Adventure travel is all about exploring new destinations, experiencing different cultures, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. But when you can’t actually be out there in the world, the next best thing is to read about other people’s adventures.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best adventure travel books to read in 2023. From memoirs to fiction, these books will inspire you to plan your next big adventure, or at least provide some great armchair traveling.
In 2023, as we all gear up to travel once again, there’s no better way to get inspired than to pick up a great adventure travel book. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, reading about other people’s adventures can transport you to new and exciting destinations, give you a glimpse into different cultures, and even inspire you to plan your next trip.
In this article, we’ve put together a list of the best adventure travel books to read in 2023. These books will take you from the mountains of the Himalayas to the jungles of South America, from the deserts of Africa to the beaches of Southeast Asia. So, grab a cup of tea, curl up on the couch, and get ready for some armchair traveling.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
This classic book tells the true story of a disastrous expedition to summit Mount Everest in 1996. Krakauer, a journalist, and experienced mountaineer was part of the expedition and survived to write this gripping account of the tragedy that claimed eight lives. It’s a sobering reminder of the risks and rewards of high-altitude mountaineering.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
After the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650-mile trek from Mexico to Canada. Wild is her memoir of the journey, which was as much a spiritual quest as a physical one. Strayed’s honest and raw account of her experiences will make you laugh, cry, and feel inspired.
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
In the early 20th century, British explorer Percy Fawcett set out on several expeditions to find a fabled city in the Amazon rainforest that he called the “Lost City of Z.” He and his team disappeared on their last mission in 1925, and their fate remains a mystery to this day. In this book, journalist David Grann retraces Fawcett’s steps and tries to solve the mystery of his disappearance.
Tracks by Robyn Davidson
In 1977, Robyn Davidson set out to cross the Australian outback on foot, accompanied only by her dog and four camels. Tracks are her memoir of the journey, which was both a physical and emotional challenge. Davidson’s writing is lyrical and evocative, and her story will make you appreciate the vastness and beauty of the Australian wilderness.
Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
In 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his team set out to prove that Polynesia could have been colonized by people from South America, rather than Asia, as was commonly believed. They built a raft using only materials and techniques that would have been available to ancient South Americans and sailed it across the Pacific Ocean. Kon-Tiki is Heyerdahl’s account of the journey, and it’s a thrilling and inspiring tale of human ingenuity and perseverance.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
In this book, journalist Mark Adams follows in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham III, the American explorer who “discovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Adams travels to Peru to hike the Inca Trail and explore the ruins of the ancient city, while also uncovering the fascinating history of the Inca Empire. Turn Right at Machu Picchu is a blend of travelogue, history, and adventure, and it’s a great read for anyone interested in South American culture and history.
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
In 1973, Peter Matthiessen set out on a trek through the Himalayas with the naturalist George Schaller. Their goal was to study the Himalayan blue sheep, but Matthiessen was also searching for something more elusive – the snow leopard. The Snow Leopard is his account of the journey, a meditation on nature, spirituality, and the human condition.
The Beach by Alex Garland
This novel is a cult classic, and for good reason. The Beach tells the story of Richard, a backpacker in Thailand who hears about a hidden beach paradise and sets out to find it with a group of fellow travelers. What they find is a utopian community that is not quite what it seems. The Beach is a thrilling adventure story, but it’s also a commentary on the dark side of backpacker culture and the desire for escape.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is known for his witty and irreverent travel writing, and A Walk in the Woods is one of his best-known books. In it, Bryson recounts his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200-mile trek through the eastern United States. Along the way, he meets a colorful cast of characters, experiences the beauty and challenges of the trail, and learns about the history and ecology of the region.
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
After losing the 1912 U.S. presidential election, Theodore Roosevelt embarked on a perilous journey to explore an uncharted river in the Amazon rainforest. The River of Doubt is Candice Millard’s account of the journey, which was plagued by disease, starvation, and dangerous rapids. It’s a thrilling adventure story, but it’s also a portrait of a complex and fascinating historical figure.
The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto “Che” Guevara
Before he became a revolutionary icon, Che Guevara was a medical student who set out on a motorcycle journey through South America with his friend Alberto Granado. The Motorcycle Diaries is Guevara’s account of the journey, which opened his eyes to the poverty and inequality in the region and set him on a path of political activism. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the early life of a controversial and influential figure.
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Patagonia is a classic of travel literature, and it’s easy to see why. Bruce Chatwin’s lyrical and impressionistic writing takes the reader on a journey through the wild and windswept landscape of Patagonia, at the southern tip of South America. Along the way, he meets a cast of characters, from gauchos to German immigrants, and uncovers the region’s rich history and folklore.
There you have it – our list of the best adventure travel books to read in 2023. Whether you’re looking for memoirs, travelogues, or fiction, these books will take you on a journey around the world, from the highest peaks to the deepest jungles. Reading about other people’s adventures can be a great way to get inspired for your own travels, or to simply experience the thrill of adventure from the comfort of your own home. So, pack your bags (or just your bookshelf) and get ready for some armchair traveling.
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