As I was going through my Goodreads List to see what books I can recall that have adventure stories, I got more books than I bargained for. In real life, my travel has been limited to a few neighboring cities and states, only once did I fly off to Russia, and all those trips were family vacations, But through books, I was able to experience a lot of different adventures; one had me traveling to Chinese version of hell, others I experienced took me to Alaskan Islands about seven thousand years ago, travel through Texas in 1500s, traveling through different countries in Southeast Asia, and so forth. Curious to read more? Here are my favorite adventure stories that involve travel and character growth. Also a quick note: I'm a really big fan of Historical fiction, thus a lot of my recommendations will involve history, and many will also involve strong women heroines.
The Same Sky-Debbie Yee Lan Wong
First of all its a true story about a Canadian born Chinese young woman who recently broke up with her boyfriend and in order to try to get over him and what happened that last night between them, she travels to three different countries in Southeast Asia, namely Tibet, Laos and Cambodia. Along the way she meets people who cause her to question herself and help her move on from the break up. What impressed me the most about the story is how the writing and descriptions feel alive as if you really are there with her experiencing the tastes and sounds of Southeast Asia as well as the atmosphere and the people. Along with the vivid descriptions,the book imparts a lot of important lessons such as the fact that even if we travel alone, we will not be alone for long because there will be other people making the journey to the same destination. Also, travel and experience can be very healing, and lets also not underestimate it.
In Texas in 1500s, Teresa is a half Native American/half Spanish girl who happens to be the daughter of Cabeza de Vaca. After journeying with her father, her father makes a decision to leave her at a house as a servant while he takes off, thus Teresa grows up there. However soon enough, she makes a decision to travel and uses her gifts to take care of her two companions, a boy that becomes a jaguar and a war horse. The lessons that the story taught me is that companions come in unexpected places and sometimes not what you would expect, to be true to one's self , and that purpose of a journey can change from one thing to another.
Angels at the Gate-T.K Thorne
During biblical time in Middle East, about 3,000 years ago, Adira is a young girl who is forced to disguise herself as a boy due to her father's profession as a traveling merchant. Shortly after two strangers from distant lands joined the caravan, her world completely unravels. After some life changing events, she has no choice but to begin her journey on her own, and along the way she greatly matures as she and we through her explore the ancient world of Middle East including Sumeria and Egypt as well as the infamous Sodom and Gomora and what possibly could have happened to them. As with previous books, some of the lessons that really stuck with me is that people are much more stronger than they give themselves credit for, and to use whatever resources you can find.
This story is set in 1800s and is a fictional account of marriage between Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny van de Grift Osborne. I could argue that the entire book is nothing but adventure and travel, from Fanny traveling to Europe where she met the famous Scotsman, to finally marrying him and then having to deal with his ill health and make constant trips to mountains or to different islands in order to help him be better. One could argue that the lesson I got from the book is that one's entire life is an adventure and that not to be afraid of trying out different things, or that there are a lot of different remedies for ailments.
The Mysteries of Udolpho-Ann Radcliffe
This story takes place in 1500s (it originally is written in 1790s by the way,) and is about a young lady Emily St Aubert whose mother has recently passed away. Her father's health begins to decline and in order to help him feel better, she agrees to travel with him from France through Europe. Along the way she meets her true love, enjoys the beauty and nature of scenery and later on after that particular adventure, she also meets a lot of people who help her out as well. The lesson from that book I learned is to savor the moment and one's surroundings, as well as that the real world is much more exciting than television or Internet or computer. I will mention again that the story was written in 1790s, and this particular story has a lot of words that will cause people to look them up, along with odd grammar rules, and the author simply cannot say something in one sentence. It is a worthwhile story to recommend simply for the beauty and imagination that the words invoke in my mind each time I read them.
This story takes place 5,000 years ago in Alaskan Islands, and is about a young girl whose entire tribe was wiped away by a warring tribe known as the "Short Ones". Shortly after attempting to survive on her own, she meets an old man who becomes her adopted grandfather and who does whatever he can for her. However, she soon has no choice but to leave the place that she has known, and she begins to journey with a small group of displaced people who left their home after a volcano erupted and destroyed it. What I learned is that unfortunately will not stay permanently in one's life; they will come and go and each one will impact a person in a different way.
Ghost Bride-Yangsze Choo
In 1890s Malaya, Li Lan is a young woman who is asked to become a "Ghost bride" for a dead boy's family. While trying to make that decision, Li Lan becomes ill and gains a way to explore the Chinese underworld, and as she begins to explore it, she starts to learn a lot of secrets that were hidden from her for a very long time. She also uses a lot of creativity and trickery and relies a lot on people to help her make that journey through the Chinese Underworld. Some lessons I got is that help will be unexpected, travelers depend a lot on other people who are left behind to help them make the journey, and to use one's mind and wits to survive various situations.