6 Books To Satisfy Wanderlust

6 Books To Satisfy Wanderlust

Sometimes the call for adventure can be satisfied from the comfort of home.
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The world is filled with beauty and excitement. Some of us crave the adventure of traveling to a new land, the taste of a foreign spice or the sound of a rolling accent. These six novels will help you quench your wanderlust from the comfort of home. As George R.R. Martin said, "I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.”


"Lonely Planet: An Innocent Abroad" by Don George (Editor)

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,’ he wrote. ‘Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

This is a wonderful collection of short stories that draw you into the good, the bad and the ugly of traveling. Over 20 authors and celebrities take you on a journey in their shoes as they find their way across Morocco, the United States, Czech Republic and more. This is full of short reads with strong impact that will help cure the woes of wanderlust.


"The Idle Traveller: The Art of Slow Travel" by Dan Kieran



“Perhaps the best of the idle form of tourism is a lonely walk. It enables a person can find the lowest cost and the actual freedom dedicate to the forgotten pastime: thinking. A large part of modern tourism is specifically designed to avoid thinking."

Dan Kieran takes a philosophical stance as he explains how the serenity of travel is not always found at the destination but the adventure to it. Early on you learn that his fear of flying brought on his love for slow travel. Although, he agrees flying is always the fastest option he argues busses, trains and cars will get you there all the same. Each page is a deeper understanding for why sometimes it better to day dream out of a window than it is to see the clouds.


"A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail" by Bill Bryson

“Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old.”

Bill Bryson, who is tired of the toll old age is taking on him, decides now is his last chance hike the 2,200 mile trail. At the start of the trip Bryson realizes that Stephen Katz, his long time buddy, and his bag of Snickers are in no shape for this feat. Bryson’s humor makes the trip an enjoyable read as he describes the history of the trail and the curiously strange people he encounters along the way.


"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values" by Robert M. Pirsig

“In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.”

Robert M. Pirsig dances between deep philosophy and story telling as he describes a road trip between an unnamed narrator and his 11-year-old son across the country. As each page is turned, the more often the narrator seems lose and find his mind, making a constantly engaging read. The philosophical subplot guides us throughout the novel using a character, Phaedrus, who is obsessed with the concept of quality (beauty). The narrator uses mechanics as a blueprint for the effect rational and analytical thinking can have on life’s beauty. This novel is a dense read that takes some time to understand but seamlessly blends philosophy and adventure.


"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

“If you concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man. You'll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens...Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we're living right now.”

Paulo Coelho describes Santiago, a Spanish Shepard, who leaves his homeland in search of hidden treasure within the Egyptian desert. A self-claimed king tells Santiago that a treasure awaits him. After brushing off the comment, he runs into a gypsy which speaks of the same "personal legend" prophecy. The rest of the novel describes a deeply humane adventure that ties in the role of the gods and their universal language as Santiago struggles to find his way.


"The Dharma Bums" by Jack Kerouac

“Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running -- that's the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach...”

Explore this novel as Ray Smith, understood to be Jack Kerouac, hitchhikes across the country, climbs mountains, and goes on three-day party benders in hope of finding zen among women, wine and the woods. This entertaining read is full of drunken dharma and Buddhist charm as Kerouac brilliantly describes what “self-enlightenment” was like through the eyes of Ray Smith.

Cover Image Credit: I am Nikon Blog

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.

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For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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