My wonderfully cruel co-worker has started adding me to the hold lists for interesting travel books as they arrive at the library. It's no particular secret that I'm infected with the travel bug, and with a Summer Reading theme like Novel Destinations, it's easy to justify hours spent reading about others' adventures in far off lands.
I don't know if I'll ever be in a position to put a change of clothes in a backpack and head off into the unknown for months or even years. That hasn't stopped me from dreaming or creating fantasy itineraries. You might not think it would be fun to plan out budgets or to decide on the perfect backpackers wardrobe, but The Rough Guide to First-Time Around the World is the perfect fit for my fantasy life as a vagabond. It's not the most detailed or extensive guide, but it's a great starting place, especially for anyone new to backpacking.
And just in case anyone is in need of further inspiration or escape, I'll highlight a few of the travel memoirs available at Carnegie-Stout.
Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures: funny women write from the road
At less than 200 pages, and with more than 25 contributors (from Sarah Vowell to Ellen Degeneres), this is a great choice for a quick escape. Read about self-acceptance on the beaches of Mexico, wardrobe malfunctions in Muslim countries, or the many other opportunities to confuse and be confused by the intricacies of other languages.
Tales of a Female Nomad
When children's author Rita Golden Gelman is confronted by a divorce and an empty nest, she impulsively sets out for Mexico, starting her decades long journey from home to home around the world.
The Lost Girls: Three friends, four continents, one unconventional detour around the world
Three 20-something career-driven friends decide to leave their New York City lives to spend a year traveling the world. While, at points, I found myself deeply annoyed by the highly privileged authors, in the end, I must admit, I was mostly jealous.
Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik: one woman's solo misadventures across Africa
In 2001, Marie Javins blogged her journey around the world, and this book collects some of her adventures on the African continent. For the 10th anniversary of her trip, Ms. Javins has hit the road once more and you can once again follow along on her blog.
A Year in the World
You might know Frances Mayes from her memoirs about life in Tuscany. This books collects some of her travels to other locations around the Mediterranean.