Wanderful’s Conscious Traveler Reading Club is a community-led reading and discussion circle for our Wanderful members to be better informed and educated on how to be a more conscious traveler.
Each month, we read and discuss a fiction or non-fiction book or reading centered around any number of topics that make us more conscious travelers. These topics include ethical travel, social impact, anti-racism, racial justice, and the experiences and worldviews of other marginalized communities.
This group is intended for anyone working to be better informed and educated on critical issues around being a better traveler.
You can expect a safe space with an open and honest conversation among women who want to learn and improve. These meetings are never recorded in order to respect privacy.
We highly recommend you catch up on all our Conscious Traveler Reading Club books. And, since this is an ongoing event series for all Wanderful members, we would love to have you join us!
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Check out all the books on our Bookshop.org Conscious Traveler list!
Destination Wellness: Global Secrets for Better Living Wherever You Are
By Annie Daly
True well-being isn’t hard to find. You just have to know where to look. In this insightful, full-color tour of Jamaica, Norway, Hawai’i, Japan, India, and Brazil, wellness and travel journalist Annie Daly shares a diverse array of philosophies, lifestyles, and practices for better living.
Fed up with the commercialization of the wellness industry after working in it for years, Annie embarked on an inspiring adventure through some of the world’s happiest and healthiest cities and villages to find out what we can learn from them. Whether she’s hiking along gorgeous fjords in Norway to see why Norwegians are so dedicated to getting outside, soothing her spirit with Hawaiian saltwater cleanses, or learning about the importance Brazilians place on community, Annie combines on-the-ground reporting with heartful personal narrative to share the global lessons, philosophies, and customs that prove that wellness is not about the products–it’s about the way you live your life.
With candid photography, lesser-known history sidebars, and guidance on how to incorporate these often ancient and always timeless practices into your own lifestyle, this culturally immersive read invites you to view the world through a different lens and decide what wellbeing means to you.
Destination Wellness is the perfect book for:
- Anyone who has embraced hygge and is looking for new lifestyle inspiration
- Armchair travelers and staycationers
- Happiness and inspiration seekers
- Wellness and travel enthusiasts
- History lovers
Ours to Explore: Privilege, Power, and the Paradox of Voluntourism
By Pippa Biddle
In a 2014 essay that went viral, Pippa Biddle revealed the inequities and absurdities baked into voluntourism–the pairing of short-term, unskilled volunteer work with tourism. In the years since, Biddle has devoted herself to understanding the origins, intentions, and outcomes of a multibillion-dollar industry built on the premise of doing good, and she tracks that investigation in Ours to Explore.
The flaws of voluntourism have included xenophobia, racism, paternalism, and a “West knows best” mentality. From exploitative orphanages that keep children in squalid conditions to attract donors to undertrained medical volunteers practicing their skills on patients in developing regions and to those looking for an inspiring selfie, Biddle reveals the hidden costs of the voluntourism complex. Along the way, readers meet inspiring activists and passionate community members, as well as thoughtful former voluntourists who still work to make a difference–just differently.
Ours to Explore offers a plan for how the service-based travel industry can break the cycle of exploitation and suggests strategies for travelers who want to improve the places they visit for the long haul.
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food
By Jennifer 8. Lee
If you think McDonald’s is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonald’s, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of the Chinese-American experience through the lens of food. In a compelling blend of sociology and history, Jenny Lee exposes the indentured servitude Chinese restaurants expect from illegal immigrant chefs, investigates the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, and weaves a personal narrative about her own relationship with Chinese food.
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles speaks to the immigrant experience as a whole and the way it has shaped our country.
Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights
By Gretchen Sorin
The basis of a major PBS documentary by Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns, this revelatory history shows how the automobile fundamentally changed African American life.
It’s hardly a secret that mobility has always been limited, if not impossible, for African Americans. Before the Civil War, masters confined their slaves to their property, while free black people found themselves regularly stopped, questioned, and even kidnapped. Restrictions on movement before Emancipation carried over, in different forms, into Reconstruction and beyond; for most of the 20th century, many white Americans felt blithely comfortable denying their black countrymen the right to travel freely on trains and buses. Yet it became more difficult to shackle someone who was cruising along a highway at 45 miles per hour.
In Driving While Black, the acclaimed historian Gretchen Sorin reveals how the car―the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility―has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. She recounts the creation of a parallel, unseen world of black motorists, who relied on travel guides, Black-only businesses, and informal communications networks to keep them safe.
At the heart of Sorin’s story is Victor and Alma Green’s famous Green Book, a travel guide begun in 1936, which helped grant black Americans that most basic American rite, the family vacation.
Interwoven with Sorin’s own family history and enhanced by dozens of little-known images, Driving While Black charts how the automobile fundamentally reshaped African American life and opens up an entirely new view onto one of the most important issues of our time.
Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism
By Elizabeth Becker
In this “meticulously reported and often disturbing exposé of the travel industry” (The New York Times Book Review), Elizabeth Becker describes the dimensions of this industry and its huge effect on the world economy, the environment, and our culture.
Employing one out of twelve people in the world, the travel and tourism industry exploded at the end of the Cold War. In 2012 the number of tourists traveling the world reached one billion. Now everything can be packaged as a tour: with the high cost of medical care in the U.S., Americans are booking a vacation and an operation in countries like Turkey for a fraction of the cost at home.
Elizabeth Becker travels the world to take the measure of the business: France invented the travel business and is still its leader; Venice is expiring of over-tourism. In Cambodia, tourists crawl over the temples of Angkor, jeopardizing precious cultural sites. Costa Rica rejected raising cattle for American fast-food restaurants to protect their wilderness for the more lucrative field of eco-tourism.
Becker reveals travel as a product. Seeing the tourism industry from the inside out, through her eyes and ears, we experience a dizzying range of travel options though very few quiet getaways. Her investigation is the first examination of one of the largest and potentially most destructive enterprises in the world.
I Am Malala
By Malala Yousafzai
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.
Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.
I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
By Jenny Odell
In a world where addictive technology is designed to buy and sell our attention, and our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity, it can seem impossible to escape. But in this inspiring field guide to dropping out of the attention economy, artist and critic Jenny Odell shows us how we can still win back our lives.
Odell sees our attention as the most precious—and overdrawn—resource we have. And we must actively and continuously choose how we use it. We might not spend it on things that capitalism has deemed important … but once we can start paying a new kind of attention, she writes, we can undertake bolder forms of political action, reimagine humankind’s role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress.
Far from the simple anti-technology screed, or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book will change how you see your place in our world.
Beyond Guilt Trips
By Dr. Anu Taranath
Every year, hundreds of thousands of young people pack their bags to study or volunteer abroad. Well-intentioned and curious Westerners–brought up to believe that international travel broadens our horizons–travel to low-income countries to learn about people and cultures different from their own. While travel abroad can provide much-needed perspective, it can also be deeply unsettling, confusing, and discomforting. Travelers can find themselves unsure about how to think or speak about the differences in race or culture they find, even though these differences might have fueled their desire to travel in the first place.
In Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World, storyteller Anu Taranath begins at home, unpacking our baggage about who we are, where we come from, and how much we have. She takes us on a journey through engaging personal travel stories and thought-provoking questions, providing us with tools to grapple with our discomfort and navigate differences with accountability and connection. Yes, travel! But be mindful. Be present.
In Every Mirror She’s Black
By Lola Akinmade Åkerström
A timely and arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.
Three Black women are linked in unexpected ways to the same influential white man in Stockholm as they build their new lives in the most open society run by the most private people.
Successful marketing executive Kemi Adeyemi is lured from the U.S. to Sweden by Jonny von Lundin, CEO of the nation’s largest marketing firm, to help fix a PR fiasco involving a racially tone-deaf campaign. A killer at work but a failure in love, Kemi’s move is a last-ditch effort to reclaim her social life.
A chance meeting with Jonny in business class en route to the U.S. propels former model-turned-flight-attendant Brittany-Rae Johnson into a life of wealth, luxury, and privilege–a life she’s not sure she wants–as the object of his unhealthy obsession.
And Somali refugee Muna Saheed, who lost her entire family, finds a job cleaning the toilets at Jonny’s office as she works to establish her residency in Sweden and, more importantly, seeks connection and a place she can call home.
Told through the perspectives of each of the three women, In Every Mirror She’s Black is a fast-paced, richly nuanced yet accessible contemporary novel that touches on important social issues of racism, classism, fetishization, and tokenism, and what it means to be a Black woman navigating a white-dominated society.
Lola Akinmade Åkerström is an African-American (Nigerian-American) award-winning author, speaker, and photographer based in Sweden. This is her first novel.
Sustainable Travel: The essential guide to positive impact adventures
By Holly Tuppen
Sustainable Travel offers practical and achievable advice for those who want to make a difference in the way we experience the world.
Having traveled around the world without flying, sustainability expert Holly Tuppen knows a thing or two about low-carbon and positive-impact adventures. Here, she shares what she’s learned from over a decade of responsible travels. Sustainable Travel will help your trip to be a force for good with information on how to:
- Ask tour operators and accommodations the right questions
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Embrace slow travel
- Pack responsibly
- Benefit the people, cultures, and places you visit
Also included is a guide to regenerative travel experiences, including conservation-minded tours, community-led initiatives, alternative adventures, responsible destinations, and green places to stay. A series of interviews features the experts and unsung heroes of sustainable travel.
With so many of us looking to travel in a more sustainable way, but not sure how to go about it, this comprehensive guide reveals everything you need to know. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to tackle the climate crisis and support nature and people while traveling.
2% of the revenue generated from the sale of this book will be donated to the World Land Trust, an international conservation charity that has funded the protection of over 5,000,000 acres of landscapes.
American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures
By America Ferrera
From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.
America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity.
Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative.
Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all.
Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up.
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