime.

Lock it up.

  1. Plastic bags. When it’s time to leave and your swim pieces are still dripping wet, just dump them in a plastic bag and zip up your luggage.

Books to Inspire the Traveler in You

You’d think that the desire to travel comes easily to anybody, but this isn’t the case. Some people would rather spend their money on gadgets, and some travel but don’t quite experience the real meaning of traveling.

If only they knew that traveling sets their minds and hearts free, if they knew that the value of a single travel surpasses that of the latest tech gadget, then everybody would prioritize it.

Sadly, this isn’t the case. It has become my advocacy to convince friends to get out and not miss out on all that traveling can give them. Most of the time, I encourage them to read my favorite travel blogs. An even more effective tool to inspire the inner traveler in everybody is by reading books that are travel-themed. Just as how a book provides an escape from the everyday life, so does traveling. Here are the books that create an escape and encourage its readers to go on that literal escape through traveling.

  • Eat, Pray, Love. At the top of our list is the travel novel of today Eat, Pray, Love. It is a visual story that leads the reader through author Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey as she moves on from a failed marriage. It effectively captures the essence of a travel, letting go and being open to all possibilities, even to the possibility of finding new love.

 

This novel epitomizes the art of letting go and opening yourself to possibilities
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Call it geeky, call it unrealistic, but isn’t this what traveling is all about? This work of fiction (unfortunately, technological advancements in this book hasn’t been developed yet) is an interesting read that will unleash your inner geek. Aside from being great at inspiring you to travel, it also serves as a great read during a long wait at the Caticlan Airport. It’s best to bring a less bulky edition of the book over the hardbound gold-printed one.

Take me to the other world.

  • The Odyssey. Another geek book? Before you walk out on me, let me just say that no work of fiction can excite going to Greece or Italy more than Homer’s masterpiece (unless you’d rather read a Greek Mythology reference book). Moreover, the adventures of Odysseus are a good standard to set you off to your own adventure, whether it’s in Greece, in Italy, or in the streets of Metro Manila.

Epic poems, anyone?

  • Lord of the Rings. Since we’re along the lines of adventure (cyclops and whirlpools, anyone?), let’s not forget JRR Tolkien’s epic novel that has inspired travelers and non-travelers alike. The fellowship of the ring travels Middle Earth to fulfill their purpose; you should too, travel Middle Earth (that’s just the world, in plain non-Tolkien words) to find and fulfill your purpose in life.

Our beloved Frodo… and Gollum

  • No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach. I love the show, I loved the book! Anthony Bourdain is someone I can look up to in terms of wit, taste, sarcasm and experiences. How I wish I could take my own version of humor to dine in the best restaurants and to travel the ends of the earth. Can you imagine a sushi restaurant in Japan that serves 20 pieces of sushi for P16,000? Now, can you imagine eating there and eating the best sushi you’ll ever have in your whole life, and get paid for doing it? Anthony Bourdain is one lucky bastard.

    Wit, humor and of course, good food