virtuoso communities 6 Must-Read Adventure Travel Books

6 Must-Read Adventure Travel Books

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Whether you’re reading on the plane, diving into a beachside paperback, or armchair traveling, these volumes will spirit you away on globetrotting escapades.

Around the World in 80 Days

Jules Verne’s classic adventure paints a steam-powered portrait of a global circumnavigation that’s dazzlingly fast for its time (and romantically unhurried by modern standards). As the plot unfolds, a dour British gentleman, his French valet/sidekick, a rescue­­d Indian love interest, and a Scotland Yard detective battle outsized obstacles as they make their way across continents (and dabble in a bit of time travel).

Cloud Atlas

Consider a story that spans colonial New Zealand, interwar Belgium, 1970s California, 1990s London, a dystopian Korean metropolis, and post-apocalyptic Hawaii. In David Mitchell’s novel, time and place connect via an ingenious thread of reincarnated characters. This thrilling, unsettling tale has a simple act of kindness at its core.

Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer

British writer Richard Holmes travels through Europe retracing the paths of Romantic writers he meticulously chronicled in his academic career, including Robert Louis Stevenson and Mary Wollstonecraft. This book beautifully unites memoir with callouts to nineteenth-century novels such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped.

A vintage lithograph captures a scene from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure story, <em>Treasure Island</em>.
A vintage lithograph captures a scene from Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure story, Treasure Island.
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Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World

Two actor pals take a 20,000-mile motorcycle road trip. What could go wrong? Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s two-wheel ride through Europe, Asia, across the Bering Strait, and onward over Canada hooks readers from the first page (in the coastal Siberian town of Magadan), and gets into more detail than the corresponding documentary series. 

The Alchemist

Paul Coelho’s most enduring work takes readers on a journey of the self from Spain to Egypt. The novel about an Andalusian shepherd boy’s quest for obscure treasure at the base of ancient pyramids – foretold in his dreams – continues to inspire readers to reach their highest purpose some 30 years after its original publication.


In this heartfelt memoir, a couple leaves their empty-nest home in search of adventure. Virtuoso Life writer Kim Brown Seely chronicles a daring plan to buy an oversized sailboat, learn to sail it, and chart the Salish Sea in a quest to find the blonde Kermode “spirit bear” in the secluded rainforest of British Columbia.

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