Preparing for an Epic Road Trip? Read These Books.
Are you planning your next big adventure? Where did you find your inspiration? Many people have been inspired to take an epic road trip, go backpacking, or travel abroad because of the books they’ve read. Books provide readers an escape from reality, but they also serve as fictional guidebooks to the parts of America often forgotten.
As you plan your road trip, look to these books for inspiration. Stuff copies in your tote bag, load up your luggage, check the RV’s weight distribution hitch, fill up the gas tank, and allow yourself to get lost on your journey of discovery.
Into the Wild
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is a modern classic that tells the true story of the adventure and fate of 18-year-old Christopher Johnson McCandless. In 1992, he gave away all his possessions and headed into the wild to rediscover himself in nature. As he travels through Alaska, he makes many mistakes out of naivety that ultimately lead to his death. Krakauer imagines what the days leading up to his death were like and presents his ideas thoughtfully. Travelers can learn from Christopher’s idealist mistakes.
On the Road
The quintessential road trip novel is On the Road by Jack Kerouac – his memoir of the cross-country trips he took between 1948-1950. Take the journey with two friends as they drive across America searching for authentic truth and self-awareness. Readers will enjoy Kerouac’s portrait of American and the people who live there while simultaneously appreciating his use of beat structure and poetic sentences.
Those with a desire to hike the Pacific Crest Trail must read Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. After going through a series of bitter life defeats, the author takes off on an enormous backpacking trip with little to no experience. She is hoping to find peace and herself on her journey. This memoir reflects on her past and the events that led her to the trail as well as deftly detailing her adventures in the wild.
Killing Yourself to Live
Pop culture writer, Chuck Klosterman, details his journey of 6557 miles across America to the various sites where rock musicians have died in Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story. While traveling from one place of someone’s famous demise to another, readers also hear Klosterman’s personal reflections on the road, life and love. With passionate opinions, he also discusses what culture’s infatuation with their deaths means to our society.
Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon is considered a classic and has even been added to school reading lists. The author chronicles his adventures as he drives through America along the back roads marked in blue on the maps to the see the small towns often forgotten. Throughout this memoir, readers get to experience these quaint towns and meet a variety of people through Heat-Moon’s vivid descriptions and lyrical prose.
As these writers show us, travel is essential. We must travel to find ourselves, discover our purpose, and learn about others.