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Travelin' women
Kelly Westhoff

by Kelly Westhoff

These travel memoirs written by women are sure to keep your mind traveling while your feet may be (temporarily) planted at home.

Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone by Mary Morris
In many ways, Morris paved the way for today's women writing travel memoirs. "Nothing to Declare" was published in 1988. It recounts Morris' time in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She went there seeking quiet and time to write, which she found. But she also found friendship with Lupe, her next door neighbor. Morris takes many side trips through Mexico and Central America during her stay and often struggles with machismo attitudes and her own emotional scars. This is a classic read for any woman traveling solo.

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman

An unlikely backpacker, Gelman was an out-of-shape, middle-aged woman going through a divorce. She wanted a new life for herself, but didn't exactly know how to achieve it. During a trip to Mexico, that new life took shape: She would travel the world. "Tales of a Female Nomad" is Gelman's account of her 15 years on the road. She makes her way through Central America, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand and more.

Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea by Kira Salak
Salak had guts. She traveled alone to Papua New Guinea where she canoed and walked her way across the island, meeting cannibals, missionaries and shamans. And she met herself. Salak's physical journey turned into an emotional one as she grappled with the reasons why she wanted to travel to Papua New Guinea in the first place. Her account is a fascinating read about a corner of the world that remains largely unknown.

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Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana by Stephanie Elizondo Griest
Greist headed to Moscow at the age of 21 because she wanted to study Russian. She ended up spending four years on the road. She traversed continents and countries, but Russia, China and Cuba are featured most prominently in this travel account. Greist's tale is easy to fall into and full of cultural and linguistic mishaps.

Somebody's Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa by Tanya Shaffer
Shaffer turned down her boyfriend's marriage proposal and went to Africa instead. She traveled to Mali, Kenya and Ghana. In order to travel cheaply, she volunteered in various communities along the way. Her descriptions of the villages she visited and people she met on the road are compelling. Shaffer has chutzpa and it comes through in her writing.

Kelly Westhoff is a traveler, writer and teacher who lives in Plymouth, Minn. Read her travel blog www.kellywesthoff.com/globalroam

What's on your bookshelf?
Send us 450 words about your booklife, plus your list of four to five related books by women authors, to editor@womenspress.com

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