Reading Material Every Creative Should Bring on the Road

I find myself on the road a lot. And at the risk of using all of my data typically will stay off of my cell phone and find some other way to preoccupy myself. The thing that I do to pass the time inevitably ends up being reading a book. On my first ever road trip I brought 15 different books. I know that’s excessive, but I couldn’t decide which ones I could leave behind. What if I became bored with one and wished to pick up a different one, the one that I had left behind? On my second trip across the country I was forcibly limited by my friends to three books. On my third and fourth trips I brought seven books that are listed below. They all came in hand in different ways and situations They don’t take up that much space, and on the days when you have many hours of driving ahead of you sitting in the passenger seat, they make the time pass smoothly. I actually had to get over being car sick when I read. As a child I would puke anytime I read a paragraph while in motion. After countless hours being constantly in my car I was able to overcome my motion sickness. I find that as long as I hold the book in my lap and look down at it so I don’t see my surroundings passing by outside the window I can manage without a headache or any nausea. Anyway, the books below are all wonderful in their own way for creatives, for anyone they are enjoyable.

1. Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to all 58 National Parks

National Parks are all over this country so no matter where you are driving it’s likely you will pass near one of these magnificent places. With this book you will be prepared to find the best spots. I advise purchasing a annual park pass. It costs $80 but it will get you into any National Parks and Federal Recreation lands for free for an entire year. Entrance fees for the parks typically range from $15-$30 per car. So the more places you visit the more you get out of such a pass. This guide includes step by step itineraries, popular activities for all such as hiking, driving, family, and ranger programs are listed. You will find the best restaurants in and near the park as well as places to stay ranging from hotels to campsites, and backcountry spots. There is up-to-date information on every park. It breaks it all down into regions and then on the first page of each park provides you with the best time of year to visits, the best hikes to try, and best landmarks to see in person. I have been to twenty national parks in the past year and a half and I used this guide for every visit.

2. Rand McNally 2017 Road Atlas: United States, Canada, Mexico

This is perfect for anyone trying to map out a route while on the road. If you use a GPS it will take you along the fastest route unless you alter your preferences in the settings. We also would check out GPS route with a route in the atlas to see if there was a more scenic way to go that would gives us some amazing photo opportunities. There are detailed maps for every state, and Canadian Province, and an overview of Mexico. There are also closer road maps of cities and best of the road sections listing editor’s favorite road trips from East to West. I highlighted all of me routes in my atlas so I could follow along as we drove. The book also has a waterproof cover and makes for great photos when opened in your lap.

3. Wildside: The Enchanted Life of Hunters and Gatherers

This is 148 pages of beauty. Between the photographs, quotes, and information within you will want to read this book over and over again. This books teaches you about the woods and all of the possibilities it holds. While, this book is not a basic survival guide it offers advice on a wide range of topics from mushroom picking, to cabin building, and honey gathering from wild bee hives. Loaded with profiles and essays it’s a wonderful way to delve deeper into the forest and learn about things both architectural and intangible. Read about walking trails, scenic hikes, bike trails, outdoor crafts and be infatuated with this modern guide to outdoor activities.

4. Dronescapes: The New Aerial Photography from Dronestagram

Drones have become very prevalent in everyday life over the last four years or so. This is the first book to bring together 250 of the very best photographs taken by drones. Included is some commentary on how the image was created and achieved, it also includes technical advice on using drones and how to choose the right model. There is also a discussion on how the arrival of drone photography will have an impact on the history of the profession. With aerial drone photos becoming more and more prevalent on Instagram this book will be a great way to inspire creatives who are on the road. Great ideas can be thought of by looking at the images and there are endless opportunities to capture an incredible landscape on the road. My favorite photos are the ones where people lay on the roof of a car and the drone takes the image from above capturing the road and surround land.

5. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders

This book is honestly so much fun! It contains 700 of the world’s most curious and strangest places. It will make anyone want to add to their bucket lists. The book is seperated by continents. The places range from glowworm caves in New Zealand to the alien watchtower in southern Colorado. It’s full of some wild places that are accessible and won’t be tourist traps because a lot of people don’t know they even exist. It showcases how weird and marvelous this world truly is and will allow you to add hidden and mysterious pit stops to your life on the road.

6. No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering

This book isn’t really a how-to guide, but I always bring it along because it’s fun reading and it reminds me what is really important while traveling. Essentially it is about a girl who is having a meltdown in her twenties about how her life is going. After signing up for an online dating profile she meets this guy who is energetic, fun, free-spirited, and exactly what she needs. Together they embark on a trip for three weeks passing through 8 different countries. The catch? No reservations, no plans, and no baggage. This travelogue reminds me always to venture out of my comfort zone, and to stop worrying about having all of the material comforts that I am used to at home on the road. This book taught me to leave my worries behind and live for the unexpected and fall in love with the journey I am on. I pick it up often when a crisis hits like an unexpected flat tire, or running out of gas in yosemite, to camping in the freezing cold and I need a moment to collect myself before deciding what needs to be done. Sometimes nothing can be done and you just have to enjoy the ride and laugh about it later.

7. The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World

Steve Hely is a television writer and The Office and American Dad his writing is witty, compelling, and brutally honest. But it will make any reader want to reach for their backpack and hit the road. The story follows Hely on his trip from Los Angeles to the bottom of South America. We travel through jungles, ancient ruins, cities, remote beaches, coffee plantations, and mountains. I read this book at first to gain ideas for a future trip, but after finishing it I feel in love because of the stories, adventures, oddities, and history that was collected. Through this book you can see the importance of travel, of meeting new people, of opening up your mind to different cultures, and customs, and seeing the world through non-judgemental eyes. It’s a wonderful way to remember the purpose for your long car ride, and to give you the courage necessary to approach a stranger and start a conversation. It’s about building relationships, communicating with others, and realizing how courageous you really are.

I hope you enjoyed my list. There are of course many many more wonderful books and guides out there that will keep you inspired as you put more miles on your car. These are my top. They make me laugh, cry, and yearn to spread my own travel tales. They affirm that the best creative ideas come from the situations you least expect and forget to plan for.

Happy Travels!

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