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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Solo Travel As An Extrovert Is Not Easy

Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.

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Life has a funny way of revealing itself and after my mom ditched me on our mother-daughter trip to Taiwan, I found myself on a plane headed to a country I had never visited where I didn't know a soul. (Disclaimer: I have relatives in Taiwan but had never met them prior to the trip.) I was excited for the adventure that awaited, fear not setting in of how difficult it would be not to just travel in a foreign country where I didn't speak or read any Mandarin beyond the very, very basics (Literally my vocabulary consisted of 10 simple words/phrases, one of which was the word for "apple" which isn't that helpful for getting around. I have since picked up a few more phrases.), but also be alone with just myself for company.

So much of who we are is influenced by the people around us. A large part of our identity comes the communities we choose to be part of and how we interact with others. But who are we when no one's looking? Who am I without the pressure of other people around me?

I am an extrovert. I get my energy from being around other people. It's not that I can't spend time by myself; I just prefer to be in the company of others even if we aren't always interacting the entire time. My best friend and I will even do independent activities together. (Once when we were hanging out, she was knitting and I was doing a puzzle. I swear we don't act like grandmas all the time.)

Although an extrovert, I'm still a pretty independent person who doesn't like to rely on others for help. But traveling alone in Taiwan, I don't have much of a choice. I'm forced to learn to navigate public transport myself and somehow survive with the basic English that Taiwanese locals know.

Learning to travel alone has been an emotional and difficult journey as this is the first time I've been on my own for this long. Although lonely at times, I've realized that loneliness is a mental state of mind. There is the Sanskrit saying, "Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha moksayoh" which translates to "As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind." My mind determines my emotional state of being and perspective! Traveling alone, I can choose to view it as a difficult separation from other people or a journey of learning more about myself.

Through solo travel, I am slowly learning to be comfortable with my own company which has been the biggest challenge. I was never an only child, I've always had a roommate in college, and even when I study, I go to public spaces like coffee shops so I can be surrounded by people. I don't know what to do when it's just me and my thoughts all the time. (Especially during meals. Should I appear busy on my phone like all the other single people around me?)


Because when you're traveling alone, you're in charge. You have control. You can change the itinerary from moment to moment without anyone's approval. No one's holding you accountable. Spontaneity? Let's go. You can build barriers but you can also tear them down. It's fun, it's exhilarating. But it's also scary. And unpredictable.


Would I go on another solo expedition in the future? Preferably not as traveling is way more enjoyable when you have someone to share the experience with. It's the people, not the place who make all the difference on a vacation. Yet I do believe solo travel is an experience that everyone should embark on at some point in their life (to grow and learn more about yourself).


This trip has taught me to find spontaneity in the fear and excitement and I've learned to embrace discomfort and unpredictability. To travel with not just my mind and logic but my heart. There are so many unique experiences, if you overthink too much, you'll lose your chance.

I've found that when I am alone, I become more vulnerable and open to meeting new people and having more offbeat experiences. I say yes with zero hesitation. Certainly, there are friends I made, hikes I climbed, streets I meandered, and epiphanies I had that wouldn't have transpired had I been with my mom or a group of people.


Traveling alone, I am now more confident in myself and am ready for the next wave that life throws me. Because I've learned that once you overcome the fear of being by yourself, getting lost (which you will), or accidentally eating meat as a vegan because you didn't understand the signage (I'm sorry!), the world in all its vast infinity can be pretty great. And there are some things that you can only learn on solo travel.

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