23 Epic Outdoor Adventure Books Really Loved by Women

Inside: A comprehensive book list of non-fiction and fiction outdoor adventure books written by women for women.

Sillhouette of woman reading a book outdoors

Books are my escape. Whether I’m at home dreaming of my next adventure or out on the road, enjoying one, a perfect outdoor adventure book sparks my imagination. The best books have me exclaiming anywhere from, “YES! I want to do that!” to “Wow, I’m glad she did that, so I don’t have to.” Sometimes living vicariously through an author is the best option- especially when they head to frigid places (I don’t do cold).

Women love adventure, at least many of us do. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough outdoor adventure books written by and for women. Good outdoor adventure books featuring women are hard to find.

To remedy this problem, I’ve put together the ultimate female-centric outdoor adventure booklist so you can find the perfect book for you – or the perfect book gift for your special someone.

Many of the list’s books are memoirs and cover everything from through-hiking the Appalachian Trail, horseback riding across America, sailing the open seas, to climbing sheer rock faces. Just about every outdoor venue is covered. A few books on the list are fictional, with women protagonists on crazy wild outdoor adventures.

All but one book is woman-authored. The sole male-authored, male-centric adventure is Apsley Cherry-Girard’s The Worst Journey in the World. It’s included because, in my opinion, it’s absolutely the best outdoor adventure book ever written, irrespective of gender. You FEEL the Antarctic cold in some passages. It was this book that sealed the deal for me – I am not going on an Antarctic adventure. But you may read the book and think, “Book me a ticket to Tierra del Fuego – NOW!”

How these outdoor adventure books were chosen

This list is pulled together from my favorite reads, as well as recommendations from women I trust. Many of the books are available in audio as well as print and ebook formats. I include links to Amazon, or if you prefer shopping from my online indie bookshop, follow the Bookshop.org link.

Give yourself the gift of a book today – or give your favorite woman outdoor adventure lover a book. She’ll thank you.

Scroll down to the bottom of the list for a free printable version of the list. It’s handy to take with you to the library or shopping.

Memoir

She Explores, Narrative Collection

My notes: I love this inspirational collection of narratives from a diverse collection of woman explorers. Many are artists and the book includes examples of their talent. My son gave me this book as a gift when I retired in 2019. He knows me well.


She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild by Gale Straub
Published by Chronicle Books on March 26, 2019
Pages: 240
Goodreads

A collection of stories that inspires unforgettable adventure.
Beautiful, empowering and exhilarating: She Explores is a spirited celebration of female bravery and courage, and an inspirational companion for any woman who wants to travel the world on her own terms. Combining breathtaking travel photography with compelling personal narratives, She Explores shares the stories of 40 diverse women on unforgettable journeys in nature: women who live out of vans, trucks, and vintage trailers, hiking the wild, cooking meals over campfires, and sleeping under the stars. Women biking through the countryside, embarking on an unknown road trip, or backpacking through the outdoors with their young children in tow.Complementing the narratives are practical tips and advice for women planning their own trips, including preparing for a solo hike, must-haves for a road-trip kitchen, planning ahead for unknown territory, and telling your own story.A visually stunning and emotionally satisfying collection for any woman craving new landscapes and adventure.Gale Straub is the founder of She-Explores.com, a media platform for curious, creative women who love travel and outdoor adventure.For any woman who has ever been called outdoorsy... or who wants to be.
Beautiful, empowering, and exhilarating, She Explores will inspire even the most outdoor-averse woman to connect with the landscape, take a leap of faith and find her tribe. Makes a wonderful birthday, graduation, or new going away gift for an adventurous woman.Great coffee table book to spark conversation about travel and exploration.

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Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback


      
Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback by Bernice Ende
Published by Farcountry Press on June 27, 2018
Pages: 224
Goodreads

Riding 2,000 miles on horseback from Montana to New Mexico sounds like a crazy but thrilling dream or pure hardship and exhaustion. According to Bernice Ende, the trip was all that and more. Since swinging her leg over the saddle for that first long ride in 2005 (at the age of 51), Ende has logged more than 29,000 miles in the saddle, crisscrossing North America on horseback - alone. More than once she has traversed the Great Plains, the Southwest deserts, the Cascade Range, and the Rocky Mountains. Along the way, she discovered a sense of community and love of place that unites people wherever they live. From 2014-2016, she was the first person to ride coast to coast and back again in one trek, winning acclaim from the international Long Riders' Guild and awe from the people she met along the way. Saddle up and come along for the journey of a lifetime.

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The Woman on the Mountain


The Woman on the Mountain by Sharyn Munro
Published by Exisle Publishing on August 15, 2015
Pages: 272
Goodreads

Living alone on a remote mountain in the harsh Australian bush would not be every woman's choice. In fact, Sharyn Munro has so often been asked, 'Why do you live there?' that she decided to write a book as her answer. The Woman on The Mountain is the resulting lyrically written account of her journey towards a sustainable and truly rewarding lifestyle in her beloved mountain forests, where she has 'only' the abundant wildlife for company. That decades-long journey was no smooth, planned passage, but a stumble over setbacks, propelled by almost accidental decisions. After the ups and downs of relationships, single parenting, and an unlikely variety of jobs, at 55 she found herself alone -- in the bush. Unsure whether she could manage the hard work and mechanical demands of a self-sufficient lifestyle, she nevertheless gave it a go -- and mostly succeeded

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Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks


Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks by Andrea Lankford
Published by FalconGuides on April 2, 2010
Pages: 256
Goodreads

The real stories behind the scenery of America’s national parks
 For twelve years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes.
 Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it.
 In this graphic and yet surprisingly funny account of her and others’ extraordinary careers, Lankford unveils a world in which park rangers struggle to maintain their idealism in the face of death, disillusionment, and the loss of a comrade killed while holding that thin green line between protecting the park from the people, the people from the park, and the people from each other. Ranger Confidential is the story behind the scenery of the nation’s crown jewels—Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smokies, Denali. In these iconic landscapes, where nature and humanity constantly collide, scenery can be as cruel as it is redemptive.

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The Source of All Things: A Memoir


The Source of All Things: A Memoir by Tracy Ross
Published by Free Press on February 21, 2012
Pages: 320
Goodreads

Tracy Ross never knew her biological father, who died after a brain aneurysm when she was still an infant. So when her mother married Donnie, a gregarious man with an all-wheel-drive jeep and a love of hiking, four-year-old Tracy was ecstatic to have a father figure in her life. A loving and devoted step-father, Donnie introduced Tracy’s family to the joys of fishing, deer hunting, camping, and hiking among the most pristine mountains of rural Idaho. Donnie was everything Tracy dreamed a dad would be—protective, brave, and kind. But when his dependence on his eight-year-old daughter’s companionship went too far, everything changed.
Once Donnie’s nighttime visits began, Tracy’s childhood became a confusing blend of normal little girl moments and the sickening, secret invasion of her safety. Tormented by this profound betrayal, Tracy struggled to reconcile deeply conflicting feelings about her stepfather: on the one hand, fear and loathing, on the other hand, the love any daughter would have for her father. It was not until she ran away from home as a teenager that her family was forced to confront the abuse—and it tore them apart.
At sixteen, realizing that she must take control of her own future, Tracy sent herself to boarding school and began the long slow process of recovery. There, in the woods of Northern Michigan, Tracy felt called back to the natural world she had loved as a child. Over the next twenty years, the mountains and rivers of North America provided Tracy with strength, confidence, comfort, and inspiration. From trekking through the glaciers of Alaska to guiding teenagers through the deserts of Utah, Tracy pushed herself to the physical limit on her way to becoming whole again. Yet, as she came into her own, found love, and even started a family, Tracy realized that in order to truly heal she had to confront her stepfather about the demons from the past haunting them both. The Source of All Things is a stunning, unforgettable story about a wounded daughter, her stepfather, and a mistake that has taken thirty years and thousands of miles of raw wilderness to reconcile. Only Tracy can know if Donnie is forgivable. But one thing is for certain: In no other story of abuse does a survivor have as much strength, compassion, bravery, and spirit as Tracy displays in The Source of All Things

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Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback


Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson
Published by Vintage on May 30, 1995
Pages: 288
Goodreads

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
Robyn Davidson's opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company with the following words: “I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there's no going back."
Enduring sweltering heat, fending off poisonous snakes and lecherous men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson emerges as an extraordinarily courageous heroine driven by a love of Australia's landscape, an empathy for its indigenous people, and a willingness to cast away the trappings of her former identity. Tracks is the compelling, candid story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation. 
“An unforgettably powerful book.”—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
Now with a new postscript by Robyn Davidson.

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Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World


Climbing Free: My Life in the Vertical World by Lynn Hill, Greg Child
Published by W. W. Norton Company on May 17, 2003
Pages: 288
Goodreads

From the age of thirteen when she began climbing, it was clear Lynn Hill had an unusual gift. Before long she was arguably the best rock climber in the world, establishing routes so bold and difficult that few others could follow. And in 1994, Lynn succeeded on a climb that no one—man or woman—has been able to repeat: the first "free ascent" of the Nose on Yosemite's El Capitan, which means that she climbed 3,000 feet of vertical granite without using gear to aid her ascent—and all in under twenty-three hours. In Climbing Free Hill describes her famous climb and meditates on how she harnesses the strength and the courage to push herself to such extremes. She tells of her near-fatal 80-foot fall, her youth as a stunt artist for Hollywood, her friendships with climbing's most colorful personalities, and the tragedies and triumphs of her life in the vertical world. More than merely a story of adventure, this book stands out as a genuine, singular account of a life richly and boldly lived.

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Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide


Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide by Jill Homer
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on May 25, 2011
Pages: 350
Goodreads

Jill is an unassuming recreational cyclist who has about as much in common with Lance Armstrong as she does with Michael Jordan. But despite her perceived athletic mediocrity, the newspaper editor from Alaska harbors an outlandish ambition: the "world's toughest mountain bike race," a 2,740-mile journey from Canada to Mexico along the rugged spine of the Rocky Mountains.
A race of that magnitude demands a daunting training plan, which Jill aspires to until she literally breaks the ice on a frozen lake in the Alaska wilderness. Serious frostbite proves to only be the beginning in a series of setbacks that threaten to change her dream from outlandish to impossible. But, as Jill explains to a skeptical friend, "The fact that something’s impossible has never been a good reason not to try."
"Be Brave, Be Strong," is the true story of an adventure driven relentlessly forward as foundations crumble. This is a brutally honest account of one woman's incredible journey and simple discovery — to take on the world's toughest mountain bike race, one doesn't have to be the world's toughest woman. Not even close.

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Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios


Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon's Relentless Madre de Dios by Holly Conklin FitzGerald
Published by Vintage on May 30, 2017
Pages: 336
Goodreads

Holly FitzGerald and her husband, Fitz—married less than two years—set out on a yearlong honeymoon adventure of a lifetime, backpacking around the world. Five months into the trip, their plane crash-lands in Peru at a penal colony walled in by jungle, and their blissfully romantic journey turns into a terrifying nonstop labyrinth of escape and survival.
On a small, soon-ravaged raft that quickly becomes their entire universe through dangerous waters alive with deadly animals and fish, their only choice: to continue on despite the rush of insects swarming them by day, the sounds of encroaching predators at night. Without food or means of communication, with no one to hear their cries for help or on a search-and-rescue expedition to find them, the author and her husband make their way, fighting to conquer starvation and navigate the brute force of the river, their only hope for survival, in spite of hunger and weakening resolve, to somehow, miraculously, hang on and find their way east to a large riverside town—before it is too late.

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Swell: Sailing the Pacific in Search of Surf and Self


Swell: Sailing the Pacific in Search of Surf and Self by Liz Clark, Serena Mitnik-Miller
Published by Patagonia on March 13, 2018
Pages: 320
Goodreads

True surfers understand that surfing is not a sport, a hobby or even a lifestyle. Instead, it is a path, a constantly evolving journey that directs where you go, how you live, and who you are.
In 2006, Liz Clark decided to follow the path that surfing, sailing and love of the ocean had presented to her. Embarking on an adventure that most only dream of taking, she set sail from Santa Barbara, solo, headed to the South Pacific. Nine years later she is still following her path in search of surf and self and the beauty and inspiration that lies beyond the beaten path.
In stories overflowing with epic waves and at the whim of the weather, Liz captures her voyage in gripping detail, telling tales of self awareness, solitude, connection to the earth, and really great surf spots.

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Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North


Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North by Blair Braverman
Published by Ecco on March 21, 2017
Pages: 288
Goodreads

Blair Braverman fell in love with the North at an early age: By the time she was nineteen, she had left her home in California, moved to Norway to learn how to drive sled dogs, and worked as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska.
By turns funny and sobering, bold and tender, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube charts Blair’s endeavor to become a “tough girl”—someone who courts danger in an attempt to become fearless. As she ventures into a ruthless arctic landscape, Blair faces down physical exhaustion—being buried alive in an ice cave, and driving a dogsled across the tundra through a whiteout blizzard in order to avoid corrupt police—and grapples with both love and violence as she negotiates the complex demands of being a young woman in a man’s land.
Brilliantly original and bracingly honest, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube captures the triumphs and the perils of the journey to self-discovery and independence in a landscape that is as beautiful as it is unforgiving.

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The Sun Is a Compass: A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds


The Sun Is a Compass: My 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds by Caroline Van Hemert
on February 25, 2020
Pages: 320
Goodreads

For fans of Cheryl Strayed, the gripping story of a biologist's human-powered journey from the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic to rediscover her love of birds, nature, and adventure.
During graduate school, as she conducted experiments on the peculiarly misshapen beaks of chickadees, ornithologist Caroline Van Hemert began to feel stifled in the isolated, sterile environment of the lab. Worried that she was losing her passion for the scientific research she once loved, she was compelled to experience wildness again, to be guided by the sounds of birds and to follow the trails of animals.
In March of 2012, she and her husband set off on a 4,000-mile wilderness journey from the Pacific rainforest to the Alaskan Arctic, traveling by rowboat, ski, foot, raft, and canoe. Together, they survived harrowing dangers while also experiencing incredible moments of joy and grace -- migrating birds silhouetted against the moon, the steamy breath of caribou, and the bond that comes from sharing such experiences.
A unique blend of science, adventure, and personal narrative, The Sun is a Compass explores the bounds of the physical body and the tenuousness of life in the company of the creatures who make their homes in the wildest places left in North America. Inspiring and beautifully written, this love letter to nature is a lyrical testament to the resilience of the human spirit.
Winner of the 2019 Banff Mountain Book Competition: Adventure Travel

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A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains

My notes: I loved reading this compilation of letters from a Victorian-era woman explorer. You can read my full review here.


A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains: One Woman's Travels Through the Rockies of Colorado and Wyoming in the 1870s by Isabella Lucy Bird
Published by Lulu.com on August 9, 2018
Pages: 116
Goodreads

This evocative and lively travelogue by Isabella L. Bird lifts the veil of the culture of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains as it was in the 1870s. We find in this classic travel book an authentic and eloquent portrayal of the beautiful peaks and breath-taking landscapes of rural North America. Braving the craggy landscape on horseback and on foot, the author manages to conquer some of the area's most awe-inspiring ranges, while also observing life in several settlements and towns around the state of Colorado. The sheer toughness of the author shines through each of her letters. Her descriptions do not flinch from accuracy, as she notes the sub-zero temperatures, fierce drafts of wind, and other perils of the untamed landscape. Most notably of all however is Isabella Bird's steely determination and doggedness in confronting, and surmounting, the Rocky Mountains.

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Walking to the End of the World


Walking to the End of the World: A Thousand Miles on the Camino de Santiago by Beth Jusino
Published by Mountaineers Books on October 1, 2018
Pages: 256
Goodreads

In April 2015, Beth and Eric Jusino, laden with backpacks and nerves, walked out of a cathedral in the historic village of Le Puy, France, down a cobblestone street, and turned west. Seventy-nine days, a thousand miles, two countries, two mountain ranges, and three pairs of shoes later, they reached the Atlantic Ocean.
More than two million pilgrims have walked the Way of Saint James, a long-distance hiking trail familiar to most Americans by its Spanish name, the Camino de Santiago. Each pilgrim has their own reason for undertaking the journey. For the Jusinos, it was about taking a break from the relentless pace of modern life and getting away from all their electronic devices. And how hard could it be, Beth reasoned, to walk twelve to fifteen miles a day, especially with the promise of real beds and local wine every night? Simple.
It turned out to be harder than she thought. Beth is not an athlete, not into extreme adventures, and, she insists, not a risk-taker. She didn't speak a word of French when she set out, and her Spanish was atrocious. But she can tell a story. In Walking to the End of the World, she shares, with wry humor and infectious enthusiasm, the joys and travails of undertaking such a journey. She evocatively describes the terrain and the route’s history, her fellow pilgrims, and the villages passed, and the unexpected challenges and charms of the experience.
Beth’s story is also about the assurance that an outdoor-based, boundary-stretching adventure is accessible to even the most unlikely of us. In her story, readers will feel that they, too, can get off their comfortable couches and do something unexpected and even spectacular.
Walking to the End of the World is a warm-hearted and engaging story about an average couple going on an adventure together, tracing ancient paths first created in the tenth and eleventh centuries, paths that continue to inspire and reveal surprises to us today in the twenty-first.

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Biography

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

My notes: I read this book a few years back, and it remains one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever read. Imagine heading out with virtually no planning, in Keds, and through-hiking the AT – when you are over 60 years old!


Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery, Patrick Lawlor
Published by Chicago Review Press on April 1, 2016
Pages: 288
Goodreads

Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, sixty-seven-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. By September 1955 she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin, sang “America, the Beautiful,” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”
            Driven by a painful marriage, Grandma Gatewood not only hiked the trail alone, she was the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times. At age seventy-one, she hiked the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail. Gatewood became a hiking celebrity, and appeared on TV with Groucho Marx and Art Linkletter. The public attention she brought to the trail was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction.
            Author Ben Montgomery interviewed surviving family members and hikers Gatewood met along the trail, unearthed historic newspaper and magazine articles, and was given full access to Gatewood’s own diaries, trail journals, and correspondence. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk shines a fresh light on one of America’s most celebrated hikers. 

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If you want some more inspirational memoirs and biographies written by or about remarkable women, check this book list out.

Historical Fiction

The Whip


The Whip by Karen Kondazian
on January 1, 2012
Pages: 294
Goodreads

The Whip is inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst (1812-1879) who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west.
As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the killer.
Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. She killed a famous outlaw, had a secret love affair, and lived with a housekeeper who, unaware of her true sex, fell in love with her.Charley was the first woman to vote in America (as a man). Her grave lies in Watsonville, California.

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Heresy


Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt
Published by Redhook on October 2, 2018
Pages: 467
Goodreads

They were the first and only all-female gang in the American West. Though the newspapers refuse to give them credit, their exploits don't go unnoticed. Now, they've got a rival male gang on their trail and an old score to settle.
Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to turn outlaw.
After being run off their ranch by a greedy cattleman, their family is left destitute. As women alone they have few choices: marriage, lying on their backs for money, or holding a gun. For Margaret and Hattie the choice is simple. With their small makeshift family, the gang pulls off a series of heists across the West.
Though the newspapers refuse to give the female gang credit, their exploits don't go unnoticed. Pinkertons are on their trail, a rival male gang is determined to destroy them, and secrets among the group threaten to tear them apart. Now, Margaret and Hattie must find a way to protect their family, finish one last job, and avoid the hangman's noose.
For more from Melissa Lenhardt, check out:
The Sawbones SeriesSawbonesBlood OathBadlands

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Daughter of Fortune

My notes: This book revealed a unique perspective on women and the California Gold Rush. It’s one of my favorites to listen to while exploring the state. I love matching up my books and travel destinations. To see more of my California set books click here.


Daughter of Fortune: A Novel by Isabel Allende
Published by HarperVia on June 30, 2020
Pages: 496
Goodreads

“Allende has created a masterpiece of historical fiction that is passionate, adventurous, and brilliantly insightful. . . . suspenseful and surprising.”—Denver Post
From the revered New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits and A Long Petal of the Sea comes a passionate tale of one young woman's quest to save her lover, set against the chaos, greed, and promise of the 1849 California Gold Rush.
Raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, English orphan Eliza Sommers meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk with ambitious dreams. When gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. Chileans, including Joaquín, head north to seek their fortune. Eliza, pregnant with Joaquín’s child, leaves behind everything she knows to follow her lover. 
In the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco, Eliza must navigate a society dominated by greedy men. But with the help of her natural spirit and a good friend, Chinese doctor Tao Chi’en, Eliza soon comes to discover that her search for love has become a quest of personal freedom.

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Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival

My notes: One of my book clubs read this book, written by a notable indigenous author and we had so much to talk about. We are all older women and this book gets right to the heart of aging. I wrote about it in more detail here.


Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis
Published by Harper Perennial on November 5, 2013
Pages: 160
Goodreads

Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine.
Though these women have been known to complain more than contribute, they now must either survive on their own or die trying. In simple but vivid detail, Velma Wallis depicts a landscape and way of life that are at once merciless and starkly beautiful. In her old women, she has created two heroines of steely determination whose story of betrayal, friendship, community, and forgiveness "speaks straight to the heart with clarity, sweetness, and wisdom" (Ursula K. Le Guin).

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General Fiction

Allie and Bea

My notes: I’m not sure this book fits the literal description of an outdoor adventure book, BUT – it is about an old woman living in a van, so it just HAD to be included. Just saying.


Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Published by Lake Union Publishing on May 23, 2017
Pages: 342
Goodreads

Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.
When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.
Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.
Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins

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Not Quite On Topic

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding


What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
Published by Crown Publishing Group (NY) on May 20, 2014
Pages: 291
Goodreads

A funny, sexy, and ultimately poignant memoir about mastering the art of the "vacationship."
Kristin Newman spent much of her twenties and thirties buying dresses to wear to her friends' weddings and baby showers. Not ready to settle down and in need of an escape from her fast-paced job as a sitcom writer, Kristin instead traveled the world, often alone, for several weeks each year. In addition to falling madly in love with the planet, Kristin fell for many attractive locals, men who could provide the emotional connection she wanted without costing her the freedom she desperately needed. Kristin introduces readers to the Israeli bartenders, Finnish poker players, sexy Bedouins, and Argentinean priests who helped her transform into "Kristin-Adjacent" on the road–a slower, softer, and, yes, sluttier version of herself at home.
Equal parts laugh-out-loud storytelling, candid reflection, and wanderlust-inspiring travel tales, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding is a compelling debut that will have readers rushing to renew their passports.

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The Worst Journey in the World


The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Caroline Alexander
Published by Penguin Classics on February 28, 2006
Pages: 640
Goodreads

The Worst Journey in the World recounts Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of Scott's team and one of three men to make and survive the notorious Winter Journey, draws on his firsthand experiences as well as the diaries of his compatriots to create a stirring and detailed account of Scott's legendary expedition. Cherry himself would be among the search party that discovered the corpses of Scott and his men, who had long since perished from starvation and brutal cold. It is through Cherry's insightful narrative and keen descriptions that Scott and the other members of the expedition are fully memorialized.

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It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War


It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario
Published by Penguin Books on June 28, 2016
Pages: 368
Goodreads

“An unflinching memoir . . . [that] offers insight into international events and the challenges faced by the journalists who capture them.” —The Washington Post
War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.
Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She decides to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself.   Addario finds a way to travel with a purpose. She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.   As a woman photojournalist determined to be taken as seriously as her male peers, Addario fights her way into a boys’ club of a profession. Rather than choose between her personal life and her career, Addario learns to strike a necessary balance. In the man who will become her husband, she finds at last a real love to complement her work, not take away from it, and as a new mother, she gains an all the more intensely personal understanding of the fragility of life.   Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of societies. It’s What I Do is more than just a snapshot of life on the front lines; it is witness to the human cost of war.

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That’s a wrap – get your printable booklist

That’s the list folks. I hope you find a book on this list that sparks your wanderlust for outdoor adventure – vicarious or real. I’m reading It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. If I had another life to live, I think I would be a photojournalist. How about you?

If you like a printable list to keep handy click on the button – you won’t be asked for anything, the link takes you straight to the list.

If you do enjoy this list and want to receive more, in addition to updates on van-travel and more, please consider subscribing to my occasional (2-4 times/month) email. Then you’ll never miss out.

Finally – I love hearing from my readers. If you have suggestions for additional outdoor adventure books women will love, let us know in a comment below.

Until next time – Cheers!

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