These are the 10 books I read before becoming a solo nomad, or at least the ones I remember. When I was preparing for the road and the unknown I found comfort and guidance in others stories. It helped me to face fears and feel like I wasn’t so alone. Some of these books on the list I read before the road, during, and one I did not finish!! I hope these books bring you the community, love and support that they gave me while facing the unknown road ahead. Oh and I linked each title to Amazon for a reference. No need to purchase there, instead go to your local bookstore or library to show your support.
*cover photo taken at local bookshop Francie & Finch in Lincoln Nebraska. Thank you for letting me take over the shop and take photos. I loved looking through all your pages!
#1: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons learned on the open ocean by Roz Savage
At the very beginning of my life of adventure, even before I realized that was my path I heard management consultant turned solo ocean rower Roz Savage on NRP. In her book, Roz opens up about how she changed her life from the one she was living to the one she wanted to live. With little rowing experience Roz took on the change of rowing the Atlantic SOLO during one of the worst hurricane seasons. This book is full of mishaps, successes and shows you what happens when you have a bit of grit, determination and duct tape.
#2: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
Tracks by Robyn Davidson
Where do I start! Robyn gets real about what it’s like to be a strong independent woman doing something out of the ordinary. She talks about standing her ground with men, the desert and her camels. Robyn writes openly about her struggles, the freedom of farting and having her period during an adventure. Tracks was also super informative about the not so talked about controversial aboriginal culture, adding even more depth to her book. I’m in love with this book. Ladies, this is a MUST read.
#3: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho
This book was given to me way before I became a nomad, yet is the book I always seem to have with me. Paulo’s story follows Santiago, a shepherd, on his journey to find his personal legend at the Pyramids of Giza. But all does not go according to plan, or does it. I have found great spiritual guidance within the pages of this novel. When I feel I am off the path this book helps to remind me that nothing gets in the way of us finding our own personal legend or what we desire to accomplish.
#4: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
Little Women By Louisa May Alcott
Okay, this is not really an adventure book BUT the stories of sisters Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg are adventurous. Even though this book was written in the 1800’s any woman can relate to the struggles these four sisters face. I especially connect with the wildly free spirited Jo. She’s full of life, imagination, has a fiery temper, and is a talented writer. She also isn’t considered a proper lady. Jo may be a fictional character but I look up to her tenacity and ability to stand up to adversity, which comes in handy with any adventure.
#5: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
How to Stay Alive in the Woods By Bradford Angier
I came across this lovely gem at a local used bookshop in Lincoln, A Novel Idea, when I was searching for a survival book. It never hurts to learn all you can about survival when you are an adventurer. Bradford describes how to roast and grind dandelion roots as a perfect coffee substitute. He goes into detail about how to get out of trouble if you fall into ice, how to make a torch, determining direction by the sun, how to build shelter, what to wear, carry, and soooooo much more. This book has a wealth of knowledge and with its compact size it fits right in my backpack, so I take it EVERYWHERE. This book is only for North America but before his death, Bradford published over 35 books on survival.
#6: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
When I was in Seattle a good friend gave me this book. I hesitated to read this book because I saw the movie and really didn’t like it. But I took my friends advice, plus once on the road I longed to read about other female solo adventures. I felt so alone and found comfort and many parallels between Cheryl and myself. The struggle with not being prepared, mental and physical strains, and longing to let go of the past. I bet most of you have read this one but if not please do. You will feel inspired I know I did.
#7: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
On the same page of letting go, “Anatomy of the Spirit” is a book about chakras (our energy centers in our bodies). During adventures or when facing fears or with finding ones self there is a lot of letting go and healing involved. This book helps to navigate that healing process. Caroline writes about the links of emotional stress to illness, breaks down each energy center (or chakra) and helps lead readers to release or embrace what we feel we need to bring to our lives for empowerment. This book has helped me heal from my past to embrace my future.
#8: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The first time I saw this book I KNEW I must read it. This was when I was a teenager, way before all the movies. I quickly related to Bilbo and how he went from no experience of adventure to living years of it. This is a classic book that everyone should read and not just see the movies. The book has a much different tone and I must confess I turned off the movie about 10 minutes in. “The Hobbit” is one of the many influences that are responsible for my passion and drive for adventure.
#9: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
Poetry of Earth by Adrienne Adams
In middle school, I became passionate with turning my words into poetry. When searching through my schools library poetry section looking for inspiration I just happened to stumble upon this book. Adrienne’s words about nature and the abstract structure of each poem led me to spend hours sitting outside to write (or attempt to write) my own masterpieces. Even though I have not read this book since I was 12 years old it has constantly been in my thoughts, especially since becoming a full time nomad.
#10: Books I read before becoming a solo nomad
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
I was completely excited for this book and actually got to see the one long paragraph manuscript typed by Kerouac at the Autry Museum in LA, but I did not finish this book. I was taken, at first, by the tenacity of Sal but I just couldn’t connect with him. I had started road life and was longing for someone who would bring me empowerment. I didn’t find it in the females in this story, who seemed more like party favors than role models. I traded this book in for Tracks, which was a very wise decision, for me.
What are your fav books about solo adventure? Or nomad life? What are your thoughts on these books?
I’d love any great recommendations, post in the comments and thanks for sharing!
Other Books to read before becoming a solo nomad
Freedom It’s an Inside Job by Zainab Salbi
After years of working as a successful CEO and change-maker, Salbi realized that if she wanted to confront and heal the shadows of the world, she needed to face her own shadows first—and this could only be done by looking within.
Books I’m prepping to read:
Land of Lost Boarders by Kate Harris
LANDS of LOST BORDERS, is a travel memoir about a long bike ride on the Silk Road. But more than that, it's an exploration of the ways borders of all kinds shape and shatter our world, as well as an exploration of, well, exploration--that basic longing to figure out what in the universe we're all doing here.
The Mission Walker by Edie Littlefield Sundby
Under siege from relentless stage 4 cancer, and after losing her right lung, Edie Littlefield Sundby became the first person in history to walk the 1,600-mile El Camino Real de las Californias mission trail.