two of my favorite things to do in the summer, or anytime for that matter, are reading and traveling - usually in close conjunction. i've always wanted to recreate hemingway's trip to southern spain from the sun also rises or his south of france escapades in the garden of eden. i voraciously read anything by orhan pamuk i could get my hands on during my previous life as a turkophile, making it all the way through the museum of innocence without so much as a complaint by page 532 and empathizing with every single word in chapter 10 "huzun" of istanbul: memories and the city. i coincidentally have the title of elif shafak's most popular novel, ask (pronounced ashk and titled the forty rules of love in english), tattooed on my wrist (it also happens to be the word for "love" in turkish). i laughed my way through lunch in paris: a love story with recipes - a gift from a friend of mine while celebrating my 27th birthday in the "city of light". I read eat, pray, love on a recent trip to italy and hold it responsible for my urgent need for a balinese adventure, and i even sacrificed book #2 of the the girl with a dragon tattoo series to a hotel room in malaysia because i just couldn't fit one more thing in my luggage. i used amitav ghosh's the glass palace as my inspiration and guide for a recent trip to myanmar, the place of my father's birth, and i cried all the way through the art of hearing heartbeats, a recommendation by a fellow traveler i met during a tour of a working elephant camp, when i returned from this life changing trip.
so as we near august - the summer month for travel - i thought it fitting to address my own very real wanderlust and the summer reading list i hold responsible.
trip #1 - ROAD TRIP (napa, portland, seattle, vancouver)
while most of my traveling has taken me out of the country, recently reading cheryl strayed's wild: from lost to found on the pacific crest trail and kerouac's on the road has inspired me to check out some of the beauty right here at home. i probably won't be hiking the PCT (pacific crest trail) or hitchhiking cross country but i have been spending more time at REI and even took my first hike on long island in caumsett state historic park, the beautiful former estate of Marshall Field III, this past weekend. and what would a trip to the great pacific northwest be without a nod to the original novelic inspiration for visiting the region: twilight (hey - i like books of ALL kinds!)
trip #2 - SOUTHERN SPAIN (barcelona and seville)
one word - hemingway. he paints the most beautiful and tortured picture of the south of spain imaginable. i don't see myself watching bull fights or fly fishing or even drinking GALLONS of catalonian wine, but i have wanted to explore this majestic region of spain since reading the sun also rises.
trip #3 - ZEN OUT (phillipines and bali)
i'm not really sure where my recent filipino obsession came from (other than my well documented addiction to lumpia) but i know that bali came in part from elizabth gilbert's eat, pray, love combined with everyday zen: love and work by charlotte joko beck, the queen of american zen. i keep joko beck's work on my nightstand reading (and rereading) chapters whenever i need to find some center. i even found this ridiculously reasonably priced yoga/meditation retreat in bali that includes sight-seeing and dolphins!!!!
what are your favorite travel destinations and inspirations?
for more on my traveling adventures follow my Pinterest board - WANDERLUST.