If you’re thinking about embarking on your own travel adventure but need a bit of motivation, check out these travel books by solo female authors to inspire your next journey. Whilst it can seem a little overwhelming and scary to travel by yourself, the challenges you face and bumps in the road are all part of the journey that will make your story all the more interesting.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Probably one of the most famous travel memoirs of recent years and a successful movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Wild tells the story of author Cheryl Strayed as she sets off by herself on a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail up the West Coast of the USA. Strayed uses her walk as a way of dealing with her mother’s death, but as a novice hiker encounters many challenges along the way in addition to coping with her grief. As she completed her hike during the 1990s, it’s hard to imagine how daunting it must have felt to set out on a hike that would last months, totally alone, before the days of mobile phones and the internet, with just a map and a compass for guidance. From losing her toenails to running out of money, Strayed’s journey is courageous and moving.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Another big title on the list but a must-read for any female solo travelers, Eat Pray Love follows author Elizabeth Gilbert as she spends a year traveling following a painful divorce. Gilbert’s journey takes us to Italy, India, and Bali, and ultimately transforming her life. Gilbert’s descriptive language transports readers to the streets of Rome for the ‘eat’ part of her journey as she fills up on pasta and can no longer fit into her jeans, before spending three months at an ashram in India finding her spirituality, and finally finding love in Bali. Of course, not everyone can afford to take a year off work to go traveling but her story is enough to prompt us to create our own mini ‘Eat Pray Love’ journeys.
Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
There’s something very romantic about the idea of moving to France, spending the days in cute Parisian cafes and discovering the city beyond the familiar tourist attractions. In her New York Times bestselling book, American journalist Elizabeth Bard describes her experience moving to Paris to live with her boyfriend, which begins her love affair with French food, and the book also includes her favorite French recipes. A kind of a love letter to Paris and its cuisine, Bard’s book entertains us with stories of her struggling to adapt to the French lifestyle whilst also introducing us to the best dishes the city has to offer. A word of caution, you’ll probably feel quite hungry after reading this book!
Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen
Married to a Bedouin is a captivating story of how a woman from New Zealand ended up living in a cave in Petra for seven years after meeting her Bedouin husband on a trip to Jordan with her friend. Primarily written as a love story, the book also provides a fascinating insight into the Bedouin culture and travel in the Middle East. Bedouin camps are still common in Jordan and since the book was published it has become much easier to stay with these semi-nomadic people in the desert in one of their tented camps. Read the book, then be sure to plan a trip to Jordan and spend a night under the stars in the Arabian desert.
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
The Year of Living Danishly tells the story of London-based journalist Helen Russell who moves to rural Denmark after her husband accepts a job working at the Lego headquarters in Jutland, a place hardly visited by tourists. The book explores the Danish way of life and attempts to answer the question of why Danish people are considered to be among the happiest in the world. Russell teaches us about the Danish concept of hygge, taking pleasure in the simple things in life, whether it be a freshly baked pastry or a hot cup of coffee. By the end of this book, you’ll probably want to move to Denmark too!
Which books have inspired you to take a solo adventure? Next time you are on a solo journey, try downloading the OodyMate app and discover authentic restaurants from local recommendations.