Teleport yourself to Mt. Everest, dive into the depths of the Indian Ocean, get lost in the mysterious jungle of Borneo. It's possible; just open a good book and you'll be there.
Going on an adventure is definitely much more exciting than reading about one. But while we're in between our own stories, cosying up with a good book and reflecting on some of the greatest adventures ever written is the next best thing.
Here's a list of 9 books every adventure-lover needs to read. Be warned - there's a very real chance you will get inspired to pack your bags, book a flight, and set off on your next adventure right after reading.
1. Into The Wild, Jon Krakauer (1996)
"I think maybe part of what got him into trouble was that he did too much thinking. Sometimes he tried too hard to make sense of the world, to figure out why people were bad to each other so often."
This quote made so much sense to us, and we loved how the book delves into the nature of personal relationships and the issue of being accepted into society.
Don't you sometimes wish you could forget about all the confinements of society, strip yourself free of all the responsibilities and problems, and just embark on an adventure? That's exactly what the main character of Jon Krakauer's biography sets out to do.
Into The Wild is based on a true story about a young man Christopher McCandless from a wealthy family, who decides to give everything up and start a new life in the wilderness. McCandless donates his savings to charity, abandons almost all his possessions, and moves to Alaska. But, his extreme path to self-exploration ends tragically.
Don't we all seek the same thing when we plan our trips, pack our bags and fly across the world in search of an adventure? In a way, we can relate to McCandless who sacrificed his life to find the unattainable.
Krakauer depicts McCandless as an idealist looking for a pure experience. But the book is also a lesson to all adventurers to prepare for their journeys instead of getting carried away.
Krakauer's hero embarked into the wilderness without the right equipment, but you don't have to do the same. A convenient and durable bag like Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 120L fits all you could possibly need so you can be prepared for pretty much any situation.
2. The Worst Journey In The World, Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)
"And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore."
Written almost a hundred years ago, this sentence is still relatable as ever. If you seek adventure, forget about the excuses and just go.
The Worst Journey In The World illustrates the hardships and horrors of an Antarctic expedition gone wrong as seen through the eyes of one of the surviving crew members - Apsley Cherry-Garrard.
As the expedition sets out to Antarctic to recover Emperor penguin eggs, extreme weather conditions quickly prove disastrous for the crew. The author vividly describes the drama that unravels as his companions perish in the cold. He barely survives and manages to return home.
So, next time your flight gets delayed, your luggage stolen, or you get lost wandering through a foreign city, just remember that it could be worse. Although this book might not inspire you to get on the road, it will give you some first-hand insight into what an adventure looked like almost a century ago.
3. Tracks, Robyn Davidson (1980)
"The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step, making the first decision."
It's that first step that matters the most. It doesn't matter if it's embarking on an adventure, quitting your job, or starting a new relationship. Sometimes we don't even dare because that first step seems impossible. But Robyn Davidson dared.
In the world of adventurous men, Robyn Davidson was a refreshing female voice. But, don't expect anything less than the pure, daring adventure from this woman who dedicated her life to traveling.
Davidson was only 27 when she trained two wild camels to accompany her on her quest across Australia to the Indian Ocean. She took four camels and her dog with her, and set off on a nine-month journey from Alice Springs to the West Coast.
"Camel Lady," as she became known, inspired us and so many other adventurers to find the courage and challenge ourselves more every day; to take that first step no matter how scary the journey ahead.
4. Into The Heart Of Borneo, Redmond O'Hanlon (1987)
"...[the birds] were the yellow of all yellows, the kind of yellow that every other yellow secretly wishes to be."
When death is lurking from every corner of the jungle, the only logical thing to do is joke about it. At least that's how Redmond O'Hanlon approached his expedition to Borneo and his unusual travelogue.
In 1983, O'Hanlon set out to explore the wondrous flora and fauna of the third largest island in the world, and to find a rare albino rhinoceros. As it happens, both O'Hanlon and his companion, poet James Fenton, were completely unsuited to the task. In any other case this would be a recipe for disaster, but in Into The Heart Of Borneo, it's the perfect setting for a comedy.
We loved O'Hanlon's gatherings not only because of the humour but because of his honest fascination by everything that he sees along the way. He shows us how to immerse ourselves in nature and really appreciate the world around us.
And, if the world tends to get you down sometimes, you can take O’Hanlon’s advice.
The best way to battle the blues and the grey skies is with a vibrant yellow, just like the one that our newest addition, Blunt Umbrella, boasts. There’s no weather that can stop it, not even the fickle, tempestuous conditions of the Borneo rainforest.
5. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1999)
"Getting to the top of any given mountain was considered much less important than how one got there: prestige was earned by tackling the most unforgiving routes with minimal equipment, in the boldest style imaginable."
"It's not about the destination, it's about the journey" gets a completely new meaning here. Together with the author, we start realizing that life is much more important than
"It's not about the destination, it's about the journey" gets a completely new meaning here. Together with the author, we start realizing that life is much more important than prestige, and that nature can be truly unforgiving.
Three years after Into The Wild, Jon Krakauer releases his new novel. This time, he didn't have to go far to find his story - he was one of the few people who witnessed the tragic 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and lived to tell the blood-chilling story.
The ascend to the Mt. Everest summit goes terribly wrong as the raging storm breaks, leaving eight people dead and several others stranded on the mountain. The author recollects the events that brought the climbers to the limits of endurance and forced them to fight for their lives.
Into Thin Air truly is a hypnotic story that gives an insight into the other side of an adventure. What happens when everything goes wrong? What happens when an adventure becomes a fight to survive?
6. The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Guevara (1995)
"I now know, by an almost fatalistic conformity with the facts, that my destiny is to travel..."
Every adventurer has had that enlightening moment. You are hundreds of kilometres from home, standing in the heart of the wilderness, enjoying the breathtaking view. That's when you realize - you were born to travel.
The Motorcycle Diariesis a coming-of-age story like no other. It is a memoir written by none other than the famous revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, then just a 23-year-old student of medicine who wanted to learn more about the world. What he discovers would change the course of history.
Guevara spends nine months exploring South America travelling on motorcycle, bus, horse, raft, steamship and hitchhiking. Coming from an upper-middle-class family, Guevara becomes overwhelmed by the social injustices he witnesses on his travels. Then and there, he decides to fight and die for the poor and his dream of a united Latin America.
Reading this fantastic memoir, we gained a unique perspective on the legendary revolutionary, but we also understood what happens when an adventure becomes larger than life.
7. Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl (1950)
"Some people believe in fate, others don’t. I do, and I don’t. It may seem at times as if invisible fingers move us about like puppets on strings. But for sure, we are not born to be dragged along. We can grab the strings ourselves and adjust our course at every crossroad, or take off at any little trail into the unknown."
This empowering quote stresses the importance of taking the destiny into your own hands and making your own decisions. Yes, you will make mistakes, but it's all a part of life.
For a moment, Heyerdahl thought it was a good idea to cross the Pacific Ocean on a raft. By the time he realized the idea was completely insane, he was already at sea. Heyerdahl wanted to prove that an expedition could be carried out with only the materials and equipment available in pre-Columbian times.
Want to do something similar? You don’t have to completely recreate Heyerdahl's extreme idea. Instead, bring this retro stylish TCSS Jumbled Wetsuit Jacket for a more contemporary adventure at sea and always stay safe in the water.
Kon-Tiki became one of the most unbelievable adventures that ever happened. Even though the expedition was a clear mistake, the story that came out of it was epic. And it serves as a reminder for all adventurers that sometimes the craziest ideas become the best memories.
8. Travels In West Africa, Mary Kingsley (1897)
"I remember one of my tutors saying, 'Always when on a long march assume the attitude you feel most inclined to, as it is less tiring.'"
If you think that adventure tips from the 19th century can't still be relevant today, think again. Better yet, they are coming from a woman adventurer from the Victorian England.
In that period, few women dared to stand out and break the rigorous rules of the society. Women going on exploration missions were an outrage. That didn't mean a thing to the brave Mary Kingsley who was only 30 when she set out to explore West Africa and study the African culture.
Now, imagine a proper British lady in a cumbersome Victorian dress climbing mountains, getting attacked by wild animals and shot at by hostile tribesmen. This influential book surprises with exceptionally modern and humorous female insights on adventure and exploration.
Travels In West Africa inspired numerous lady explorers to break out from the shackles of a narrow-minded society. And it definitely inspired us to take on some challenges that seemed impossible.
9. On The Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
"I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility."
No list of adventure books is complete without Jack Kerouac's iconic novel On The Road. This masterpiece defined the post-war Beat movement that embodied the rejection of the rules and materialism, and celebrated self-exploration. Kerouac's characters, based on the people in his life and himself, search for meaning and true experience as they embark on their adventures. The novel glorifies the American dream of freedom and hope, and paints the picture of Kerouac's love of his country.
This book is perfect for those who feel like they don't have roots, and could effortlessly leave any place in search of a new adventure.
On The Road has influenced generations of people and changed the lives of everyone who read it. This authentic recollection is still as relevant as ever, and it just might inspire you to leave everything behind and search for your own adventure.
If this book inspired you to take your life to the open road, you will still need at least a few material possessions. Pack them all in this compact North Face Vault 26L Backpack and don't worry about a thing.
As we turned the pages of these masterpieces, we laughed, cried, felt scared and in awe. Most of all, we became more and more inspired to embark on our next adventure.
Are we missing something? Let us know which adventure book left a lasting impression on you in the comments below.
Images taken from Amazon