In September 2013, Julia Zimmermann and Franz Neyer published a paper called, “Do we become a different person when hitting the road? Personality development of sojourners”. Study participants fell into two groups: longer-term travellers and non-travellers. All participants were tested for, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness and Emotional Stability. Participants who then spent time overseas scored higher in all areas when retested. In fact, the longer they travelled, the higher the scores.
The largest study of its kind confirms what most travellers know implicitly: travel changes you. Travel can be an experiment in self-development. The wanderers of the world often begin their journey loaded down by baggage but over time, the load lightens. It becomes apparent that to enjoy the journey they simply need to let things go. As the external baggage lightens, so does the internal baggage. They let go of prejudice, and preconceived ideas, ignorance and fears. Any long-term journey is also one of internal geography.
To celebrate the incredible Mary Moody visiting the Better Reading offices today, and the release of her latest memoir, The Accidental Tour Guide, we’ve compiled a list of 11 fabulous female travel memoirs. Are your favourites on this list? Let us know.