The most recommended nomad books

Who picked these books? Meet our 18 experts.

18 authors created a book list connected to nomads, and here are their favorite nomad books.
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Book cover of The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert

MaryAnn Shank Author Of The Mystical Land of Myrrh

From my list on strong Somali women.

Who am I?

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia in the late 1960’s I witnessed the upheaval in the society due to the massive changes in government demanded by the Western world. There were so many brave people emerging from this chaos, especially women. There was even a young Somali woman who saved my life. That such strength grows in such circumstances still amazes me. I am honored to bring a few of them to you, and to share a small part of my personal experience in Somalia.

MaryAnn's book list on strong Somali women

MaryAnn Shank Why did MaryAnn love this book?

Shugri is the last nomad in her family. There are no more.

She fled the wars, the famines, the torture that had become Somalia and, through a treacherous journey became a refugee in hostile places, landing finally in California. Along with her constant confusion with escalators and washing machines, she overcame her fears of torture, and her suspicions, to become a nurse, a wife and a mother, a valuable citizen of her community.

I have met Shugri, and she is now one of the kindest, gentlest people I know. She has a lot to teach all of us about strength of character, and loving.

By Shugri Said Salh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Nomad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A remarkable and inspiring true story that "stuns with raw beauty" about one woman's resilience, her courageous journey to America, and her family's lost way of life.

Finalist for the 2022 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nonfiction Award
Winner of the 2022 Gold Nautilus Award, Multicultural & Indigenous Category

Born in Somalia, a spare daughter in a large family, Shugri Said Salh was sent at age six to live with her nomadic grandmother in the desert. The last of her family to learn this once-common way of life, Salh found herself chasing warthogs, climbing termite hills, herding goats, and moving constantly…

Book cover of Travelogue From an Unruly Youth

Ed Davis Author Of The Last Professional

From my list on losing and finding ourselves via wanderlust.

Who am I?

I began my writing career over forty years ago, pausing in boxcars, under streetlamps, and in hobo jungles to record the beats and rhythms of the road as I caught freight trains and vagabonded around the Pacific Northwest and Canada. In the years since, whether hiking the Camion de Santiago, traversing the length of Hadrian’s Wall, or backpacking in the high Sierra, I’ve been privileged to indulge my wanderlust all around the world, and to share those adventures with others.

Ed's book list on losing and finding ourselves via wanderlust

Ed Davis Why did Ed love 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.

By D.C. Jesse Burkhardt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Travelogue From an Unruly Youth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Traveling the North American continent via freight train brought freedom, passion, romance, adventure, and danger -- a heady concoction for someone in his early 20s. The writer journeyed along a "pipeline to freedom" on a bed of steel, ties, and gravel, never sure where his path would carry him from day to day. Yet part of the cost to those nomadic highs was leaving behind a woman who cared dearly for him, and that severing continued to reach him even as he blasted magically across the map on a unique geographic and spiritual quest. After long months and thousands of…

Book cover of The Secrets Of Business For Young Entrepreneurs

Heather Smith Author Of Xero For Dummies

From my list on small business owners.

Who am I?

I’m Heather Smith and I love writing. I love Accounting and AccounTech. I gratefully sit at the Ikigai inflection point, where my profession, passion, vocation, and mission intersect, and I can use my explanation skills to empower others in the accounting industry. Ikigai is a Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living. Believing Accountants don't save lives, Accountants save livelihoods; I use my superpower of explanation to educate the accounting profession about accounting technology and modern accounting practices. I do this through many channels including my latest book Xero for Dummies, 5th edition. 

Heather's book list on small business owners

Heather Smith Why did Heather love this book?

Alex has a really deep understanding of running a modern business, and operating as a digital nomad living across the world. She has written an inspirational companion guide to give you the motivation and resources you need to start your own entrepreneurial journey. This stuff is not taught in universities, but truly unlocks the power to lead the life that you want to lead. 

By Alex Falcon Huerta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secrets Of Business For Young Entrepreneurs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once you start a business you'll wonder why the hell you didn't do it before! And so the journey starts, but what should every young entrepreneur know about having and being in business so it has the best chance of being a success? This rich, original and motivating resource shares the secrets that can make you more and better prepared for life as a business owner, boss and entrepreneur. Written to be your companion, guide, inspiration and resource - it's great to know that there are many others that have been on the journey before you, and have words of…

Book cover of Stand on the Sky

Mahtab Narsimhan Author Of Mission Mumbai: A Novel of Sacred Cows, Snakes, and Stolen Toilets

From my list on to travel the world without leaving home.

Who am I?

I’ve always been an avid reader. At school, during recess, I would find places to hide so the teachers wouldn’t find me and insist on sending me out to play. Exploring other countries also fascinated me but, growing up, we did not have the money to travel the world. Books became my means of travel. I especially love books written by authors who have lived or grown up in that setting. It’s why I find writing stories in an Indian setting easy and satisfying. The highest compliment from my readers is when they feel immersed in my stories and come away feeling like they’ve been to India and now want to eat an Indian meal. 

Mahtab's book list on to travel the world without leaving home

Mahtab Narsimhan Why did Mahtab love this book?

This story of a young girl, Aisulu, who bucks tradition to become an eagle hunter is simply heart-wrenching and a fabulous read. The research is thorough, and I was steeped in the Kazakh (a nomadic tribe in the mountains of Mongolia), even as the plot advanced with emotional twists and turns for the main characters. The voice of Aisulu is spot on. All the supporting characters but especially her brother Serik, and her aunt and uncle are richly drawn. 

Erin spent a summer with the Kazakh eagle hunters and had sensitivity readers review her work for authenticity. This book won the Governor General Award (the highest in Canada) in 2019 and totally deserves it! 

By Erin Bow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stand on the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

2019 Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award? An exquisitely written, uplifting middle grade debut by acclaimed author, Erin Bow, about a young girl who defies her family's expectations in order to save her brother and become an eagle hunter, perfect for fans of PAX. It goes against all tradition for Aisulu to train an eagle, for among the Kazakh nomads, only men can fly them. But everything changes when Aisulu discovers that her brother, Serik, has been concealing a bad limp that risks not just his future as the family's leader, but his life too. When her parents leave…

Book cover of Star Of Gypsies

Bruce Golden Author Of Red Sky, Blue Moon

From my list on sci-fi incorporating various earth cultures.

Who am I?

I've always been interested in Native American culture, while at the same time horrified at the way most European settlers treated them. (My best friend as a child was Native American.) Without consciously planning on it, many of my other books and short stories feature Native American customs and characters—though not as thoroughly as Red Sky, Blue Moon. I've also always been fascinated by Viking history, though I only recently discovered I'm a direct descendant of a fairly famous Viking—Rollo. I had no particular expertise with these cultures when I began this book, but I spent many hours of research to be sure I got everything right.

Bruce's book list on sci-fi incorporating various earth cultures

Bruce Golden Why did Bruce love this book?

I'd never known anything about Gypsy culture (except cinematic stereotypes) until I read Silverberg's Star of Gypsies. Even though this book takes place on other worlds, centuries into the future, the traditions and the society of Gypsies survives. These nomadic spacefarers have evolved into important pieces of a galactic empire – an empire upon which the protagonist will have a profound effect. I loved the inventive world building and the complex yet often humorous main character, Yakoub. The tale fully engaged me from the very beginning and is one of those books I give my highest compliment – a page-turner you don't want to put down.

By Robert Silverberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Star Of Gypsies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Yakoub was once the legendary King of the Rom, the Gypsy race that has evolved from the days of caravans into lords of the spaceways - the only pilots capable of steering ships safely between the many worlds of the Galaxy. Weary and proud, Yakoub has relinquished his power and lives in exile on a distant, icy world. In his absence, chaos fills the vacuum of power. The fate of the entire Galactic Empire hangs in the balance. Yakoub must journey across the cosmos and fight to regain his throne. Only then can he fulfil his dream - to return…

Book cover of The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred

Brandon Wilson Author Of Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace

From my list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning.

Who am I?

Brandon Wilson is an author, photographer, explorer, and pilgrim. He is a voracious explorer of nearly one hundred countries, he has trekked many pilgrimage trails, including: the Camino de Santiago, Camino Catalan, Camino Aragonés and Via de la Plata across Spain, and twice the St. Olav’s Way across Norway and Sweden. Brandon and his wife Cheryl were the first Western couple to complete the 1100-kilometer pilgrim trail from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu, and he was the first American to traverse the 1850-kilometer Via Francigena from England to Rome. In 2006, he and his French friend re-blazed the 4500-kilometer route of the First Crusades from France to Jerusalem, naming it the Templar Trail, to establish it as a path of peace.

Brandon's book list on doing a pilgrimage and our search for meaning

Brandon Wilson Why did Brandon love this book?

For many, travel reaches a point where it becomes something more than a moveable buffet and checks off a bucket-list. The Art of Pilgrimage helps you make this transition and realize you’re not alone. It traces the history of pilgrimage or mindful journeys with stories and anecdotes from past sojourners to a wide variety of locations for equally diverse reasons.

By Phil Cousineau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Pilgrimage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Spiritual Traveler's Travel Guide

"A must read before a trip." Escape

"One of the greatest travel books I have ever read." Peter Feibleman, author of Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman

#1 Bestseller in Atlases & Maps

The classic guide to making travel meaningful. The Art of Pilgrimage is a travel guide full of inspiration for the spiritual traveler.

Not just for pilgrims. We are descendants of nomads. And although we no longer partake in this nomadic life, the instinct to travel remains. Whether we're planning a trip or buying a secondhand copy of Siddhartha, we're always searching for a…

Book cover of Thinking on My Feet: The Small Joy of Putting One Foot in Front of Another

Leif Bersweden Author Of The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist's Search for Happiness

From my list on nature in Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and a botanist with a lifelong interest in nature. I grew up in southern England where I spent my time running around the fields and woods searching for birds, insects and wild plants (as one does). As well as writing about nature, I run plant identification training courses and have a genetics PhD.

Leif's book list on nature in Britain

Leif Bersweden Why did Leif love this book?

This is a book for people who like to come home to a steaming mug of tea after a long walk in the countryside – rain or shine. Kate Humble takes us with her on her walks through the year, both at home and abroad. Her descriptions of the Wye Valley make you want to put on your wellies and walk out the door, dogs in tow, ready to splash through puddles, hop styles, and walk beneath the trees and the clouds. It is a lovely reminder that it is so often the little things in life that can bring us the most happiness: muddy walks in the woods, chatting to friends over a pot of coffee, watching the sky change as the sun rises. I love this book so much: it’s a lesson in the benefits of learning to live in the moment and to not take the simple…

By Kate Humble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thinking on My Feet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I've discovered that going for a daily walk has become as essential to me feeling good for the rest of the day as that first cup of tea. But I would argue that all I am doing is responding to a natural need we all have. Humans have always been migrants, the physiological urge to be nomadic is deep-rooted in all of us and perhaps because of that our brains are stimulated by walking. I solve all sorts of problems, formulate ideas, work things out to that gentle rhythm of self-propelled movement.' - Kate Humble


Book cover of Long May You Run: A global nomad's search for home

Cathy Tsang-Feign Author Of Keep Your Life, Family and Career Intact While Living Abroad: What Every Expat Needs to Know

From my list on to equip yourself for living abroad.

Who am I?

As a psychologist, I've worked with countless emigrants and international expatriates. People relocate to various parts of the world for different reasons. However, each person’s life struggles, cultural background, experiences, and knowledge help make the world more colorful and richer in so many ways. I encourage people to open themselves to see the world and be receptive and tolerant to those who are different from them. It teaches us to be humbler and more respectful, and to enrich our life in general. My choices are about preparing your mind and your heart for life in another culture. Sometimes a well-crafted novel can offer insights that other media can’t express.

Cathy's book list on to equip yourself for living abroad

Cathy Tsang-Feign Why did Cathy love this book?

An important memoir on the topic of Third Culture Kids (TCK). This refers to people who grow up outside their own (or at least their parents') native countries and perhaps live in several countries throughout their childhood.

“Home”, as their parents call it, is a place thousands of kilometers away, which they may only visit for two weeks a year. Unlike immigrant children, they tend to not set down roots in the places they live. The author, who grew up in New Zealand, Australia, England, and Hong Kong, uses her experiences to excavate many issues accumulated while living from one country to another.

When parents decide to relocate internationally, children do not have a say, but their lives are impacted in a dramatic way that adults often fail to see or understand. I strongly recommend parents who plan to move abroad with children to get a deeper understanding on this…

By Adele Barlow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Long May You Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin

Joanna Lillis Author Of Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan

From my list on to summon up the spirit of Central Asia.

Who am I?

I am a reporter and author with a passion for seeking out stories less told, and there are plenty of those in Central Asia, where I made my home more than two decades ago: first in Uzbekistan and, since 2005, in Kazakhstan. I have found telling overlooked tales from an overlooked region that is overshadowed by its mighty neighbours – the Russian bear to the north and the Chinese dragon to the east – to be both rewarding and valuable. I hope these book selections will bring more stories about the people who populate Central Asia to the attention of readers with inquisitive minds.

Joanna's book list on to summon up the spirit of Central Asia

Joanna Lillis Why did Joanna love this book?

This beautifully-crafted memoir beginning in 1930s Soviet-ruled Kazakhstan inspired me to seek out a survivor of the famine that tore through the land and left over a million Kazakhs dead during that traumatic decade. I found a feisty nonagenarian who recounted how she walked from Kazakhstan to China at the age of six to find food. Shayakhmetov’s book charts the famine and the accompanying destruction of the nomadic lifestyle the Kazakhs had led for generations until the iron fist of Soviet rule came crashing down. He lyrically evokes his carefree childhood as the son of nomadic herders, which came to an abrupt end when the Soviets seized their herds, corralled them into collective farms, and shot his father. Harrowing, but uplifting too – a story of survival against the odds.

By Mukhamet Shayakhmetov, Jan Butler (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Silent Steppe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a first-hand account of the genocide of the Kazakh nomads in the 1920s and 30s. Nominally Muslim, the Kazakhs and their culture owed as much to shamanism and paganism as they did to Islam. Their ancient traditions and economy depended on the breeding and herding of stock across the vast steppes of central Asia, and their independent, nomadic way of life was anathema to the Soviets. Seven-year-old Shayakhmetov and his mother and sisters were left to fend for themselves after his father was branded a "kulak" (well-off peasant and thus class enemy), stripped of his possessions, and sent…

Book cover of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Kenneth W. Harl Author Of Empires of the Steppes: A History of the Nomadic Tribes Who Shaped Civilization

From my list on how the nomadic peoples enriched and shaped civilizations across Eurasia.

Who am I?

I am a Professor Emeritus of Classical and Byzantine History, and I was fascinated by Attila and the Hun and Genghis Khan from early childhood when I decided that I would become a historian. I set out to write the history of the Eurasian nomads from their perspective, and so convey their neglected history to a wider readership.

Kenneth's book list on how the nomadic peoples enriched and shaped civilizations across Eurasia

Kenneth W. Harl Why did Kenneth love this book?

This fast-paced, wide-ranging history of Genghis Khan and his successors is by an author with first-hand experience of living among the nomads of the Eurasian steppes.

This work is the best introduction for the general reader on the role of Genghis Khan as a conqueror and ruler as well as the impact of the Mongols on shaping the modern world.

By Jack Weatherford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”—Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of…