Travel and life, Travel Miscellaneous

Inspiration for the Armchair Traveler; Part I

by Jill Robinson

malagaMy current calendar photo of the Mediterranean against a clear, blue July sky is soon to be flipped to a desert scene that was chosen to represent August, and a sense of urgency is starting to ensue. As I realize summer is almost coming to a close, the only exotic places I have been these last few months have been the World’s Largest Truck Stop in Iowa and a border town in Missouri that sold fireworks.

I’m notorious for day-dreaming about possible adventures in foreign countries and will stare out windows for inefficiently long periods of time thinking about where I would like to go next and what language I should learn. Maybe it’s the conditioning from elementary school that leaves many of us feeling that June through August are the only months for escape. The reality is, summer is not the end-all for our next big trip or small escape.

There is still a month left to travel, and  September and October are wonderful times to explore new places.  Prices are reduced, the flocks of tourists thin out and the weather is ideal. To stoke the fires of inspiration and motivation for the next big adventure, here is a list of gems to persuade us to circle a day on our calender and commit to a departure date in the upcoming months.

Greenheart Travel Staff picks Part I: Books

  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – “This book sealed my resolve to experience Kyoto Geishas in Kyotoand really made me appreciate Gion in a way I couldn’t have without reading it – for example, I don’t think I would have gotten goosebumps at glimpsing a geisha and her “maiko” at dusk tripping along the cobblestone streets.”
  • Travelers’ Tales Guides – A Woman’s World; true stories of life on the road – “A collection of short stories by women describing their travels, self-discovery and life lessons. I have written in the page margins and underlined passages in this book that I still turn to when I’m in need of boost.”
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac“This book opened my eyes to the adventure of the open road, and how the relationships and interactions with people along the way are just as important as the sites.
  • Eiffel Tower at nightAlmost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull –  “I have a bunch of books about living in France that always make me homesick for that part of the world – I can’t remember all of them but one is Almost French by an Australian journalist who married a Frenchman she met (while traveling of course) and ended up moving to Paris. It is hilarious, because the culture shock she describes is not only her own but also that of her French husband, as he becomes acquainted with all the decidedly non-French idiosyncrasies of his new Aussie wife. Very funny and right on the money.”



  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – “Both of these stories inspired me to learn more about the country, the people, the conflicts, the history, etc. There has been a lot of media attention focused on these two (Afghanistan, Sierra Leone) areas of the world, and most Americans only view those cultures/people through the media. I just wanted to find out more for myself and have a better understanding.”
  • Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert Ganges boats
  • A Room with a View by E.M. Forster – “When I was in college I remember that E. M. Forster’s, A Room with a View inspired me to go to Florence so I could see the Arno for myself. So I did.”
  • To Destroy You is No Loss; The Odyssey of a Cambodian Family by JoAn D. Criddle – “This is a very powerful and wrenching memoir of a Cambodian family’s escape from Pol Pot’s regime to California really piqued my interest in Cambodia.”
  • National Geographic – “I have been a subscriber since 1974.”

For more inspirational reading, National Geographic Traveler has their own list of 50 books to satisfy our cultural curiosities. These stories have an incredible ability to take us away for a moment to a new country and culture. The hope is that someday, we can move from the comfort of a couch to the setting of our own travel adventure, forming a story that is ours to share.

About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


3 thoughts on “Inspiration for the Armchair Traveler; Part I

  1. Thanks for the list! I LOVE reading historical fiction and non-fiction books and so, I’ll have to check out some of the books on the list!

    I actually read the Kite Runner and it’s one of my most favorite novels! The story is so captivating!

    Posted by Rachel | August 7, 2009, 12:59 am


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