7 Inspiring Female Travel Memoirs We Can’t Wait to Read

6 March 2020

Whether it’s quitting a job to sail the seven seas, pursuing a search for self across the continents, or overcoming tragedy through travel, the heartfelt travel memoirs of real-life women never cease to inspire us. Here’s 7 reads the Jane gals can’t wait to get stuck into.

Female travel is not a new phenomenon – women have been adventuring solo since the 1800s. Yet, as more women share their stories through travel blogs, social media groups and published memoirs, their intrepid travel tales are reaching a wider audience. By breaking down all kinds of social conventions, they inspire others to do the same. So if you’re thinking of setting off on an epic voyage of your own, or simply in the mood for a bit of armchair travel, let these 7 female travel picks from Good Reads light the way.

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost – Rachel Friedman (2011)

“Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer who spurs Rachel on to a yearlong odyssey that takes her to three continents, fills her life with newfound friends, and gives birth to a previously unrealized passion for adventure. As her journey takes her to Australia and South America, Rachel discovers and embraces her love of travel and unlocks more truths about herself than she ever realized she was seeking. Along the way, the erstwhile good girl finally learns to do something she’s never done before: simply live for the moment.” – Rachel Friedman

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Book C-20 | The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman · "What happens when we lose the things that anchor us? What if, instead of grasping at something to hold on to, we pull up our roots and walk away? Instead of trying to find the way back, we walk deeper and deeper into the woods, willing ourselves to get lost. In this place where nothing is recognizable. Not the people or the language or the food, we are truly on our own. Eventually, we find ourselves unencumbered by the past or the future. Here is a fleeting glimpse of our truest self, our self in the present moment." · A quick read to spark the travel bug within! The main author is likable and writes with simplicity yet depth. She hops from Ireland to Australia, North America to wandering around South America. As someone who has been fortunate enough to travel and see a few places in the world, I loved Rachel's ability to bring me back to the booths in Galway, the common rooms of hostels. Furthermore, as someone standing at a crossroads, a dear friend left this book for me to keep me company when I needed it. The writing is a bit younger than what I normally read but it kept my attention and diagnosed me with a severe case of wanderlust. If you're looking for a fun escape or something to motivate you to go on and buy that plane ticket, pick this one up. · · ✈️ rec level: 3.75 of 5 | for fans of: Wild by Cheryl Strayed · · #book #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #rachelfriedman #bookshelf #bookclub #bookish #bearsbeetsbooks #goodgirlsguidetogettinglost

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How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker – Lauren Juliff (2015)

“I had no life experience, zero common sense and had never eaten rice. I suffered from debilitating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder and had just had my heart broken. I hoped by leaving to travel the world I would be able to heal myself. Instead, Lauren’s travels were full of bad luck and near-death experiences. Over the space of a year, she was scammed and assaulted, lost teeth and swallowed a cockroach. She fell into leech-infested rice paddies, was caught up in a tsunami, her motorbike’s brakes failed and she experienced a very unhappy ending during a massage in Thailand. It was just when Lauren was about to give up on travel that she stumbled across a handsome New Zealander with a love of challenges…”-Lauren Juliff

Uncanny Valley – Anna Wiener (2020)

“In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener—stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial–left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress.

Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building…”- Anna Wiener

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I actually listened to this as an audiobook, but wanted to post a review so much that I snook a photo in Waterstones… – – – I think one of my favourite discoveries of the last year or so is how much I LOVE memoir, and this was absolutely no exception. Uncanny Valley is Anna Wiener’s account of how she left her New York publishing job and moved to California, caught up in a whirlwind of excitement about the tech industry: lucrative salaries; west coast weather; casual dress code; free beer. I came for the publishing talk – and it’s true, the first chapter or so is a brilliant portrayal of everything that’s wrong with this crazy little industry – but I stayed for the witty, insightful writing, the adventure into the quirks of start up culture, and the cutting take down of tech bros. Honestly, this is so good! So good! Also, this was one of the best audiobook readings I’ve come across – like listening to a really long, really engaging podcast. – – – #uncannyvalley #bookstagram #shelfie #booksbooksbooks #currentlyreading

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Love with a Chance of Drowning – Torre DeRoche (2011)

“A city girl with a morbid fear of deep water, Torre DeRoche is not someone you would ordinarily find adrift in the middle of the stormy Pacific aboard a leaky sailboat – total crew of two – struggling to keep an old boat, a new relationship and her floundering sanity afloat. Set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations, Love with a Chance of Drowning is a sometimes hilarious, often moving and always breathtakingly brave memoir that proves there are some risks worth taking.” – Torre DeRoche

This is How I Save My Life: A True Story of Finding Everything When You are Willing to Try Anything – Amy B. Scher (2018)

“When Amy B. Scher was struck with undiagnosed late-stage, chronic Lyme disease, the best physicians in America labeled her condition incurable and potentially terminal. Deteriorating rapidly, she went on a search to save her own life–from the top experts in Los Angeles and the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis to a state-of-the-art hospital in Chicago. After exhausting all of her options in the US, she discovered a possible cure–but it was highly experimental, only available in India, and had as much of a probability of killing her as it did of curing her. Knowing the risks, Amy packed her bags anyway and flew across the world hoping to find the ultimate cure.”

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I'm @amybscher and am thrilled to be taking over this awesome Instagram account for a few days. Thank you, @jenpastiloff! I'm an author who lives in NYC with my beautiful wife and two bad cats. I have a brand new book coming out on Tuesday called THIS IS HOW I SAVE MY LIFE — about traveling around the world to try to heal from an incurable condition…and finding everything I never knew I needed along the way. There were many things I learned that we need in order to be happy and healthy beings when it feels like all the odds are stacked against us. But one of the biggest? WE ARE ENOUGH. We are already enough even without doing a thing. I'll be reminding myself of this a billion times this week when I'm terrified to have all my words out in the world. Maybe we can remind each other. For more about the book: #youareenough #howisavemylife #jenpastiloff

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Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad – by Firoozeh Dumas (2008)

“In the bestselling memoir Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas recounted her adventures growing up Iranian American in Southern California. Now she again mines her rich Persian heritage in Laughing Without an Accent, sharing stories both tender and humorous on being a citizen of the world, on her well-meaning family, and on amusing cultural conundrums, all told with insights into the universality of the human condition. (Hint: It may have to do with brushing and flossing daily.) Dumas also documents her first year as a new mother, the familial chaos that ensues after she removes the television set from the house, the experience of taking fifty-one family members on a birthday cruise to Alaska, and a road trip to Iowa with an American once held hostage in Iran.” – Firoozeh Dumas

Confessions of a Paris Party Girl: A Humorous Travel Memoir – Vicki Lesage (2014)

Wine, romance, and French bureaucracy – the ups and downs of an American’s life in Paris. This laugh-out-loud memoir is almost too funny to be true! Drinking too much bubbly. Meeting sappy Frenchmen who have girlfriends or are creeps or both. Encountering problème after problème with French bureaucracy. When newly-single party girl Vicki moved to Paris, she was hoping to taste wine, stuff her face with croissants, and maybe fall in love.

Want more? Join my bookclub on Facebook: What Wandering Women Read

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