Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika JaouadWhat happened: Recent college grad Suleika Jaouad moved to Paris to start a dream job -- but a leukemia diagnosis soon sent her home to the U.S., where she spent years recovering. Once cancer-free, she took a 33-state road trip with her dog, visiting friends she'd made while documenting her illness and treatment for The New York Times.
Read this next: For other moving, acclaimed books that ponder life and death and feature solo women travelers, try Maggie Downs' Braver Than You Think or Shannon Leone Fowler's Traveling with Ghosts.
Winter Pasture: One Woman's Journey With China's Kazakh Herders by Li JuanWhat it is: an award-winning memoir that combines nature and travel writing; an eye-opening look at a disappearing way of life; the lyrical English-language debut of a Chinese journalist.
The starting point: Though Li Juan had trouble finding a nomadic group who'd take an unmarried 30-something Han Chinese woman with them for their winter migration, a small Kazakh family of herders agreed.
What happened: Working with the father, mother, and teen daughter, she built a home using manure, gathered snow for water, endured nights with temps below zero, and took care of camel, sheep, and cattle.
Ms. Adventure: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life by Jess PhoenixStarring: Jess Phoenix, a geologist, volcanologist, Explorers Club Fellow, and co-founder of a nonprofit that produces research and works with students in hopes of bringing more diversity to scientific fields.
What it's about: Phoenix discusses her winding path to a science career, the barriers she's faced in a male-dominated field, her eye-opening time shooting a TV segment, and her adventures in California, Hawaii, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, and New York City.
For fans of: Jill Heinerth's Into the Planet and other compelling memoirs by adventurous women; accessible books combining science and travel.
We Came, We Saw, We Left: A Family Gap Year by Charles WheelanWhat it's about: In 2016, college professor Charles Wheelan, his math teacher wife, 18-year-old daughter, 16-year-old daughter, and 13-year-old son left their New Hampshire home to spend nine months visiting six continents on a budget.
What happened: They visited Colombia, Australia, the Republic of Georgia, India, and other locales while seeing amazing sights, large spiders, and not always getting along with each other.
Read this next: For other entertaining family travelogues, try Dan Kois' How to Be a Family or Bruce Kirkby's Blue Sky Kingdom.
Walking With Abel: Journeys With the Nomads of the African Savannah by Anna BadkhenWhat happened: For a year, award-winning journalist Anna Badkhen traveled with a group of Fulani people, nomadic cattle herders who have traveled across the West African Savannah for generations.
What you might like it: In lyrical language, Badkhen describes how she slept on the ground, ate food cooked over dung fires, and learned about the Fulani's traditional lifestyle, which is under threat by climate change, urbanization, and Islamic militants.
Reviewers say: "The poetry in Badkhen's prose demands that readers slow down and savor her gentle, elegant story" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John BaxterWhat it is: a delightful, evocative memoir about expat life in the City of Light by Australian John Baxter, who's married to a French woman.
What's inside: recollections of Baxter's city walks and musings on Parisians' penchant for strolling; anecdotes about family life; fascinating history, including about other expat writers such as Ernest Hemingway.
Read this next: For other tours of Paris, try Baxter's A Year in Paris, Edmund White's The Flaneur, or Janice MacLeod's A Paris Year.
The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert MacfarlaneWhat it is: a poetic meditation on walking by acclaimed British author Robert Macfarlane, who recounts his own journeys and ponders people (he meets a lot of them) and the paths they tread.
What it's about: Macfarlane explores ancient footpaths, roads, and sea paths across a variety of areas, including chalk downs in England, the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, occupied territory in Palestine, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and sacred regions of the Himalayas.
Why you might like it: Using rich, readable prose, Macfarlane weaves together literature, natural history, cartography, and more.
Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step at a Time. by Ed StaffordWhat happened: Between 2008 and 2010, TV host and former British Army Captain Ed Stafford walked 4,000 miles across South America in his quest to be the first person to walk the length of the Amazon River.
Why you might like it: Crossing from the Pacific coast of Peru, through Colombia, and on to Brazil's Atlantic coast, Stafford covers hardships and dangers (boredom, jaguars, flooding), people (Indigenous tribes, walking partners), and the land (including the effects of deforestation).
For fans of: David Grann's The Lost City of Z, Sarah Marquis' Wild by Nature, or Levison Wood's books, especially Walking the Americas.
The Salt Path by Raynor WinnThe problems: A friend's betrayal found 50-somethings Raynor and Moth Winn kicked off the Welsh farm they'd fixed up over 20 years. That same week, Moth learned he had a terminal disease.
What happened: Homeless and at a loss, they set out to walk and wild camp along England's challenging 630-mile South West Coast Path.
Read this next: Winn's lovely follow-up book, The Wild Silence; Caroline Van Hemert's The Sun Is a Compass, another inspirational memoir about a couple at a crossroads and the redemptive power of nature.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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