The best books on losing and finding ourselves via wanderlust

The Books I Picked & Why

The Dharma Bums

By Jack Kerouac

Book cover of The Dharma Bums

Why this book?

Though Jack’s most well-known work is On The Road, for me The Dharma Bums best illustrates and illuminates Kerouac’s intimate relationship with the transformative nature of travel. Horizons beckon. How he reaches them is every bit as meaningful as what he finds when he gets there. The descriptions are vivid, the writing style organic and original, and the experiences unforgettable.

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Travels with Charley in Search of America

By John Steinbeck

Book cover of Travels with Charley in Search of America

Why this book?

Steinbeck’s embrace of the nomadic impulse that runs through our country, our history, and ourselves, finds its fullest, most personal expression here. Who hasn’t wanted to pack the camper, hit the two-lanes, and penetrate the thickening veneer of hyperbole that threatens to mask who we truly are? And what better companion on his quest than his dog, Charley!

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The Road

By Jack London

Book cover of The Road

Why this book?

London is famous, not only for the gripping quality of his prose, but for his larger-than-life globe-hopping adventures. For me, The Road reduces all of that to a personal, intimate level. Though written over a hundred years ago, these experiences of the young London making his way as best he can, without means or motive – other than survival – echoes perfectly the plight, and the challenges, and the choices so many face today.

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Travelogue From an Unruly Youth

By D.C. Jesse Burkhardt

Book cover of Travelogue From an Unruly Youth

Why this book?

All of us who survived our own version of an Unruly Youth will find much to admire, and much that resonates, in this riveting account of one young man’s quest for identity, and for answers to his fundamental questions about life. He journeys along a “pipeline to freedom" on a bed of steel, ties, and gravel, never sure where his path will carry him from day-to-day. Travelogue From an Unruly Youth carries us into a hidden and unconventional world, weaving a romantic tale of roadside mystery and the universe-altering power of love.

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Search and Rescue Alaska

By Tracy Salcedo

Book cover of Search and Rescue Alaska

Why this book?

Sometimes wanderlust makes us wander farther than we should. I devoured this book! Part history, part thriller, part downright unbelievable, there is adventure and heroism on every page. I'm not sure that truth is always stranger than fiction, but in Tracy’s able hands it is every bit as exciting. Strap on your snowshoes!

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