6 Books for the Adventurous Soul

Life is an interesting beast. The only constant is change. This summer started out so promising for lots of adventures. While I’ve had some adventures this summer, the past few weeks have thrown my carefully laid plans for a loop. Without going into too much boring detail, I’ve been working on my photography skills, and spending some time practicing different types of locations and shoots. Shortly after this, I ended up having extreme pain that kept me in bed for several days. Bummer.

For me, I can achieve an escape from the norm with a good book— Particularly in the travel or adventure category. I like reading for fun, taking me to places and worlds that I can’t physically be in at that moment. Here are some of my favorite books for my adventurous soul— whether it be hiking, camping, road trips, or just silly light-hearted romps through life.

—————————————? —————————————

Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks by Mark Woods



This book is perfect for the national park lover (like myself). I first read about it online, and put it on a list for books to read in the future. When I saw it again on the Switchback Kids blog, I decided to jump in for this quick read. The writer spends a year in the national parks. When I originally glanced at this, I imagined him trying to go to all of them in a year. This was not the case. He chose 12 parks intentionally, for different experiential purposes. He wanted to slowly spend time in each of the parks he chose. He spoke with local rangers and passionate adventurers to get a wide picture that others may not experience or notice in a typical visit. He also discusses how so many of our actions influence the future of each park and space. The quote below stayed with me, even after finishing the book.

“It reminded me of a Native American proverb that appeared in Friends of Saguaro material. Mom had cut it out: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – Mark Woods

—————————————? —————————————

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed



I read this book in late fall/early winter of 2014. I had been living in Utah for just about a year, learning to adventure far and near to my new home. This novel was fitting for me given my personal journey at the time. In addition to that, the imagery and thoughts that the author discusses are so real to the reader. She pulls in memories from her childhood, memories from her marriage, and weaves them along her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. Her thru-hike on the PCT is very vivid, and I really felt transported to the trail when she was describing each leg of her trip. For me, the book was relatable as a person who left everything semi-spontaneously to move cross country on a journey to the unknown. But her words are powerful to anyone who is in the process of finding themselves. After reading this novel, you might just been (over)packing your backpack for your own adventure!

“It only had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.” – Cheryl Strayed

—————————————? —————————————

Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg



This is a novel about a thru-hiker on the John Muir Trail trying to find some solitude and herself on the trail. This novel was reminiscent of Wild because while a majority of the book took place in present day, she threw us back in her memories to fill in some information about her past. This author also does a phenomenal job describing the trail so you can feel like you’re actively hiking with the protagonist. Another reason I really liked this book was there was a mystery/thriller element to it. I won’t ruin the surprise, but there is a side-story that gets your heart thumping in your chest, making you want to yell and scream with the narrator. 🙂 You’ll just have to read it to find out what I mean.

“Hiking’s not for everyone. Notice the wilderness is mostly empty.”  Sonja Yoerg

—————————————? —————————————

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer



This is a classic. Based on the true story from the 90s, Christopher Johnson McCandless (also knowns as Alexander Supertramp) really takes the vagabond lifestyle to the extreme by selling all of his belongings and hitchhiking across the country without a form of communication or a steady income. He meets some interesting people through his journey, takes short-term jobs to fuel his wanderlust, and eventually ended up in the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley.  Four months after his death, hunters found his decomposed body in an abandoned school bus. This tale is one of the classic adventurous books that you should read at least once in your life. This book has a little bit of everything— from shocking to happy moments to heartfelt moments to sadness. It’s a quick read— Definitely put it on your list!

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”  Jon Krakauer

—————————————? —————————————

Paper Towns by John Green



Set in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida, this one hit home for me- literally. While I’m from St. Pete, about 1.5 hours from Orlando, the narrator and their friends’ childhoods and high school experiences reminded me of my own school years. When the girl that the main character loves from afar goes missing, he takes it upon himself to follow the “clues” she’s left of him to find her. It leads him (and his friends) on a long, wild road trip. I loved this book because it was well-written, as most John Green books are, and in many ways it echoes my own high school adventures that I took with my best friends. In high school, I was always a roadtripper, even if it was shorter distances. Another note from this novel is that it takes a look from a teenager perspective that there’s more to life than just the immediate surroundings— You just have to take the chance to find what else is out there. It’s a powerful message for teenagers and adults alike.

“If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”  John Green

—————————————? —————————————

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson



I would say that Bill Bryson is one of the most popular “adventure/travel” writers that I’ve heard of. One of his classics is this novel of him and a friend exploring the Appalachian Trail. This novel reminded me of a mix of Wild and Lassoing the Sun. It was similar to Wild because he reflects on his life and journey with the surroundings of a thru-hike on an iconic trail. He does a great job describing the woods he’s walking in so the reader can experience with him as well. It’s also like Lassoing the Sun in a way because he provides so much background information that you didn’t know was missing from your perspective of the wilderness and its preservation. I would say that this book provides even more background information because in many sections he takes it to a non-fiction tone to help learn more about the trail as he did prior to leaving for his journey. He’s also a relatable character because his successes and failures of packing, preparing, and physically preparing are comical and very real to the reader.

“But I got a great deal else from the experience. I learned to pitch a tent and sleep beneath the stars. For a brief, proud period I was slender and fit. I gained a profound respect for the wilderness and nature and the benign dark power of woods. I understand now, in a way I never did before, the colossal scale of the world. I found patience and fortitude that I didn’t know I had. I discovered an America that millions of people scarcely know exists. I made a friend. I came home.” Bill Bryson

—————————————? —————————————

What other books can I add to this list? What should be my next adventurous read?

Like this post? Pin it! 

Adventure Books



, ,