8 Books on Femininity, Music & Counter Culture
This is my favorite book of all-time. I carried a hard copy of this baby while on the road in Australia because it was too good to put down. Shantaram is based off a true story of Gregory David Scott, who was Australia’s most wanted man. He escaped Australia’s highest security prison and fled to India, where he assimilated and became a medicine man, healing the people in the slums. He was also a writer, documenting the conversations in ex-pat cafes and day-to-day life along the way. For this reason it’s a tale not only of survival, but of the raw, real, and often undocumented moments on the road. For anyone looking to escape into a different world, Shantaram will take you there.
Gloria Steinem blends history, feminism and the story of her upbringing in this gem of a book. I instantly felt like she gets it when I started reading My Life on the Road. Steinem shares her astute perspective on the way this lifestyle changes you, while weaving in stories about things I never knew about—like stewardesses of the sixties fighting for equal rights and women coming together and organizing in different corners of the world. Mostly, though, it’s her observation and reflection of her life on the road which made me feel totally understood, at ease, and home. This is one of those books you’ll be quoting and underlining and re-reading as you go.
This is the original. As in, this is the book that did it to me—it sparked my leap to Australia after college. Elisabeth Eaves takes us through her journey through Australia after jaunting away from her relationship, home and normal looking life in Seattle. Her writing is detailed and fluid. This story is one that might literally make you pack up your bags and do the thing you never thought you would actually do. And tell a damn good story while doing it.
I remember reading this book the summer before junior year of high school, and getting my first taste of the expat life of the 1920’s. Hemingway takes you through the Basque region of Spain, smoking cigarettes at cafes and conversations amongst bohemian artist friends. This book is a travel classic for me–I think a part of understanding our life on the road now, comes from knowing how it’s always been. Hemingway dips us into the expat world of the roaring twenties, and shows us that the world, the characters, and the canvas we paint, is all timeless.
Honestly anything by Tom Robbins is gold. Skinny Legs and All I have especially good memories of, reading in an artists bungalow loft in Koh Phangan, Thailand over new years. His off-beat novels always take me somewhere, during a time when my mind is opening to different ideas and viewpoints. Skinny Legs and All has the signature Robbin’s slant: quirky, unpredictable and completely ridiculous. But like all of his books, this one has an underlying message of deep wisdom, that may change the way you view the world—and view yourself—forever. Read during a time when everything in my life was changing, this book held a raw transformative impact. “Keep your eye on the ball, even if you can’t see the ball.”
The only thing I’m more obsessed with than the sixties is books written about the sixties. I must’ve been a groupie in a past life. I always thought I was born in the wrong generation, and this book confirmed it. If you want to journey somewhere, and this somewhere is India and England wearing silk with George Harrison and Eric Clapton in their golden days, then read this book. Wonderful Tonight is the behind-the-scenes story of Pattie Boyd, who was married to both Harrison and Clapton. I love her. I remember reading this book over a summer in high school and never listening to Wonderful Tonight the same way again.. Pattie’s story took me into a different time, when love was free, living was easy, fashion was flowing, music was always playing in the background, and people were traveling. It’s a story about love and music, and how these things merged together with the places they traveled and lived.
I’m don’t love her music but her writing is one of my favorites. Patti Smith can write about nothing and make it the most interesting poetic profound something. Just Kids took me into the world of New York in the ‘70s in a way I’de never heard before. I wanted to be there, in the Chelsea Hotel with the whole gang. She exposes the New York that was raw and gritty and real, and a community of artists finding each other along the way, finding wild ways to survive. This story transports you into her world. And it’s a world I didn’t ever want to end.
This book isn’t about travel. More, it’s about an essential element of travel: living in ones truth. For anyone who is looking to hit the road, or secretly and quietly day dreaming about it, but afraid to say anything, or be the person you really are—this one is for you. It’s about the individual quest for true belonging and braving the wilderness of your truth. This book will make you question everything—especially yourself—and give you the research-backed tools to help you do the thing you’re likely most afraid to do: live in your wild truth. See you out there.