Reading books about self discovery and travel can be the best way to spend your difficult days. The deep-digging, purpose-searching stories of others, who went on a journey, travelling the roads while spiritually discovering their inner selves, can show us just how beautiful and beneficial such experience can be.
In our busy days, running between family tasks, social obligations and personal needs, we rarely have time to pause and think about our lives in a deeper way. We don’t analyse our feelings, therefore we don’t get to know ourselves better. As a result, we live our lives in autopilot. Time is short and to keep afloat with paying bills and family needs, we don’t have really a choice. This COVID-19 crisis, however, gave us a chance to do just that. We can’t push forward anymore without sitting and waiting; being present and mindful. It is time to travel inwards. It’s time to ask ourselves the most important question:
Am I the person I want to be?
Most often, we picture ourselves as we wish to be, not what we are in reality. These times are good moment, while self-isolating at home, to reflect on our lives and our relationships. To get to know ourselves better because, soon enough, the hamster wheel will be back and we will regret that we didn’t use the time to learn and grow as a person.
Grab a book and start exploring. Discover yourselves by reading the stories of other people’s self-exploration and travels, and ask yourself the question – Who am I?
Dreams of My Father
Barack Obama’s first autobiography
Barack Obama wrote his first autobiography when he was still a law school student. The book came out as a result of his election as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review when he gained popularity and received an advance to write it.
Although written early in his life and lacking the style of the great classic writers, reading this book you can track easily where the grace, thoughtfulness and compassion of future America’s president come from. Although a book about his father and Obama’s own personal pilgrimage to find his identity as a child of mixed race and cultures, I’m happy to say that his mother’s strong values and personality shine through the pages as the beacon of Barry’s future success and worldwide contribution.
A true story of travel within one’s innermost world, this book will also open the secret doors to the national philosophy and struggle for survival of the people in the countries where Obama’s life and search for identity will bring you.
Tracks – One Woman Journey Across 1700 miles of Australian Outback
Sometimes, life pulls us in directions we can’t envisage but feel like destined. “I experienced that sinking feeling you get when know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.”
Difficult is a gentle word here. Robyn Davidson set out on a solo journey that had never done before. Not by a white woman. Crossing the desert of Central Australia on foot and only accompanied by her camels and dog, it is a path walked mostly only by the Aboriginal people. It does not become clear if she found what she was looking for in taking on this challenging hike. Nevertheless, this is the most clearly defined book about self discovery of all on the list. Reading it, it is a pleasure of unearthing the world hidden in the silent flats of the Red Centre, the remote life of the traditional Aboriginals as well as following one woman’s journey to question and challenge herself in a way that will help her to move on from whatever was pulling her back. To me, it seems this is a trip of freeing the spirit.
The Snakebite Survivor’s Club: Travels among Serpents
The Snakebite Survivors’ Club is probably the most bizarre of all travel books you can read. Yet, it is an interesting and informative read. In the year before my first trip to Australia, I was in London and found the book in one of the charity bookstores. As snakes and spiders were my biggest concern for my future solo trip to the land Down Under, I wanted to know more about them.
This book definitely gave me enough knowledge to feel … uncertain in what to expect (you can never know until you have lived it). Snaking around the mix and match of author’s stories of visiting the continents with the deadliest serpents, it is a fascinating read of a different type of discovery. One that, in addition to learning about a world you did not know existed, you discover your own limits too.
Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World
Rita Golden Gelman
Sometimes, life gives you lemons and … you create a new life for yourself. Rita Golden Gelman was not a young woman when she was forced to take a different direction. After a sudden and unexpected divorce, she remembered what she always felt a pull to, before her middle-class comfortable life made her numb.
Suddenly finding herself alone, she took on an adventure that hadn’t finish till today. She is 83 years old now, still visiting countries and had written more than fifty children’s books).
In her book Tales of a Female Nomad, she writes about how her nomadic life had started, the challenges and risks she had taken at first and how this unexpected adventure turned into a new lifestyle. A lifestyle that gives her the freedom to open her mind, connect with people all over the world, help when and where possible, most often trough cooking in the world’s poorest kitchens, and ultimately finding the meaning of life.
Travelling or sitting in our armchairs, comfortably snugged with a book, we have always to the choice. To stagnate or continue the journey of learning. I hope these books about self discovery and travel will help you fill your days with a deep understanding of who you are and where you want to be.
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