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11 Books That Will Inspire You To Travel In 2014

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This is the perfect winter to snuggle up with a book that will take you somewhere else entirely. It has been C-O-L-D.

Make yourself a pot of coffee or a hot chocolate and grab one of these books (or download it).

Below are a few from Amy Alipio, an associate editor at National Geographic Magazine, Nomadic Matt, and some others.

Here are four suggested by Alipio:

1. The Sun and Other Stars, by Brigid Pasulka. The award-winning Pasulka sets her second novel in a seaside village on the Italian Riviera, where Etto, a butcher's son, is grieving the recent loss of his mother and twin brother. Then a Ukrainian soccer star on the lam sweeps into the soccer-obsessed town. But really, all you need to know is: "set on the Italian Riviera."

2. Bingo's Run, by James A. Levine. Teenager Bingo Mwolo is, by his own admission, "the greatest runner in Kibera, Nairobi, and probably the world." A drug runner, that is, and a bit of a Kenyan Artful Dodger, who is sent to live in an orphanage after witnessing a murder, and then finds himself involved in a multimillion-dollar art deal.

3. The Bird Skinner, by Alice Greenway. It's not every day you come across a novel that connects a Maine island with one of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, in a story that weaves together World War II, ornithology, Robert Louis Stevenson, regret, and ultimately, love.

4. Paris Letters, by Janice MacLeod. An ad agency writer in Santa Monica, California, saves enough money to quit her job and head to the City of Light, where she meets the man of her dreams. Needing to finance her extended stay abroad, she launches a business on Etsy that provides subscribers with an illustrated letter from Paris every month. Aspirational fiction? No, a true story to inspire similar dreamers out there.

A few from Matt:

5. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre Deroche. "This book is written by travel blogger Torre DeRoche and, while I normally don't like "chick travel love" stories, I couldn't put this down. It's a beautifully written book about overcoming her fear of the ocean to sail across the Pacific with her boyfriend. The way she describes the scenery, the people, and her experience makes me want to follow in her footsteps. It's the best travel book I've read all year." Here is Matt's interview with her from earlier in the year

6. Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts. "Written by the godfather of vagabonding, Rolf Potts, this book is a must-read for those new to long-term travel. Rolf spent 10 years on the road (he even walked across Israel) and his book contains valuable insights, quotes, and a lot of practical information. From saving to planning to life on the road, this is a must for newbies. It's an inspirational book and one that really affected me when I was planning my trip. His book was re-released last month and I interviewed him about his book."

7. In A Sunburned County, by Bill Byson. "It's hard to pick just one book by Bill Bryson that's good, because they all are. He's one of the most prolific and recognized names in travel writing. This book chronicles a journey through Australia and takes you from east to west, through tiny little mining towns, forgotten coastal cities, and off-the-beaten-path forests. Bryson includes lots of trivia information in his tale as he travels around in awe - and sometimes in fear (thanks to box jellyfish, riptides, crocs, spiders, and snakes) - of this enormous country. This is the book that inspired me to go to Australia." 

8. Cruising Altitude, by Heather Poole. This book by Heather Poole is about life as a flight attendant. I, ironically, picked it up at an airport and read it on a plane. It's a quick, light read about what it's like to work at 35,000 feet. It had some funny stories and gave me a new appreciation for just how hard those flight attendants work and how much crap they have to put up with! I was lucky enough to talk to Heather last year about her book

And some others worth consideration:

9. The Alchemist, by Paulo Cuelho. A story about following your dreams, this is one of the most-read books in recent history. The story follows a young shepherd boy from Spain to Egypt as he follows his heart, goes with the flow, learns to love, and learns the meaning of life. The book is filled with wonderful and inspirational quotes, like my favorite, "If you can concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man... Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we're living right now." I've read this book multiple times. A book about following your dreams is a great book for dreamer...and we travelers certainly are dreamers, Matt wrote on his website.

10. Shanartam, by Gregory David Roberts. This novel about an Australian living as a fugitive in India is based on the life of the author. Gregory David Robersts was sentenced to 19 years in prison for a series of armed robberies then escaped and fled to Bombay where he lived for a number of years. His story includes trials of establishing a free medical clinic in the slums, counterfeiting, smuggling and serving as a street soldier for the mafia. However, it also paints a vivid picture of the life and people of Bombay and is a powerful story about friendship and love.

11. On The Road, by Jack Kerouac. "Written in 1957, Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation classic is a timeless travel novel. The story follows his character, Sal, as he leaves New York City and heads west riding the rails, making friends, and partying the night away. The main character's frustration, desire to see the world, and adventures are themes that can resonate with many of us. What I especially love about this story is that through all his travels, he becomes a better, stronger, and more confident person. I can personally relate to that," wrote Matt.

Keep up with Alipio via Twitter @AmyTravels and Matt @nomadicmatt.

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