There are all kinds of travel guides out there, for specific destinations, themed travel such as beach vacations, traveling with children, sojourns for baby boomers and the list goes on. But there are also those that speak more to your soul rather than to a specific thing to see or do.

Following are just a few such travel guides that provide heart-touching insights into why travel speaks to many of us well beyond words.

“Attractive Unattractive Americans: How the World Sees America”

It may seem to be stating the obvious to say that everything you believe comes from your perspective. And when it comes to travel—primarily where and why—that is especially true.

Although we as Americans often proclaim that we live “in the greatest country on Earth,” it’s worth asking the question: What does rest of the world think about America?

Part travelogue, part social essay, “Attractive Unattractive Americans: How the World Sees America” by Rene Zografos is an up-close and personal exploration of politics, philosophy, culture and the American Dream. The book was seven years in the making—the amount of time that Zografos took to interview denizens from all seven continents “to pen the definitive guide to the USA’s global reputation,” he says.

Zografos’ scope is wide and deep, evidenced in chapters such as “Spoiled American Kids,” “Greetings from Canada,” “Five Americans on Manhattan, New York,” “American Rawness” and “Observations from a Vagabond.” Through these pages you’ll learn interesting perspectives about whether people think Americans are attractive, if Americans are liked or disliked when traveling abroad, how Hollywood portrayals of American cities actually measure up to the real thing and if people from other countries really care about what’s going on in the states, among other topics.

“Attractive Unattractive Americans: How the World Sees America” is available at

“The Mystical Backpacker”

“In traveling, you reconnect with your spirit, and when you find your spirit, you find your place in the world. … There is never a perfect time to do this. You will never have the money you think you need. You will never feel brave enough to do it. You always feel like embarking on your journey is something to be planned for, carefully and incrementally—something that someday might be possible far off in the future, but not now. Believe me, you’ve never been so wrong. Now is the time, the only time, and it’s as good a time as any.”

This statement aptly sets the tone for the adventures to come in “The Mystical Backpacker: How to Discover Your Destiny in the Modern World.” Written by Hannah Papp, a self-described spiritual travel guru, the book at first seems to be akin to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” but further exploration reveals that the target audience, if you will, of this book is actually a modern traveler seeking a more meaningful excursion, as well as one setting out on their his or her spiritual pilgrimage.

In “The Mystical Backpacker,” Papp embarks upon a three-month journey of self-discovery that started by quitting her job, buying a EuroRail ticket and a map, and flying by the proverbial “seat of her pants.” She also melds those unplanned experiences with great how-tos, practical tips and what she calls “mystical exercises.”

“The Mystical Backpacker: How to Discover Your Destiny in the Modern World” is available at

“The Globetrotter Diaries”

When planning to travel, sound “A-to-Z advice” is always beneficial, such as how to navigate through a foreign country safely, handling flight delays and airport problems, fully immersing yourself in the travel experience without technology and the best tips for using frequent flyer points and booking to get the best rates and flight times.

You’ll learn all of this and more in “The Globetrotter Diaries; Tales, Tips and Tactics for Traveling the 7 Continents.”

Written by globetrotter, author, photographer and Hearst magazine executive Michael Clinton, the book goes beyond the concrete aspects of travel into the more intangible appeal, which he says “allows you to explore the core of your inner soul, to challenge your own beliefs, relationships and spirituality. My life has been a collection of memories and photographs of the many nuances that experiencing even one country can bring.

“We are all responsible for fulfilling our own dreams, mine being to see as much of the world as possible, to learn what I might about myself and about people in general. My travels taught me to understand our differences yet celebrate our similarities. Whatever your dreams, find the globetrotter in you and go in search of them—you might be surprised at the satisfaction that it will bring you.”

Peppered with poignant black-and-white photographs, the book includes chapters such as “Why I Love Terminal 5 at Heathrow.” “The Santa Fe Connection,” “Shanghai: The City of the Future,” “Money Talks in Many Languages,” “I’ll Always Have Namibia” and “Stranded: Part One.”

Lending more credence to the authentic prose inside is the forward by Peter Greenberg, America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist, who shares in the foreword, “Michael Clinton knows that being a real globetrotter is about embracing the passionate pursuit of travel that exists at the threshold of history, arriving at the crossroads of understanding and compassion, and finding yourself at the beginning of the road to true discovery.”

“The Globetrotter Diaries; Tales, Tips and Tactics for Traveling the 7 Continents” is available on

Lysa Allman Baldwin is a freelance writer and the publisher and editor of Amazing Escapades, featuring “adventures for the mind, bod and belly” (