Reading Recommendations From A Bag Lady

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Affiliate disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and will deliver a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase through the links presented. Meredith San Diego only recommends products and services, however, which she genuinely supports and utilizes for her travels.

Words have always fascinated me. In my adolescents, I would often ponder the origin of words, their invention, how they were formulated. Whose jobs was it to construct the alphabet or to decide which letters to string together to formulate a word, then a sentence? And why are there so many words to describe the same thing? My young mind had an innocent thirst for knowledge, literature and the English language. 

Globetrotting has only elevated this esuriency wetting that thirst with a consistent diet of enlightening, empowering and sometimes downright frightening cross-cultural exchanges as nourishment. In the absence of travel, however, my adventurous heart, (and by default) my motivation to put pen to paper – so to speak – is often left wanting. 

When wanderlust tugs at my heart-strings it’s reading that serves as a catalyst to jump-start my creativity. I can get lost for hours, nose-deep in an intriguing read, when an author invites me to bring an atmosphere, character or emotion to life from well-strung together sentences. In between adventures (and books) I habitually return to three adventure-full titles that whisper tranquilities to my deep-rooted sense of adventure. 

These three publications not only reinforce philosophies that are applicable to life in general, but they also stir my individual sense of wonder and inspire this avid traveler to adventure on. I’m curious, if any, which titles will whistle the compositions of adventure to you? And will you listen to its song? 

To Shake The Sleeping Self

This title by Jedidah Jenkins is the story of a homosexual man’s audacity to celebrate turning 30 by hopping onto a bicycle and peddling south from Oregon to Patagonia. Acquired recently (gifted) after an enlightening handful of years heavy on consistent solo-adventure this novel is reviving my weary bones, motivating me to find and seek adventure in various capacities.

Now, I have no immediate desire to bike my way across a continent, but I find his tale of physical exhaustion, his developed understanding of humanity and his discovery of self on this courageous journey profoundly relatable.

For me, thoughts and emotions stay cloudy until I put them into words, give them bodies to walk around in and be their own thing, that’s when they become knowable” ~Jedidiah Jenkins

A clever hardback for any adventurous mind.
When you’re a fangirl and your comment gets recognition!

Bringing readers on a journey through creative writing favors my individual artistic expression. It allows me to give the destination or experience a “body to walk around in” if you will. Living abroad has granted me consistent exposure to foreign cultures providing me with a global type of education. One that opens the heart as well as the mind. This book reaffirms the impact of kindness and faith told through playful wording and relatable vulnerability. 

Eat, Pray, Love

My personal favorite and quasi travel bible. I’ve read and re-read this book dozens of times. I’m repeatedly drawn into her realizations/struggles with truly loving others as a result of the lack of love for herself and the individual journey of self-discovery therein. The playful banter of an over-active, female brain only makes the story more relatable, in my personal opinion.

Admittedly, Europe and Asia were long-time dream destinations prior to discovering the book. As a thoroughbred hopeless romantic, the awakening of self the characters experience during one woman’s journey across continents stirred something in me.

The biggest takeaway of the journey being author Elizabeth Gilbert’s ideas on the physics of the quest:


Any reader with an itch for adventure can gain useful geographical insight and cross-cultural scenarios from the imagery painted in words by a 30+, personable, female author. 

Under The Tuscan Sun

As a movie buff, I admittedly saw the film before reading the book. That’s not to say, however, that the book didn’t serve as one of the foundations for my desire to live abroad. Before there was Eat Pray Love, there was Frances Mayes’ Under The Tuscan Sun. A recently divorced woman in her mid-thirties that rediscovers the beauty behind “terrible ideas” when she spontaneously buys a worn down Tuscan villa whilst on a haphazard adventure to Italy. This impromptu decision causes a ripple effect of sorts in her life as well as those around her inspiring serenity and love. 

Living abroad became a reality for me over a decade later when I joined the United States Peace Corps and relocated myself to Eastern Europe. This deliberate maneuver changed the trajectory of my existence on earth, outwardly inspiring change in the lives of those I’ve met along the way.

My travels have yet to take me to the rolling hills of Tuscany, but my life as a permanent tourist has granted me the chance to visit Italy (Amalfi Coast & Rome) – without spontaneously buying any property I might add. 

These titles should more than arouse your sense of wanderlust or at least get your proverbial travel tongue wet enough to start browsing hashtags of dream destinations. 

While you’re at it, take a swig of adventure vicariously through me via the Meredith San Diego YouTube channel.

Already an avid traveler and looking for a few books to relate to? Try a few titles I found here.

Looking to keep it FUBU? Try a few of these titles by Black Authors.

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2 Responses

  1. Under the Tuscan Sun!! That is one of my favorite movies, though I’ve never read the book. I still watch it every now and then when I need a bit of a pick me up. Great choice.

    1. Same! This movie remains one of my go-to favorites! Glad to hear from you lady and thanks for reading🙋🏾‍♀️

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Welcome to Bag Lady Meredith San Diego!

As a global citizen with more than 57 passport stamps, my adventure mandatory, serial-expat existence offers intuitive insight into globetrotting as a solo Black, female.

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Bag Lady Meredith San Diego is always on the move! Completing her 57th country in 2022, where can you spot Meredith San Diego adventuring in 2023? Stay tuned to find out just where in the world is Meredith San Diego!