Whether in the mountains of Nepal, the wilds of Alaska, the uncharted terrain of Antarctica, or the remote jungles of Borneo, let your spirit of adventure soar with every page of these true and inspiring stories. Our staff handpicked seven of our favorites that ignite our love for exploration.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

“I first read this in 1978, and appreciated Matthiessen’s writing and his philosophical perspective on the world from his previous books,” says WT Special Events coordinator Ray Rodney. “The Snow Leopard combined my love of the Himalayas with my interest in wildlife and Buddhism.”

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird

“Reading a story of a woman who took things into her own hands over a century ago gave me the courage to travel myself,” says WT graphic designer Shannon Hastings. “I explored Ecuador and Peru after reading this book, and upon returning, decided to pursue a career in the travel industry—specifically a tour operator for adventure travel.”

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

“While it’s not exactly a travel book, Mountains Beyond Mountains is an inspiring read set in different cultures,” says WT accountant Shawn Oda. “The book follows the incredible story of Dr. Paul Farmer and his vision to create sustainable health systems in Haiti, as well as fight price gouging by pharmaceutical companies, and ultimately to care for patients and heal them.”

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild is one part investigative journalism, one part travel writing, and one part creative prose,” says WT marketing content manager Kirstina Motamedi. “I first read this in college, and again a couple of years ago. McCandless’s life was a portrait of the adventurous spirit, but also a reminder that our experiences are better when shared with others.”

Endurance by Alfred Lansing

“I read this my senior year of college,” says WT area specialist Dana Walsh. “One of the main themes of the book is the resiliency of man. I was facing down graduation and the uncertainty of what comes after, and it really helped put life in perspective! This book will reset your standards on what humans are capable of, whether that’s surviving in the Antarctic or making a big life change.”

McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy

McCarthy’s Bar is the funniest travel book I’ve ever read. It brings to light life in Cork and Kerry, Ireland, with Pete McCarthy’s typical Irish dry wit,” says WT photo editor Brian McGilloway. “I read the book in 2003 while flying to Dublin with WT and visited the places he traveled. In years since, I’ve purchased several copies as gifts.”

The Last Wild Men of Borneo by Carl Hoffman

“In my search for more case studies of indigenous cultures, I stumbled upon this book,” says WT area specialist Jenny Gowan, “and while it wasn’t what I was looking for, I was nonetheless intrigued. It elevates indigenous cultures from mere vestiges to architects of human evolution, and reminded me that civilizations are never really lost, as their imprint on societies can be found in everything from art to politics.”

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