Inspirational Books for Family Travel

The reading of books should inspire you to consider the choices you have before you.  A great book should leave you facing a decision as to which path you will pursue from that point forward.  Perhaps your readings solidify a previous decision and you choose to remain on that path.  Often however, great books expand our perspectives and we choose to alter our paths.  

Many people are swayed to the author's postion of the last book they read.  This is unfortunate, and it is not the way in which a book should influence a reader.   There's no doubt that many of the books I've read inspired me to consider my present circumstances and ongoings worldwide.  Much consideration then drove me to lead our family in the direction we're going. 

Here are some of those books.

The Bible – The story of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Hagaar & Ishmael, Joseph, Jacob & Essau, Jacob & his sons, David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus, the disciples (especially John), Paul, Revelation through John.  There are many others, but what do all of these "characters" have in common.  Well, they were mostly vagabonds, at least for the part of their lives that is recorded in most detail.   

Linchpin – Seth Godin:  Be a cog in the wheel, or a linchpin that holds the wheel together.   The wheel is big, and it's what everyone sees, but without a strong and tiny little piece, it falls apart.   Linchpins jump when everyone else is scared to.  Linchpins don't look to others for approval.  Linchpins create, and they lead.   

The Education of a Wandering Man – Lous L'Amour (an endless source of inspiration and entertainment)  Here are some fantastic quotes from his pseudo-autobiography:

- "Each people is, I believe, inclined to believe it is the purpose of history, that all that has happened is leading to now, to this world, this country.  Few of us see ourselves as fleeting phantoms on a much wider screen. or that our great cities may someday be dug from the ruins by archeologists of the future."

- "Unfortunately, in most of our schools the history of Europe and North America is taught as if it were the history of the world.  The rest of the world is referred to only when Europeans or Americans were invading or trading."  

Radical – David Platt.  Jesus Christ (whether your faith is in Him or not) was an influential leader who "had no place to lay His head".  He vagabonded, spent most of His time with disciples and societal outcasts.  Today, nearly 79% of US citizens claim Christianity as their faith.  Yet, the US is by far the most materialistic population in the world.   We're consumed in striving for status, wealth, security, comfort, and "stuff".  Few have known hunger, or wonder where they'll sleep at night.  Are we missing something here, or is it just me?  

The 100 Thing Challenge – Dave Bruno.  I'm not a minimalist, and I don't think the author is either.  But he entertains a question that I've thought about for years.  "Just how much 'stuff' do we need in order to life a satisfying life?"

Amusing Ourselves to Death – Neil Postman: TV can suck the life right out of you, your family, and hinder everything you're created to accomplish.   This 1985 book takes a look at the changes in people since the dawn of our television centered lifestyles, and causes you to ponder what roll all screen media should play in our lives, even today with the shift from TV programming to the internet, social media, and web based selective viewing.  

When Helping Hurts – Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert, John Perkins.  Wow.  This book put into words many of my observations from traveling through areas of poverty around the world.  Americans in general are often guilty of this;  that since our country is "developed", we know what's best for helping the impoverished in other countries.  Yet, we often end up doing more harm than good, and leave , both ourselves and the people we "helped", confused.  These authors shed some light on better ways to approach helping those less fortunate.  

There are many, many more books that I could list here.  But this is a list of those that so far, have had the strongest influence on my decision, to take a grand sabbatical with my family from US suburban life.  

I was reflecting just a few days ago on the backgrounds of influential people, people that make a difference.  Have you ever noticed that so many of those who have left a fantastic and positive impact on our world, or in the lives of others were vagabonds and wanderers, coming from a background of instability and little certainty?   What are some of your favorite books that have inspired you?

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