Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman (Bantam Classics, 1983 reprint)
Ecstatic, egalitarian odes to the joy of being alive. Recommended reading.
The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen (Penguin USA, 1996 reprint)
This account of Matthiessen’s 1973 journey into the Himalayas is a Zen-flavored travel classic.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard (Harper Perennial, 1998 reprint)
An eloquent meditation on life, death and nature, set in the Virginia wilderness.
The Road Within: True Stories of Life on the Road, edited by Sean O’Reilly, James O’Reilly, Tim O’Reilly (Travelers’ Tales, 1997)
A collection of spiritual travel writing from authors like Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez, and Natalie Goldberg.
Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred, by Phil Cousineau (Conari Press, 1998)
A well-written guide to finding spiritual resonance in everyday travel.
The Way of the Traveler: Making Every Trip a Journey of Self-Discovery by Joseph Dispenza (Avalon Travel Publishing, 1999)
A book about using travel for spiritual growth and deeper life experience.
One Thousand Roads to Mecca: Ten Centuries of Travelers Writing About the Muslim Pilgrimage, edited by Michael Wolfe (Grove Press, 1999)
An anthology of writings about the biggest spiritual travel event in the world — the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca — as seen through the eyes and hearts of the people who’ve made the hajj over the last 1000 years.
The Bible: Ecclesiastes
The most concise, powerful and universally relevant book of wisdom in the Jewish tradition.
The Bible: The Gospel of Matthew; the Gospel of Luke
Two engrossing accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus, as told by Matthew (a Jewish tax collector) and Luke (a Greek physician).
The Dhammapada, translated by Eknath Easwaran (Nilgiri Press, 1986)
An accessible translation of the sutra that is as essential to the Buddhist tradition as the Sermon on the Mount is to the Christian tradition.
The Essential Koran, translated by Thomas Cleary (Book Sales, 1998)
A collection of readings from the Koran, designed to help non-Muslim Westerners appreciate the power and poetry of the Muslim holy book.
Tao Te Ching: A New English Version, translated by Stephen Mitchell (Harper Perennial, 1992)
A Zen-influenced translation of Lao Tzu’s classic mediations.
The Upanishads, translated by Juan Mascaro (Viking Press, 1965)
Simple and powerful verses from the ancient mystical tradition of Hinduism.