What I'm Reading

Photo by gadl, Creative Commons
One of my favorite things about the travel community is that everyone is so eager to share their experiences. There are some amazing writers and photographers traveling the world and, lucky for the rest of us, they're happy to share their adventures. Here's what I'm reading around the web (and a few from the bookshelf):

Travel Blogs

Art of Non-Conformity - Chris Guillebeau's site is less a travel blog and more the story of how he's managed to lead a life completely outside the box, with a lot of travel tossed in. If you have unfulfilled dreams, a few minutes at AONC should be all the inspiration you need to start making them reality. (@chrisguillebeau)

GloboTreks - Norbert's site is all about travel tips, planning, photos and inspiration - and he does a great job with all of them! (@GloboTreks)

Johnny Vagabond - Wes Nations is traveling around the world on his own terms - which include a tight budget and as few airplanes as possible. His daily budgets for various places around the world are an interesting and helpful look at the places they come from, and his stories are hilarious. (@JohnnyVagabond)

Legal Nomads - Jodi Ettenberg quit her job as a corporate lawyer to travel the world and has been doing so enthusiastically since April 2008. She's a great writer with a wonderful sense of fun and curiosity, which makes her blog one of my favorite reads. (@legalnomads)

Nomadic Chick - Jeannie Marks left her unfulfilling desk job in June 2010 for the life of travel she wanted. She has a gift for describing scenes and conveying the humorous side of travel - and her site is gorgeous. (@nomadicchick)

Single Occupancy - Marsha never intended to be a solo traveler, but after her first accidental solo trip, she decided single occupancy was the way to go and hasn't looked back since! (@SingleOccuBlog)

SoloFriendly - Gray Cargill's blog is a mecca for the solo traveler. With wonderful tips, reviews and solo travel musings, you'll find yourself wanting to head off on your own in no time. (@SoloFriendly)

Trains on the Brain - Jools Stone loves travel, particularly travel by rail. In addition to being a writer of jocular, sometimes sarcastic, wit, he's a social media guru of the first degree and his tweets (@jools_octavius) are guaranteed to make you laugh approximately once an hour.

Where is Jenny - Jenny Leonard lives a life well beyond the ordinary. Her work as a freelance graphic designer allows her to explore the world and all the adventures it has to offer, often on her skateboard, and she shares them all - from selling the majority of her possessions to how to find great hostels on the road. (@whereisjenny)

Where is Yvette - Yvette Cendes is a grad student with a passion for travel, whether or not she's currently on the move. Since she's been to a lot of places I want to go, her blog is a great planning tool for me - and I enjoy her fun, relaxed narrative. (@whereisyvette)

yTravel Blog - For Caz and Craig Makepeace, "it's all about the memories." Both Australia natives, they've been traveling, living and working around the world since 2002. Caz has a knack for writing travel stories and memories that arrow straight into your heart and make you really reflect on your own experiences. (@yTravelBlog)

Travel Books

The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes - The story of the founding of Australia and all that led up to it, this 688-page historic work is taking me months to plod through, but is well worth the read if you have an interest in the subject matter. It was my Metro book when I still lived in DC, but now I just pick it up periodically to read a few pages.

Half the Sky, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn - I stumbled across this book in Wide World Books, a wonderful bookstore and travel shop in Seattle's Wallingford district, and had to buy it. It tells the stories of oppressed women around the world and reminds me why NGO and non-profit work is one of the driving reasons behind my studies and what I ultimately hope to do. You can't read this book and not be affected by the unbelievable strength of some of the most overlooked women in the world.

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, by Laila Lalami - This was a random find in the "Signed Editions" section at Powell's Books' fabulous site. Immigration between North Africa and France and the intricate tensions it creates was a topic I spent a lot of time on in college and this story about immigration between Morocco and Spain turns the European concerns about immigration upside down. The stories of four Moroccan Muslims who attempt an illegal entrance into Spain by boat, their reasons for making the terrifying journey and what becomes of their lives afterward make for a compelling read that will make you look at your own life a bit differently.

Travelers' Tales Thailand, edited by James O'Reilly and Larry Habegger - I don't remember why I decided I needed a book about Thailand, but the accounts in this book convinced me I needed to put it on my travel wishlist, which kick-started my interest in Southeast Asia.

A Woman Alone, multiple authors - Purchased after my first solo trip to convince myself I wasn't really crazy for wanting to do it again, I've never read this book cover to cover but just flip through until I find a chapter that suits my mood.