Armchair Traveler with a Good Book

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One of my favorite ways to prepare a trip is to read (or watch something) about the location.  Fiction or non-fiction.  Historical or current day.  It doesn’t matter.  But reading (or watching) about the city, people, or history can make a location come alive.  You see the place from another lens and it adds depth to your trip! 

Each of my destination blogs includes some book, TV and/or movie recommendations. However, I thought it would also be fun to provide a list of my top 10 overall travel and adventure books.  Of course I wasn’t able to narrow it down to only 10 books but I was able to reduce the list to the top 20.  Below is part I:
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova:  For those that have read it, this may seem like an odd choice to top my list of “travel books.”  However, it is one of my favorites.  In addition to the compelling story about traditions and myths surrounding Count Vlad (aka Dracula), Elizabeth provides wonderful descriptions of Amsterdam, Istanbul, Lake Bled, Budapest, Romania, Bulgaria, Istanbul and more…  It truly inspires wanderlust! 
Heads in Beds:  A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky  is a hilarious and informative light read about the hospitality industry.
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout.  This is a gripping story of Amanda’s travels through some of  most dangerous countries on earth ending with her experiences as a hostage in Somalia.
The Wander Year: One Couples Journey Around the World by Mike McIntyre is a light and humorous account of his journey around the world with his girlfriend.
Anything by Bill Bryson.
Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach. This is the first travelogue I ever read and one of the first non-fiction books I ever read for fun.  I have read it a couple of times since then.  I love the book because it focuses on many of the small special details of both travel and life.
Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne.  If you haven’t read it, it is worth putting on your list.  If you have read it, it is worth reading again.  This story brings out kid in me, the dreamer in me, and the adventurer in me.
Spoke Songs: Bicycle Adventures on 3 Continents Willie Weir is an inspiring tale of true adventurer and provides a glimpse in the countryside and villages of this diverse planet.
Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks A well written and moving book about Nicholas Sparks’ trip around the world with his brother.
Unlikely Destinations: The lonely planet story by Tony and Maureen Wheeler.  I am a Lonely Planet fan and this book is a behind the scenes look at the lives and travels of the companies’ creators. 

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