The best books on travel for former military and adventure enthusiasts

Who am I?

In today’s tech-obsessed world, social media may well be the perfect platform to showcase the world’s beauty to armchair travelers across the globe, but travel is so much more than just getting that perfect Instagram shot. Travel should be meaningful. It should excite and inspire you, rejuvenate and ground you, educate and challenge you, and most importantly, humble you. Travel gives us our most wondrous stories, our most cherished memories, and countless irreplaceable learnings that we can choose to pay forward to others. It teaches us about ourselves and each other, it broadens our horizons, and, just like a reset button, it forces us to refocus on what matters.

I wrote...

Mutiny of Rage: The 1917 Camp Logan Riots and Buffalo Soldiers in Houston

By Jaime Salazar,

Book cover of Mutiny of Rage: The 1917 Camp Logan Riots and Buffalo Soldiers in Houston

What is my book about?

Salado Creek, Texas, 1918: Thirteen black soldiers stood at attention in front of gallows erected specifically for their hanging. They had been convicted of participating in one of America’s most infamous black uprisings, the Camp Logan Mutiny, otherwise known as the 1917 Houston Riots. The revolt and ensuing riots were carried out by men of the 3rd Battalion of the all-black 24th U.S. Infantry Regiment—the famed Buffalo Soldiers—after members of the Houston Police Department violently menaced them and citizens of the local black community. This took place over one single bloody night.

In the wake of the uprising, scores lay dead, including bystanders, police, and soldiers. This incident remains one of Texas’ most complicated and misrepresented historical events. Mutiny of Rage sheds new light on a suppressed chapter in U.S. history.

The books I picked & why

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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?

My most formative moments in life came about when I was traveling. I have always had a passion for exploring new and fascinating places. My curiosity has not always worked to my benefit, as a stint in the Foreign Legion proved, but I still live my life with a wanderlust and a mild addiction to adventure. My passion for travel and adventure stemmed from my reading habits. The best travel books open the window to novel perspectives on life, people, and attitudes. Join me. 

To hear the voice of the real USA, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. Along the way, he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.

Vagabonds in France

By Michael A. Barry,

Book cover of Vagabonds in France

Why this book?

Vagabonds in France is a lighthearted book about an unexpected travel adventure to France. Please find out how life threw a lemon at this couple by losing their home and their attempt to make lemonade. Putting all their furniture in storage, they left everything behind to experience an adventure of a lifetime. With no mortgage or rent to pay, they left with no return date or home to come back to. They traveled from Florida (Tampa and Key West) to Portugal (Funchal, Madeira), to Spain (Malaga, Cartagena, and Barcelona), to the Cote d'Azur in the south of France (Antibes, Nice, Eze, St. Paul de Vence), to Provence (Arles, Avignon), then a month in Paris.

Living in Italy: the Real Deal

By Stef Smulders, Emese Mayhew (translator),

Book cover of Living in Italy: the Real Deal

Why this book?

Would you dare to follow your dream and move or retire to Italy? Stef & Nico did, although their dog Sara had her doubts. Now from your comfortable armchair, you can share in the hilarious & horrendous adventures they experienced when they moved to Italy to start a bed and breakfast. For lovers of amusing travelogue memoirs who like a good laugh. Moreover, for those interested in practical advice on buying a house in Italy there is valuable information along the way, pleasantly presented within the short stories. Glossary of Italian words and expressions included!

Amerzonia: A Savage Journey Through The Americas

By Mark Walters,

Book cover of Amerzonia: A Savage Journey Through The Americas

Why this book?

Tijuana, Batopilas, Tegucigalpa, Medellin, Iquitos: just some of the exotic, strange—and at times downright dangerous—destinations passed through on this riotous overland odyssey through Americas central and south. It’s a savage journey that takes Mark from Los Angeles to the Amazon—through Mexico and Guatemala and Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and Panama, Colombia and Ecuador and Peru. On his ride into the dark south of the Americas: a failed revolution, a spewing volcano, a drawer of cocaine; and a surreal succession of encounters with an assortment of characters normally avoided—Scientologists, shamans, narcos. He risks his freedom, his sanity, his life. By the end, he finally finds a point to it all: he goes far to find…

Cuba Open from the Inside: Travels in the Forbidden Land

By Chris Messner,

Book cover of Cuba Open from the Inside: Travels in the Forbidden Land

Why this book?

Cuba occupies a place of undisputed fascination in the American psyche. This island nation remains a mystery to most Americans despite its proximity to America. Few Americans have traveled to Havana, and still fewer have traveled deeper into this isolated country.

Chris Messner, a photographer, is one of the few Americans who have been able to travel extensively throughout this island. In his book, Cuba Open from the Inside, Messner documents the character of Cuba's people, its rich history, and the country's vast culture.

As Cuba's leaders age and the possibility of travel to Cuba increases, this book acts as an exceptional resource for would-be travelers. Through multiple journeys, Messner has covered more than 4,000 miles on the back roads of Cuba. Through his words and pictures he provides a snapshot of this island nation and documents the Cuba of today—the 1950s time capsule country located 90 miles from the US coast.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, Cuba, and Italy?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, Cuba, and Italy.

France Explore 587 books about France
Cuba Explore 38 books about Cuba
Italy Explore 226 books about Italy

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like On the Road, Blue Highways, and Democracy in America if you like this list.