Top 5 Books for the Vagaonbond and Traveler

Growing up I was a huge computer nerd and for what ever reason I never read that much. Although I’ve always loved movies, especially the ones about travel, I couldn’t get enough.  Over that past few years I’ve started to read more and while there are plenty of books that don’t suit my taste, there are plenty that do. Below you’ll find a list of my Top 5 Books for the Vagaonbond and Traveler.

Let me be clear, these are not for HOW to be a vagabond. These are simply stories that really helped light a fire in me for travel. 

Smile When You're Lying - Vagabond Guide1. Smile When You’re Lying 
Travel writer, editor, and photographer Chuck Thompson has spent more than a decade traipsing through thirty-five (and counting) countries across the globe, and he’s had enough. Enough of the half-truths demanded by magazine editors, enough of the endlessly recycled clichés regarded as good travel writing, and enough of the ugly secrets fiercely guarded by the travel industry. But mostly, he’s had enough of returning home from assignments and leaving the most interesting stories and the most provocative insights on the editing-room floor. From getting swindled in Thailand to running afoul of customs inspectors in Belarus, from defusing hostile Swedish rockers backstage in Germany to a closed-door meeting with travel execs telling him why he’s about to be fired once again, Thompson’s no-holds-barred style is refreshing, invigorating, and all those other adjectives travel writers use to describe spa vacations where the main attraction is a daily colonic.

Naked in Dangerous Places - Vagabond Guide2. Naked in Dangerous Places 
Finally, after years as a struggling radio host, Cash Peters has been given his own TV adventure show on a big-time travel network. The idea is simple: “Let’s dump him in an unfamiliar culture in a faraway land with no money and no place to stay, and see what happens.” 

Unfortunately, there is one major problem: Cash doesn’t want to go. Not only is he NOT the adventurous type, he is afraid of nearly everything and horribly allergic to the rest. 

Bottom line: they’ve given the show to the wrong guy.

Do Travel Writers go to Hell? - Vagabond Guide3. Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?
For those who think that travel guidebooks are the gospel truth.

The waitress suggests that I come back after she closes down the restaurant, around midnight. We end up having sex in a chair and then on one of the tables in the back corner. I pen a note in my Moleskine that I will later recount in the guidebook review, saying that the restaurant “is a pleasant surprise . . . and the table service is friendly.” –Thomas Kohnstamm, professional travel writer and author of numerous Lonely Planet guidebooks


Vagabonding - Vagabond Guide4. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life—from six weeks to four months to two years—to discover and experience the world on your own terms. Veteran shoestring traveler Rolf Potts shows how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel. 


5. Marco Polo Didn’t Go There
Marco Polo Didn’t Go There is a collection of rollicking travel tales from a young writer USA Today has Marco Polo Didn't Go There - Vagabond Guidecalled “Jack Kerouac for the Internet Age.” For the past ten years, Rolf Potts has taken his keen postmodern travel sensibility into the far fringes of five continents for such prestigious publications as National Geographic Traveler,, and The New York Times Magazine. This book documents his boldest, funniest, and most revealing journeys—from getting stranded without water in the Libyan desert, to crashing the set of a Leonardo DiCaprio movie in Thailand, to learning the secrets of Tantric sex in a dubious Indian ashram. 

There you have it. My Top 5 travel books. Is there a book that inspired you to travel? Be sure to leave a comment below! I’m always looking for new books about traveling the world.

Book descriptions were taken from

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