Inspirational books that have shaped my travels (and my life)

Reading is essential, not just on the road but in everyday life, and these books have really helped shape me and my travels along this crazy journey the past two years.  If you’re looking for a little inspiration, pick one of these up and don’t forget your journal to take notes- you’re going to learn a lot from these gems.  It’s impossible not to.

Ps. I included my new affiliate links to Amazon, and if you end up purchasing I get a % which helps me keep traveling!  ❤ HMD


A New Earthby Ekhart Tolle

a new earth

Thank you so much to my former boss, Tiffany, for this one!  The night I gave her my notice and told her my plan to travel abroad, she took me to her house and gave me this book.  I was so nervous to tell her and there she was reacting with so much positivity and encouragement.  I cried knowing I’d never have a boss like her again and she just hugged me and told me to travel as far and as long as possible.

I didn’t know, at the time, how much this book would shape my coming year and my outlook on life in general.  Eckhart Tolle makes you rethink your entire being and how you’re caring for yourself and others.  It was the perfect companion those first few months in Europe. I will revisit this book time and again throughout my life to remind me what is most important.

Purchase here on AMAZON


Until the Real Thing Comes Along by Elizabeth Berg

Honest, witty, charming and heartbreaking at the same time.  This book plays on the questions {almost} all women in their 20s and 30s are asking themselves: Am I cut out to be a mother?  When?  Will I be a mother at all?  What if I don’t find a husband to father my babies?  Am I going to die alone?

The book challenges these questions.  The author makes you think about what you really want and how far you’d be willing to go to get it.

Needless to say…through reading this book, I considered just how I may not be ready just yet for motherhood I am at this point in my life but I do (DEFINITELY) want a family someday in the foreseeable future- when I meet the right man.  It’s fun to think about though…for later.  Right now, I’ve got a lot more passport stamps to get.

Purchase here on AMAZON


Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

Admittedly, I watched the movie, prior to reading the book, about 6 months before I left for my trip.  I remember crying and crying in the movie theater as Reese Witherspoon played Cheryl Strayed, a woman who lost her mother and her marriage, fell into self-destruction then left for a journey.  My boyfriend at the time took me to the theater and said “YOU need to watch this.”  He was right.  This story inspired me on such a deep level and when I read the book it hit me even harder.  She hiked the Pacific Crest Trail for 3 months by herself.  A TRUE backpacker, this woman.  She inspired and motivated me, and helped me come to see I could take this journey on solo….and with my own version of her backpack called “Monster”- I just call mine “Big Red.”

Purchase here on AMAZON


Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle 

My dear friend and adopted big sister Claudine let me borrow this book after I picked it up off her coffee table during my visit home and could not put it down.  This book will make you take a hard look at your idea of what love and relationships are, and will empower you to improve upon them.  I was so moved my Glennon’s raw honest that it made me want to share more of myself through my own writing.  It inspired me to hit “publish” on my most vulnerable (and most viewed) blog post ever, “F#*king Perfect.”

Purchase here on AMAZON


You are a Bad Ass by Jen Sincero

My best friend Tyguenne received this from what had become a long train of women passing it on to one another and when my life was in shambles last May she handed it over to me before she was finished (that’s LOVE).  This book is like a kick in the boobs from one alpha female to another.  Jen writes in a really witty and honest way about how to stop making excuses for yourself and how to take control of your life and your self-perception.  More than your average “self-help” book this one actually makes you come up with answers on your own in addition to giving you real life tools to life change.  Thank you Tyguenne, again, for lending this to me when I needed to be empowered the most!

Purchase here on AMAZON


The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 

I treat this book like my bible.  It stays in a special box in my bedroom back home (I wouldn’t dare risk losing it on the road) and I pick it back up whenever I feel I need a little guidance.  As this book reminds you, there is nothing that exists beyond what is happening right here RIGHT NOW, and if you can focus on that you can change your life for the better.  By focusing on the present moment, you enable yourself to appreciate all that IS and IS NOT while forgetting the otherwise useless “stuff.”  I’ve always had a penchant for stressing the small stuff and losing myself in my head, and this book helps bring me back.

Purchase here on AMAZON


The Subtle Art of not giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

Funny story.  I was once in a train station in Prague freaking out over not having enough local currency to cover my bus fare, unable to find an ATM or anyone who spoke English, when I came across a fellow traveler and new friend.  He was tall and charming and Australian and he told me he could show me where to find an ATM.  I followed him eagerly, heart still pounding and mentally drained, to the ATM.  We got cash out and he asked if I wanted to sit for a moment and “have a coffee of something.”  Reluctantly I said yes.  He read me like a book and then pulled out his own, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson.  “YOU need this,” he said.  I took a picture of the book and promised I’d pick it up.  It took me two whole years and a lot of “giving too many fucks” to do so but then I did right before I left for this trip in September and….WOW.  I did really need this book, and so do you, because we all give too many “fucks” about the wrong things sometimes and Mark Manson is like your big brother giving you an all-to-real reality check.  Much appreciated Mark and my fellow traveler friend from Australia!  This book has completely changed the way I see life, for the better.

Purchase here on AMAZON

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