“I read; I travel; I become.” ― Derek Walcott
I’ve always thought that autobiographies and memoirs are the most intriguing genre of writing. They’re a written format of writers reflecting on their lives and sharing those reflections and experiences with others in hopes that they can connect and provide value.
I’m sharing with you the books that have inspired me most, written by nomads and adventurous authors who have left me in awe of the experiences they discovered, lit up my soul with fresh thoughts and ideas, and most importantly, inspired me to make changes in my own life. I hope they will do the same for you.
Read everything this woman writes. Even her Facebook posts often bring me to tears. She just gets it.
Elizabeth Gilbert has a spirit that I have longed to emulate since reading her popular memoir Eat Pray Love about traveling the world to find herself. I haven’t watched the movie, and I don’t even want to, because the book gave me everything I needed. If you’re searching for creativity right now, or even something else, read Eat Pray Love. It will help you find it.
Her latest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear was just released in September and is about how to live your most creative life by overcoming your personal creative struggles.
If you want a shorter read about how to be creative and successful, read this article. She also has several other books and articles if you’re interested. Like I said, seriously, just read it all.
One of the most famous literary nomads of all time, Jack Kerouac is one of my top go-to authors for creative inspiration. Every nomad should read Kerouac, and he has a lot of writing to choose from, including my favorites: Dharma Bums and On the Road, which are similar and different for many reasons.
He writes a lot about hitchhiking across the country and the adventures he has with the people he meets along the way. He failed many times before convincing others to publish and sell his creative work, which was entirely new and misunderstood in the 1940s-60s.
Kerouac invented and wrote spontaneous prose, which can be difficult to keep up with at times, but is worth reading in the end. It’s also helpful in overcoming writer’s block, which can be a huge pain for writers. Kerouac makes you wish it was possible to be the true nomad that he was (but maybe a little more put together).
If most of what Augusten has written in his many memoirs is true (which I like to believe it is), then this guy has been to hell and back multiple times and is somehow still alive. In a world of drab writing that loses my attention after the first paragraph, he keeps my eyes glued to the pages and my jaw agape. The difference about Augusten is that many of this life’s “adventures” were not chosen, but endured and later written as nomadic adventures to finding truth.
His latest book, This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t, is sure to cover any and every mental anguish you’ve felt, and he actually tells you the flat out truth about how to deal with it. The Huffington Post claims it is “The last self-help book you’ll ever read.” I’ve been considering reading it again, and after writing this, I definitely will.
Another Augusten favorite of mine is Running with Scissors, the first memoir he published. It’s a New York Times best seller (along with all of his other books) and now a movie. Always read the book before the movie, people! This book will give you a glimpse of Augusten’s early life, and along with his other memoirs, will help you understand how some nomadic lives aren’t as romantic as we like to think.
If there are other nomadic memoirs you think I and other nomads should read, please leave them in the comments below, and I will add them to my reading list!