Reading Recommendations from A Bag Lady


Words have always fascinated me. In my adolescents, I would often ponder the origin of words, their invention, how they were formulated. Whose jobs was it to construct the alphabet or to decide which letters to string together to formulate a word, then a sentence? And why are there so many words to describe the same thing? My young mind had an innocent thirst for knowledge, literature and the English language.

Globetrotting has only elevated this esuriency wetting that thirst with a consistent diet of enlightening, empowering and sometimes downright frightening cross-cultural exchanges as nourishment. In the absence of travel, however, my adventurous heart, (and by default) my motivation to put pen to paper – so to speak – is often left wanting.

When wanderlust tugs at my heart-strings it’s reading that serves as a catalyst to jump-start my creativity. I can get lost for hours, nose-deep in an intriguing read, when an author invites me to bring an atmosphere, character or emotion to life from well-strung together sentences. In between adventures (and books) I habitually return to three adventure-full titles that whisper tranquilities to my deep-rooted sense of adventure.

These three publications not only reinforce philosophies that are applicable to life in general, but they also stir my individual sense of wonder and inspire this avid traveler to adventure on. I’m curious, if any, which titles will whistle the compositions of adventure to you? And will you listen to its song?

To Shake the Sleeping Self

This title by Jedidah Jenkins is the story of a homosexual man’s audacity to celebrate turning 30 by hopping onto a bicycle and peddling south from Oregon to Patagonia. Acquired recently (gifted) after an enlightening handful of years heavy on consistent solo-adventure this novel is reviving my weary bones, motivating me to find and seek adventure in various capacities. Now, I have no immediate desire to bike my way across a continent, but I find his tale of physical exhaustion, his developed understanding of humanity and his discovery of self on this courageous journey profoundly relatable.

“*For me, thoughts and emotions stay cloudy until I put them into words, give them bodies to walk around in and be their own thing, that’s when they become knowable*” ~Jedidiah Jenkins

Bringing readers on a journey through creative writing favors my individual artistic expression. It allows me to give the destination or experience a “body to walk around in” if you will. Living abroad has granted me consistent exposure to foreign cultures providing me with a global type of education. One that opens the heart as well as the mind. This book reaffirms the impact of kindness and faith told through playful wording and relatable vulnerability.

Eat, Pray, Love

My personal favorite and quasi travel bible. I’ve read and re-read this book dozens of times. I’m repeatedly drawn into her realizations/struggles with truly loving others as a result of the lack of love for herself and the individual journey of self-discovery therein. The playful banter of an over-active, female brain only makes the story more relatable, in my personal opinion.
Admittedly, Europe and Asia were long-time dream destinations prior to discovering the book. As a thoroughbred hopeless romantic, the awakening of self the characters experience during one woman’s journey across continents stirred something in me.

The biggest takeaway of the journey being author Elizabeth Gilbert’s ideas on the physics of the quest. Any reader with an itch for adventure can gain useful geographical insight and cross-cultural scenarios from the imagery painted in words by a 30+, personable, female author.

Under the Tuscan Sun

As a movie buff, I admittedly saw the film before reading the book. That’s not to say, however, that the book didn’t serve as one of the foundations for my desire to live abroad. Before there was Eat Pray Love, there was Frances Mayes’ Under The Tuscan Sun. A recently divorced woman in her mid-thirties that rediscovers the beauty behind “terrible ideas” when she spontaneously buys a worn down Tuscan villa whilst on a haphazard adventure to Italy. This impromptu decision causes a ripple effect of sorts in her life as well as those around her inspiring serenity and love.

Living abroad became a reality for me over a decade later when I joined the United States Peace Corps and relocated myself to Eastern Europe. This deliberate maneuver changed the trajectory of my existence on earth, outwardly inspiring change in the lives of those I’ve met along the way.

My travels have yet to take me to the rolling hills of Tuscany, but my life as a permanent tourist has granted me the chance to visit Italy (Amalfi Coast & Rome) – without spontaneously buying any property I might add.

These titles should more than arouse your sense of wanderlust or at least get your proverbial travel tongue wet enough to start browsing hashtags of dream destinations.

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Written by Meredith_SD
Whether by plane, boat, moped, bus, or train I LIVE for traveling. As a Black-American, solo-female backpacker, I consider myself a global citizen. My adventure mandatory and peripatetic lifestyle offers an intuitive insight on the realities of what it is to live a life comprised of jet setting the globe. Travel tips, historical facts and plenty of adventure in between, Meredith San Diego makes backpacking look good! I travel so that you don’t have to🙋🏾‍♀️ It’s my life as a permanent tourist.

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