5 Books to Inspire Your 2018 Travel Adventures

20 Dec 5 Books to Inspire Your 2018 Travel Adventures

©Shaherald Chia, Flickr

I always look forward to this time of year when various outlets publish their “Top Places to Visit in 2018”-type lists. I can’t wait to dive in, both for virtual excitement and for future planning purposes. What I love most is discovering a new place or experience I hadn’t considered before, but which will now be added to my own ever-growing list of “gotta get there” destinations.

If you’re likewise inspired—and if you’d prefer a more tangible guide as you ponder next year’s travel adventures, something you can page through as you sip your eggnog by the fireplace and keep on your bookshelf for future reference—check out these recent titles. They may just prompt you to drop everything and head out for the holidays! One of these books may also be just the right last-minute gift for the adventure traveler in your life.



Epic Drives of the World: Explore the Planet’s Most Thrilling Road Trips  

Lonely Planet, 2017

A follow-up to Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of the World, this volume showcases 50 of the greatest road trips on Earth. Plenty of classic drives are featured, like America’s Pacific Coast Highway 1, Canada’s Icefields Parkway, Australia’s Great Ocean Road and Iceland’s Golden Circle. But it’s the more obscure routes that sound especially tantalizing: Anyone fancy a traverse of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana? An Outback jaunt from Alice Springs to Darwin? How about the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Vietnam or the road snaking up Jebel Hafeet, the second-highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates? Whether it’s at home or away—in some cases, way away—this collection will refresh your memory of why overland travel is the ultimate adventure.



The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small

By Kath Stathers

Quintet Publishing Ltd., 2017

When Patricia Shultz wrote the bestselling 1,000 Places to See Before You Die in 2003, she inspired a slew of titles in a similar vein, from must-see waterfalls to don’t-miss microbreweries. One of the latest titles in the bucket list vein is this wide-ranging compendium. It takes a broad view on adventure, comprising an eclectic mix of natural, cultural, artistic, culinary and self-development experiences in a set of geographically distinct listings. From an icebreaker/helicopter combo journey over the North Pole, to imbibing absinthe at a Paris bar steeped in the rarefied intellectual atmosphere of a bygone age, to celebrating the solstice with Druids at Stonehenge, you’ll find endless ideas for upping the adventure ante in your future wanderings.



The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA

By Doug Mack

W.W. Norton, 2017

This armchair odyssey covers Doug Mack’s 30,000-mile quest to explore “the most overlooked parts of America”: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, American territories that are home to 4 million residents who fly the Stars and Stripes. On his journey, Mack examines the Founding Fathers’ arguments over expansion, explores Polynesia’s outsize influence on American culture, tours Guam with a military veterans’ motorcycle club, learns about star-guided seafaring in the Northern Mariana Islands from one of the ancient tradition’s last practitioners, and all over Puerto Rico, he listens in on the debate over the island’s political status. Raising questions about the nature of empire and cultural identity, Mack’s entertaining travelogue will prompt Americans to expand the definition of “domestic travel” and put these “not-quite states” on their “must visit” list.



Lonely Planet’s Atlas of Adventure

Lonely Planet, 2017

An “encyclopedia for thrillseekers and adrenaline junkies,” Lonely Planet’s ultimate adventure guidebook encourages travelers to not just walk on the wild side…but to hike, climb, surf, cycle, parachute and more. It’s a collection of exhilarating and unusual outdoor experiences in more than 150 countries, spanning the gamut from kayaking the Albanian Riviera, to mountain biking Israel’s Sugar Trail from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, to “kloofing” in South Africa — that would be following a mountain stream down its course by floating, jumping, abseiling and swimming, a pursuit that started in the Western Cape, which remains the world’s kloofing hotspot. For the adventure traveler looking to take it up a notch, this guide won’t disappoint.




Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders

By Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras

Atlas Obscura, Inc., 2016

If you’re the sort of traveler who thinks “off the beaten path” is an overused cliché, if you shun the conventional and find life’s greatest adventures in the truly unusual and arcane, then this is the travel guidebook for you. “Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust,” says the publisher, “Atlas Obscura celebrates over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world,” reveling in “the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious.” The entries here are not part of any ordinary travel bucket list: Pass through an iron gate decorated with skull and crossbones to walk in a poison plant garden in England, have a beer at a pub inside a gigantic baobab tree in South Africa, get lost in M.C. Escher-like stairwells in India, walk through an underground nuclear bunker and a giant meteor crater field, and tour the undertaker’s museum in Vienna with coffins, urns and funerary fashion on display. And that’s just for starters!



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Wendy Redal
Wendy Redal is a passionate writer and traveler with a focus on nature, wildlife, food and the environment. Her adventures have taken her to 60 countries and all 50 states, including face to face with gorillas in the Congo, snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos, wine tasting in the Republic of Georgia, and trekking on horseback across Mongolia. A former tour director in Alaska, Canada, the western U.S. and New England, Wendy today enjoys crafting and guiding private group trips around the world, in addition to her marketing communications job in the adventure travel industry. She holds a PhD in media studies, an MA in journalism and a BA in history and previously worked with the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. Wendy’s travel writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, Budget Travel, Alaska magazine, World Wildlife, Gaiam Life and Good Nature Travel.
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