JENNA DAVIS
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Hi, I'm Jenna. I am a Canadian expat living in Germany and blogging my way through sustainable travel. I'm here to help you ease yourself into travel that's a little more sweet for our earth. I make mistakes on a daily basis, but that's what the blog is for - learning and growing! See you on the road!

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10 Books to Inspire Responsible Travel

By on August 24th, 2015

Truly, I’m not much of a reader. Though I yearn for those days where I’ll have an hour of silence to sit, drink a cup of candy cane hot chocolate and read a good book… it’s probably not realistic. I often hear the suggestion,

“You know there is such a thing called relaxation.”

It’s just not in my blood to sit still and at the moment the only thing that keep me still is my unhealthy addiction to Netflix before bed time.

However, on the rare occasion I do get to read through a book (like when the flight attendant tells me to shut of my laptop for take off), I choose motivational and self-help books always.

Travel Books

I don’t need help (I think), I simply enjoy reading to become a better person. I waste enough of my hours watching trash TV on Netflix, the last thing I need is a book that just clutters my mind of nonsense.

So here it is, 10 inspiring books to help you becoming a better traveller. Responsible travel. 

Something That Matters | Blake Mycoskie

Usually I save the best for last, but in this circumstance I can’t wait. Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie is my all time favourite book. This read inspired me to create a business in which I could help support northern Canadians living in poverty and then leading me to create my current blog about sustainable and philanthropic travel.

One of his most memorable quotes is,

“Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world – all at the same time.”

He inspires readers to follow their dreams and their passions while helping make a difference in the world. For him it was the creation of TOMS’ shoes and their One for One (BOGO – Buy One, Give One) approach. Through travel and charity Black transformed his life in to his ultimate adventure.

Travel Books

Photo Taken By Jessica Wissel

Live Your Dash | Linda Ellis

Does the poem The Dash come to mind when you read the title of this book? The beautiful and inspiration poem referring to the dash on a friends tombstone dating her beginning and her end?

Live Your Dash is all about living your dash to the fullest, it is about creating a fulfilling and loving life that you and those around you will always remember.

If you’ve got a passion for travel like myself, this book will really resonate with you and how you choose to explore the globe – free, light footed and wild.

Europe

Looptail | Bruce Poon Tip

Bruce Poon Tip is the founder of G Adventures, a travel adventure organization which seeks to find the worlds most sustainable tourism opportunities. Looptail is a book about Bruce’s first hand experiences on his way to creating this world renowned company. He’s got a heart full of gold and a unique approach to his business making decisions which has won the hearts of many readers.

Whether you want to create your own sustainable venture or simply tred the world lightly through adventure, this book will spark you with sustainable wanderlust.

Tropical Islands

Half the Sky | Nicholas D. Kristof

If there’s one thing I strongly believe, it is to well educate yourself before arriving at any travel destination. It is terrible when the tourists around you are acting out and disrespecting local customs, it is another thing when you’re partaking in it.

Half the Sky is a novel about turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. They take a trip through Africa and Asia in order to meet up with the women of various communities and investigate their struggles. From poverty, sex slave and murder, there is a lot to learn about this world and there is even more to help change. This novel will inspire anyone to make a difference whether small or large.

It will certainly have you thinking differently about what you’d like to do on your next trip.

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

Sibiu

Turn Right at Machu Picchu | Mark Adams

I’ve got to be honest from one travel writer to another, Mark Adams book Turn Right at Machu Picchu wasn’t the most gripping of books as I began reading. My father bought this book for me for Christmas the month before I departed on a missions trip to Peru. Though it starts off a little slow, the novel quickly gains power as they continue to find off the beaten paths in the mountains of Peru.

He talks about a young professor from Yale University, Hiram Bingham III who climbed the Andes Mountains and discovered what is now known as Machu Picchu. Though there are more twist and turns to this historical read than you can imagine, it can certainly give anyone an appreciation for exploring the unknown while leaving nothing but footprints.

Travel Books

The Alchemist | Paulo Coelho

This is one novel I haven’t had the pleasure of reading but is on my list as the number one book to pick up next. From what I have heard, this is a simple to read book that should be read by every travel across the globe.

The Alchemist is about a young shepherd boy, Santiago from Andalusia, Spain who sets off on an adventure to explore the buried treasure of Egypt. Through the exploration of this unknown treasure and an encounter with a Gypsy, Santiago starts to discover himself and the book unravels as the unravels the transformations within.

Travel Books

Photo taken by Dorli Photography

The Beach | Alex Garland

If you haven’t read or watched The Beach, it is a must see – not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio is the leading man in this story.

A young man sets off on a wild adventure in Bangkok only to find himself within an untouched and vast island life unknown to man kind. On a Thai island in a national park, Richard become a part of an entire civilized world that is very different from his own.

This read inspired me to live this open heart, open mind life, where the most beautiful thing on this planet is mother nature. The more I travel, the more this novel resonates with me as I explore open vast landscapes untouched my man kind and in its raw beauty.

Travel Books

First They Killed My Father | Loung Ung

South East Asia is becoming a popular destination for many travellers which is why I have included this novel in my post today. First They Killed My Father is the first book and the only book that has ever had me in tears from one page to another. It is a true story written by Loung Ung who was a child survivor during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. At the age of 5 Loung was living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia living a normal life. 1975 was the year the Khmer Rouge took over forcing Loung and her family to hide everything, money, status, education and identity. The story of death and child labor camps paints a vivid picture in the readers mind of what happened during that time.

I’ve seen so many disrespectful tourists flood the streets of Cambodia and it made me sick to think that this is how we repay the citizens of Cambodia. If you’re planning a trip to South East Asia, you must read this book.

Photo taken by SunKee Hwang

Photo taken by SunKee Hwang

In the Shadow of Man, Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall writes a novel on her study of chimpanzees in Tanzania and the bonds she built with the animals. She does a phenomenal job at explaining the link and connection between man kind and animals.

Whether you’re on route for an animal conservation trip or just looking to take a couple game reserve tours… this is a remarkable and heart wrenching book which will certainly give you a deeper understanding of how to interact with animals.

Tropical Islands

The Voluntourist, Ken Budd

I was recently in e-mail contact with Ken Budd simply because I did a basic search on voluntourism and had his book come up on Google first. I haven’t read it yet, but it is certainly a book that should be added to the list.

The novel is about a man who tried to save the world in hope to save himself. This novel is about Ken Budd. Through death, grief and sadness, life takes Ken on a journey to New Orleans where we volunteered for the Katrina Relief. From that day on Ken has continued to explore the world and make a difference.

Sibiu

Are there any other reads that you’d add to the list? Looking for more inspiration about sustainable travel? Head on over to my blog post: 8 Ways to be a Sustainable Traveller

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6 Comments
  1. Reply

    Vera

    August 24, 2015

    Great post! I absolutely love the idea of TOMS, so great. Hopefully I’l buy ones soon. And my mum loves Paulo Coelho so maybe I should give him a try. Thanks for sharing! Responsible travel is essential nowadays. With love,
    Vera
    Ps. I love your blog! New fan!

    http://theflashwindow.weebly.com (The Flash Window)
    https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/-flash-window–12782683 (Bloglovin)

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      August 25, 2015

      Thanks so much for the sweet comment! You should definitely try reading a couple of these 😀 I’ll go check out your blog now! 🙂 – Jenna

  2. Reply

    Katie

    August 24, 2015

    This is such an inspiring list! Whilst I am more than guilty of using books and novels to clutter my mind with nonsense, I do think I need to read more for education and less for pleasure so this is definitely being added to my list of to-do lists!

    P.s. just signed up for Netflix today… wish me luck!

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      August 25, 2015

      Hahaha, oh goodness Katie…. have fun with Netflix! It’s actually a seriously unhealthy addiction for me. Mentally I’ll be tracking what it is I’m doing in my day and rewarding myself with an episode in between every blog post I write haha.

  3. Reply

    Shivya

    June 18, 2016

    Interesting list. I have new fodder for my book shelf 🙂

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