10 audiobooks that explore the natural world

Take a walk through the natural landscapes of our world with these moving and insightful travelogues.

 

1. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey of the Silk Road by Kate Harris, narrated by Amy Landon

Lands of Lost Borders

From what Kate Harris could tell of the world, there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond earth, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars. In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, the farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within.
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2. Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living by Karen Auvinen, narrated by Jayme Mattler

Rough Beauty

During a difficult time, Karen Auvinen flees to a primitive cabin in the Rockies to live in solitude as a writer and to embrace all the beauty and brutality nature has to offer. When a fire incinerates every word she has ever written and all of her possessions-except for her beloved dog Elvis, her truck, and a few singed artifacts, Karen embarks on a heroic journey to reconcile her desire to be alone with her need for community.
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3. Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island by Earl Swift, narrated by Tom Parks

Chesapeake Requiem

A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a 200-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction from rising sea levels — part natural history of an extraordinary ecosystem, starring the beloved blue crab; part paean to a vanishing way of life; and part meditation on man’s relationship with the environment.
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4. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, narrated by Bernadette Dunne

Wild.

In the wake of tragedy, Cheryl Strayed‘s family and marriage were destroyed. With nothing to lose, she made a decision: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington — alone. Cheryl faces rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Wild captures the terrors and pleasures of her journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
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5. The Final Frontiersman by James Campbell, narrated by Dan Woren

The Final Frontiersman.

Originally from Wisconsin, Heimo Korth traveled to the Arctic in his 20s. Now, more than four decades later, he lives with his wife 200 miles from civilization – a sustainable, nomadic life bounded by the migrating caribou, swollen rivers, and the demands of daily life. Heimo’s cousin, James Campbell, chronicles the family’s experience, adventures, and the tragedy that shapes their lives.
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6.  Deep South by Paul Theroux, narrated by John McDonough

Deep South

For the past 50 years, Paul Theroux has traveled to the far corners of the earth. In Deep South, he turns his gaze to a region much closer to home. Traveling through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, he writes of the stunning landscapes he discovers — the deserts, the mountains, the Mississippi — and the lives of the people he meets.
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7. Wide-Open World by John Marshall, narrated by John Marshall

John Marshall‘s 20-year marriage was floundering. His two teenage kids were lost in cyberspace most of the time. He felt disconnected from his work, his family, his life. Which is when he had an idea: Let’s volunteer our way around the world. He’d heard that some peoples’ lives were changed by a week of overseas service — what might half a year accomplish for his family?
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8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love.

Elizabeth Gilbert made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Elizabeth explores the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.
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9. Walking the Americas by Levison Wood, narrated by Barnaby Edwards

Walking the Americas.

Beginning in the Yucatán, Levison‘s journey takes him from sleepy barrios to glamorous cities to ancient Mayan ruins in the wild. The relationships he forges along the way are at the heart of his travels, and the personal histories, cultures, and legends he discovers paint a riveting history of Mexico and Central America. While contending with natural obstacles, he also witnesses surreal beauty.
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10.  Four Fish by Paul Greenberg, narrated by Christopher Lane

Four Fish.

Paul Greenberg takes us on a culinary journey that explores how fish get to our tables and how to fight for sustainable seafood. He visits Norwegian megafarms that use genetic techniques to grow millions of pounds of salmon a year, the river of the Yupik Eskimos to see the only Fair Trade-certified fishing company in the world, and almost sinks in the South Pacific while searching for an alternative to endangered bluefin tuna.
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4 Ways Audiobooks Beat Print for Travelling

On long journeys (or short journeys), what better way to pass the time than getting lost in a story? You’re confined to your tiny airplane seat, so you pull out a novel. Here’s the question: Is your novel in print or audio?

I love print as much as the next bookworm, but audiobooks have advantages that just can’t be beat. I just returned from vacation, so the joys are fresh in my mind. In my nobly unbiased opinion, here are the ways that audio has the edge as a travelling companion:

No motion sickness
I am one of the unfortunate cases that suffer from motion sickness. As a child, I would try books on road trips but never passed half a chapter before regretfully closing them. But I can listen! Audiobooks prevent the queasiness caused by focusing your eyes on something still while your body’s in motion. Plus, it frees up your eyes, which brings me to the next point…

Enjoy the view
Audio lets you gaze out the window while listening. Your eyes aren’t locked onto a book or screen, so you can take in the passing landscapes. Depending on where the book is set, your view might even inspire better visuals in your imagination.

You always have your phone
But you don’t always have capacity to travel with loads of books. Even if you’re an eBook reader, phone screens are tiny for reading, phones are easier to transport than e-readers, and you’re guaranteed to have it on you in a pinch.

Stock up on listens ahead of time
You can load your phone with as many books as you want ahead of time so you’re prepared no matter how long you’re travelling for. No added weight, and no data required!

We’ve long seen audiobooks as the superior form of travel, so I hope this post helps you see the light, along with the view.

BONUS: Looking for the perfect travel companion? Here are some of our faves this spring!

RainbirdsRainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan. Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister, Keiko’s, sudden death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.

 

The Room on Rue AmelieThe Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

International bestselling author Kristin Harmel tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final word.

 

Happiness

Happiness by Aminatta Forna

From award-winning writer Aminatta Forna, a stunning novel bringing an American scientist and a Ghanaian psychologist together in London in a hunt for a missing boy. A tale of loss, hope, love, compassion, culture, and the true meaning of happiness.

 

 

Laura & Emma

Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead
Literary Fiction

Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant. Enter: Emma. An insightful exploration of class and family warfare from a new author whose sensibility, wit, and prose celebrate what makes us human.

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