Hi Frugalistas! What inspired you to travel? Was it a picture, a film or the stories of friends? A family member who brought back exotic souvenirs, photos and tales? My own inspiration started when I was young child – I was a reader, and it has always been books that have influenced and inspired me the most. I’d love to share my inspiration with you:
1. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I discovered the Little House on the Prairie series long before the television series of the same name came on the air. As a child growing up in the inner city of Melbourne, Australia, Laura’s stories of freedom traveling the prairies in a wagon in mid nineteenth century America was not just exotic, it appeared to be like something from another planet. I read those books over and over, and still remember the story of dear Mr Edwards crossing the prairie in the middle of a blizzard at Christmas to bring a single piece of taffy each to Laura and her sisters, the attack of the blackbirds on the corn field in South Dakota and the endless chores those girls seemed to do. I’ve always had a hankering to visit South Dakota – I’m sure I’ll get there one day to gaze upon that prairie.
2. My mother’s old school atlas
Remember before Google maps, we had atlases? As a child we had my mother’s old school atlas at home – complete with the old colonial country names, and the countries of the British Empire (of which Australia had then been part) all marked in pink. I spent hours pouring over those old pages looking at countries, their capital cities and their major cities’ exotic names. I longed to visit out of the way places in Australia initially – I distinctly remember having a bit of a fixation with Oodnadatta (look it up!), then later with isolated and bizarre places in Siberia. Given my distinct lack of affection for heat and my ongoing obsession with flushing loos, I’m not sure what I was thinking but I like to think it was about the freedom to stretch my boundaries and to dream – my little world could be much bigger!
3. Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves
I discovered Rick Steves through his TV shows (shown on pay TV from time to time in Australia). I loved the idea that you could travel independently without backpacking, without spending a fortune and that you could take control and do it all yourself. This was a bit of revelation to me – even though I had traveled quite a lot by this stage. When I discovered Rick’s book of what he calls “travel skills” (as that is what they are), I knew I had found my blueprint for how I wanted to travel. I initially followed them, then refined them to better suit my own needs, and love Rick for it. While this particular book, like all of Rick’s, are based on traveling to Europe, his lessons and philosophy work equally well anywhere in the world. It’s really Rick’s book who has led me to this place today, which gives me a lot to be thankful for.
4. Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman
I lerve this book so much! I read it during a trip to Europe, and deliberately slowed myself down as I never wanted it to finish. Rita’s story is inspiring, the places she visits are so interesting and it is just so well written. What Rita teaches the reader is that comfort zones are just constructs of the mind – that can be overcome. I like to think of this as the thinking woman’s Eat Pray Love (with no offence to Elizabeth Gilbert. I do like her book too). If you’ve read and felt inspired by Eat Pray Love I thoroughly recommend Tales of a Female Nomad – whether you are a man or woman!
What all these books have in common is a sense of freedom – freedom roaming the prairie, the freedom to travel to the ends of the world, the freedom to stay as long in any place of the writer’s choosing and the freedom to travel without being weighed down. So is it any wonder these are the books that have inspired me?
What inspires you to travel?
Photos: as credited