Three Girl-Powered Travel Books for your Backpack or Bookshelf


Travel is full of epic adventures, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and extreme challenges. But there is also a good share of downtime while you travel from here to there and everywhere.

I always pack a couple books in my pack for those times that you are waiting at the airport or riding a long-distance bus route.  These three books are some of my favorite travel reads, written by three strong female travelers that have found themselves in far-flung places all over the world.

Whether you’re on the road or at home saving up for that next big trip, these books will help you connect with what it means to be a girl on the move.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert’s stories of her adventures in Indonesia, Italy, and India had women around the globe sharing well-tattered copies of this feel-good book when it was released a few years ago.

It’s one of those books that once you read it, you just have to pass it on.  You can’t help but see these three beautiful countries through the eyes of this author as she struggles through a dysfunctional relationship that almost ends in marriage, a search for a Balinese traditional healer, and a quest to find inner peace through a meditation retreat, among other challenges.

She doesn’t shy away from the highs and lows of travel as she cuts ties with past relationships and starts new ones on the road.  She leaves home for all the right – and the wrong – reasons, which rings true for many other young(ish) female travelers, including myself.

It’s now a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts.  Even if you watched the movie,  give this written version a chance.   You won’t regret it!

The Unsavvy Traveler edited by Rosemary Caperton, Anne Mathews and Lucie Ocenas

Anyone who has been on the road for more than a few days knows that things don’t always run as smoothly as we would hope.

This collection of short stories celebrates those moments when everything seems to fall apart. From losing your clothes during a Fat Tuesday celebration in Barcelona to getting lost in the jungle in Indonesia, this book will leave you laughing out loud as you recall your own cultural misadventures.

The best part is that each story is only a few pages long, the perfect length for a quick read during those delays that always seem to happen while traveling. This is a light-hearted, comedic journey through the most challenging – and often most rewarding – parts of being on the road.

Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

Some people find themselves on the road from time to time, but not many of us become permanent nomads. Ms. Gelman, however, has given her life to a type of travel that stays close to local people and eschews the typical tourist trail.

She lives among royalty in Indonesia, explores life in a kibbutz in Israel, and surrounds herself in the rhythms of Spanish in South America.

As a mother of two grown children, she has put her life as a children’s author aside and given her life over to the independence and freedom that comes with living life to its fullest.

Her writing style is authentic and inspiring, leaving the reader in awe of her adventures throughout far-flung places on the globe.

Just in case you need another dose of travel tales, Ms. Gelman also authored a follow up collection named Female Nomad and Friends, where she opens up the writing to others that she has met during her travels.  Both books will leave you inspired to create your own nomadic adventures.

What are some of your favorite travel reads?


About Author

Stephanie Wobensmith is on the road to making her wandering lifestyle a profession. She is pursuing a M.A. in International Education at SIT Graduate Institute in southern Vermont and is currently working at Semester at Sea headquarters in central Virginia. She has also co-managed a backpacker's hostel, coordinated service learning efforts at a community college, and served in AmeriCorps during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She has lived in Sydney and Dublin, criss-crossed the country on a Greyhound bus, explored Baja California in a Land Cruiser, and roamed the island of Bali and the Indian Subcontinent. A vegetarian of ten years, she adores vegetarian cheesesteaks and green Thai curry.

1 Comment

  1. I love this list Stephanie! I’m also a huge fan of Tori DeRoche’s book Swept: Love With a Chance of Drowning. Check it out if you haven’t already! Travel books just always get me inspired to get moving. I think the book that started that off for me was Kerouac’s “On the Road.” I wish we still lived in the days where train-hopping was easy and normal!

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