7 Trips From Books That You Can Actually Take, If You're Feeling Adventurous
Most of the time, it is not a good idea to make travel plans based on books. If you see a white rabbit, for instance, it is inadvisable to follow him into his hole and then proceed to drink the unknown substances you find therein. If you discover a hidden kingdom in the back of your wardrobe, you almost certainly shouldn't proceed to conquer it and name yourself the sovereign ruler. And, generally speaking, you should probably not take a year off to travel the world and find yourself unless you are very financially stable. But, from time to time, you might come across a book that actually has a pretty solid travel itinerary, so here are a few of the weird, wild, and beautiful trips from books that you can actually take in real life.
Now, of course, there are many travel stories out there, both fictional and non-fictional. This list covers trips you can take without leaving North America, because if we start road tripping across every continent, we'll be here all day. This list also includes books that have excellent travel advice, but dreadful life advice, so be careful to avoid metaphysical wars, super-flus, and disillusionment with the American Dream as you follow these books across the country and back:
1. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail from ‘Wild’
Wild is Cheryl Strayed's powerful, breathtaking memoir about hitting rock bottom and subsequently deciding to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail... with no training whatsoever. You don't have to do the rock bottom part, and this definitely isn't a trek for the completely inexperienced hiker. But if you enjoy the outdoors, sleeping under the stars, and re-living moments from your favorite books, then you can follow Strayed's path from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State (or, you know, a much smaller part of it).
2. Visit the House on the Rock from ‘American Gods’
There are many trips from American Gods that you can't quite replicate. It might be difficult to find a cab driving djinni or to visit the underworld. But you can go and see the bizarre roadside attraction near Spring Green, Wisconsin, known as The House on the Rock. It's an impressive, confusing building filled with sea monsters, mannequins, a giant carousel, and all the other strange exhibits as described in the novel (but probably no gods at the moment).
3. Travel the Michigan Coast from ‘Station Eleven’
You don't have to wait for the apocalypse to follow the trail of the Traveling Symphony from Station Eleven. In the book, a band of performers travels up and down the Michigan coast, bringing their music and Shakespeare plays to the remnants of human civilization. In real life, you can travel by car and enjoy the scenery without worrying about catching a super-flu.
4. Chase the American Dream from ‘The Wangs vs. The World’
No road trip book list is complete without the classic "hilarious, dysfunctional family journeys across the country" story. In The Wangs vs. The World, the formerly wealthy Wangs have just lost everything in the financial crash, and so they're traveling from Bel-Air to upstate New York (by way of New Orleans and North Carolina) to collect all their wayward children and start anew. For your own California-to-New-York trip, though, you might want to leave the family drama behind.
5. Check Out Avonlea from ‘Anne of Green Gables’
Anne of Green Gables kicks off the beloved children's series with Anne, our plucky red-headed orphan, arriving at the beautiful community of Avonlea on Prince Edward's Island in Canada. Sure, she's not exactly road tripping so much as seeking refuge from her abusive foster parents—but you can still visit a replica of Anne's idyllic Avonlea in real life, too.
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6. Investigate Historical Murder Sites with ‘Assassination Vacation’
Nothing says "fun family vacation" like the site of a political assassination! Allow hysterical historian and Assassination Vacation author Sarah Vowell to guide you through some of America's most grisly (and patriotic?) places, on an upsetting journey from Buffalo to Alaska. If you enjoy history and true crime, this is the ideal trip for you. If not... then here are a few are several spots to steer clear of.
7. Hop on your bike with ‘Flaming Iguanas’
You don't have to own a motorcycle to follow the trail of Flaming Iguanas... but you'll look a whole lot cooler if you do. If you're feeling really ambitious, you can even ride from New Jersey to California with Tomato Rodriguez, in search of love and the perfect post office. Make sure to collect mason jars and vintage rubber stamps as you travel, though, because that's the only way to live your best Flaming Iguanas life.