Truth: Solo travel is one of life's most exhilarating (eye-opening) ways to experience the world—and meet yourself along the way. Deep down, there’s an adventurer inside all of us just dying to jetset alone. Perhaps it’s the freedom from responsibility, the rush of vulnerability, or the simplicity of living out of a backpack that gets us hooked. But no matter how you slice it, there’s magic in traveling by yourself. Whether the desire to strike out solo thrills you, terrifies you, (or both), dig deep and you’ll find it.
The good news? You don't have to hike the PCT or sail around the world to reap the benefits of solo travel. In fact, you can start right from your armchair. Whet your appetite for adventure, inspire your next big trip, and indulge your wanderlust by living vicariously through some of the best storytellers around. Check out these three must-read bookson solo travel if you’re thinking about going it alone. (And chances are, you’ll soon be cashing in on that hard-earned PTO to book flights, pack your bags, and hit it ASAP. You’re welcome!)
1. Book for Newbie Solo Travelers
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
If traveling alone is still high on your bucket list, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love might inspire you to take the leap. After Gilbert's marriage falls apart, she checks out of her life for a year to eat her way through Italian pizzerias, meditate through grief at an Indian ashram, and reconnect with a long-lost medicine man from her past in Indonesia. As her journey evolves, she discovers a more soulful way to approach life and embrace her authentic self. Her feel-good prose and transformational journey will inspire you to pull the trigger. Guaranteed.
2. Book for a Hardcore Solo Adventurer
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest by Cheryl Strayed
Sometimes it’s about the destination, yes. (Who doesn’t love to plunk down on a beautiful beach for the heck of it, right?) But for some, solo travel is more so an avenue to face inner demons and discover the self. For heroin addict Cheryl Strayed, it was the latter. After her mother’s sudden death, the disintegration of her marriage, and getting clean from drugs, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone, at just 26 years old. She had zero outdoor experience and knew little about thru-hiking. But, against all odds, she did it anyway. Her story, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest, shares the terrors, and wins, of hiking up the West Coast that ultimately led to her healing and self discovery. This book is written for travelers who like a serious adventure—hang on for the ride.
3. Book for the Solo Travel Pros
A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson
If you’ve already bagged thru-hikes or solo trips yourself, U.K. author Bill Bryson’s account of hiking the Appalachian Trail in A Walk in the Woods should top your list. Why? Because it’s hilarious. (And you’ll totally relate.) Stephen Katz, Bryson’s charismatic, grizzled, alcoholic buddy, joins him for parts of the journey … hucking cheese (yes, cheese!) from mountaintops to lighten his load. Bryson animates the wilderness, and perhaps one of the toughest undertakings in thru-hiking, with humor and charm. He draws you into his adventure with intriguing historical and ecological anecdotes that brings the trail alive in a way only a Brit can. (After the first few chapters, you’ll be dying to do it yourself.)
Looking for more inspiration? Try one of these inspiring travel stories from around the world .
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