A flight attendant loves to travel.
Which is why I have travel books out the wazoo on my bookshelf.
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The already full shelves got even more loaded with travel and aviation reads when my other half and I moved in together. Were both aviation nerds, if you don’t know us, he’s a pilot at Delta Airlines and I’m a flight attendant at Southwest Airlines, so our apartment is loaded with travel and aviation goodies. You’re ready to raid our bookshelf and sit in our first class seats to read now, right?
Here’s a glimpse into some of my must-own travel reads that you can pour over again and again.
My all-time favorite travel read is…
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
You can read my full book review here. In a nutshell, it’s Newman’s memoir of her personal travels, mostly solo as a female. In real life, she’s a writer at many popular tv shows and her sense of humor dominates her writing in a brilliant way! What is better than travel AND humor. The cherry on top in her honest introspection inspired by her many travels. This book is the reason I have moved New Zealand and Argentina to the top of my travel bucket list.
Excerpt from Amazon: Kristin Newman spent much of her twenties and thirties buying dresses to wear to her friends’ weddings and baby showers. Not ready to settle down and in need of an escape from her fast-paced job as a sitcom writer, Kristin instead traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year. In addition to falling madly in love with the planet, Kristin fell for many attractive locals, men who could provide the emotional connection she wanted without costing her the freedom she desperately needed. Kristin introduces readers to the Israeli bartenders, Finnish poker players, sexy Bedouins, and Argentinean priests who helped her transform into “Kristin-Adjacent” on the road–a slower, softer, and, yes, sluttier version of herself at home. Equal parts laugh-out-loud storytelling, candid reflection, and wanderlust-inspiring travel tales, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding is a compelling debut that will have readers rushing to renew their passports.
For the History Buffs
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
What can I say, there is nothing that speaks to the spirit of travel more…This is basically the bible of being travel-minding and just going.
Excerpt from Amazon: On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” and “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance. Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than fifty years ago.
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
When I studied Paris at University, this was required reading. Orwell’s words were paint a vibrant picture of a different side of Paris than what is sold to tourists, but it’ll leave you with a knew perspective the next time you visit.
Excerpt from Amazon: This unusual fictional account, in good part autobiographical, narrates without self-pity and often with humor the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities. In the tales of both cities we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway
A must-read for lovers of Parisian history. Down and Out in Paris gives you a glimpse into the historical expat movement in Paris where the rich Americans (like Hemingway) would come to Paris and live the life of the poor (the bourgeoisie) starving artist. Ever wondered what the Monmarte was like at the height of art in Paris? This book is a must-read, whether you love Paris as a city, or are a fan of art, or a history buff.
Excerpt from Amazon: Widely celebrated and debated by critics and readers everywhere, the restored edition of A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized
For the Adventurous Heart
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Back when I was flying for Horizon Airlines, I was based in Medford (we called it Club Med) and I lived about twenty minutes from the airport, in Ashland. For those of you that hike, it’s a small mountain town right on the PCH. I came home one night from a trip and they had my street closed down because they were filming the movie “Wild”. Yup, Reese was there and everything. I even took home some props from the movie set lol. Too bad they didn’t need a flight attendant, I was in full uniform. 😉
Excerpt from Amazon: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Excerpt from Amazon: In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.
We’ll Always Have Paris by Jennifer Coburn
I loved this book because the main character was my opposite. The mom is terrified of traveling and hates to fly. She’s a bit neurotic. For me, that made her all the more endearing and it made me see another side of travel. Although I could relate to a couple thing, like wondering if that dicey bellhop was going to raid my luggage or almost getting arrested in Paris for stepping on the grass at a park…
Excerpt from Amazon: Jennifer Coburn has always been terrified of dying young. So she decides to save up and drop everything to travel with her daughter, Katie, on a whirlwind European adventure before it’s too late. Even though her husband can’t join them, even though she’s nervous about the journey, and even though she’s perfectly healthy, Jennifer is determined to jam her daughter’s mental photo album with memories—just in case. From the cafés of Paris to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Jennifer and Katie take on Europe one city at a time, united by their desire to see the world and spend precious time together. In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals how their adventures helped vanquish her fear of dying…for the sake of living.
For the Romantic
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I’ll never forget the first time I saw this book being read on the airplane. I stopped what I was doing and pointed at the cover and exclaimed, “Oh my God, it’s Cinque Terre!” At the time, Cinque Terre wasn’t a popular tourist destination so I was super intrigued about a novel that was set there.
Excerpt from Amazon: The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet: the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.
Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
I always wanted to live in Paris, and this book made me feel like I got to. I’ve been to Paris many times, but the author transported me to areas I hadn’t known about. I couldn’t put this book down. I think people that enjoyed Under The Tuscan Sun will enjoy this book.
Excerpt from Amazon: In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman–and never went home again. Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak’s pink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? LUNCH IN PARIS is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs–one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world’s most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.
Nothing beats laying on an exotic beach with a book in hand to keep the sun out of your face.
When I’m home, I love a book that’ll transport me to another world.
Did I miss any good reads?
What book gets you in the mood to travel?
The Luv Aviatrix
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