Wander Always & Stay Wilde


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Have you ever read a book that truly inspired you? Has a book ever come into your life at the exact moment you needed to read its pages? It is truly amazing how a book can find its way into your hands! Over the past couple of years, the following list of books have been introduced into my life in one way or another- all inspiring me in different ways. I discovered On Trails while exploring a local bookshop on a crisp fall day in Woodstock, Vermont. I heard about Light is the New Black from a beloved podcast I listen to every week. I read Art & Fear a few years ago as a required text from my Senior Seminar in college while studying for my Fine Arts degree. A co-worker of mine recommended A New Earth while we were having a deep conversation about life’s purpose. There is a story as to how every one of these books has come into my life. They have impacted me in more ways than one- through my art, and my soul. I am truly a better person for having read them. I hope that if you choose to read any of the books from this list they will inspire you to live a more authentic and purposeful life.


“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner- continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you – is a fine art, in and of itself.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is number one on my list for a reason. It is my favorite book to recommend and read about “Inspiration” and the creative process. Living a creative life is not only for artists, writers, and people employed in creative fields; rather, it is a life that is driven by courage rather than fear. Her stories and ideas of inspiration and the magic behind a courage-driven life are the things that I remember, even years after first reading this book. As an artist myself, I truly believe inspiration is its entity, and it needs to see you working before it can come to you. Elizabeth Gilbert expands on this idea (and more eloquently than I ever could). You may have read some other books by Elizabeth Gilbert or are familiar with her work- namely Eat Pray Love, and this work of hers is just as captivating. Big Magic is delightful and inspiring on every page. I was honestly sad when it was finished, so much so that I would have instantly restarted reading it again!

To purchase on Amazon: Big Magic


“You have an inner light within you that is craving to be shared by those around you, by the world at large – but mostly by you. When you share your unique light, bit by bit, you light up the lives of those around you. And, one by one, you inspire them to light up too. It’s a chain reaction. And before long, the whole world lights up. Your light is contagious.”

– Rebecca Campbell

Serving as a guidebook to those who read through its pages, Light is the New Black challenges its readers to live their lives as authentic expressions of who they truly are. When you follow the callings of your soul, the Universe will meet you there with opportunities and plans that can easily surpass any of the biggest dreams we could imagine. By living a life filled with your calling and purpose, while doing it in your own unique and authentic way that only you can, you will serve the world, igniting a light that will inspire those around you to light up too! The chapters of this book are very short, and are filled with so much information; I suggest reading a few chapters as a daily devotional of sorts to absorb the text on each page!

To purchase on Amazon: Light is the New Black


“There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer.”

– Rhonda Byrne

Passed down through history, literature, and religion for centuries, the pieces of the “Secret” have been compiled into the life-transforming revelation shared through this book, and can be used in all aspects of your life. Along with a highly talented team of contributing authors, scientists, philosophers, and more, Rhonda Byrne brings forth “the secret” through her vision, to the world.  In addition to The Secret book, I also highly recommend the documentary film on Netflix with the same name. It is a condensed 90-minute version of the book but also affirms the core ideals of the text in a captivating visual. What is the “secret,” you may be asking? You will just have to read the book (or watch the documentary) to find out for yourself!

To purchase on Amazon: The Secret


“Art in its purest form is an extension of the soul. This is exactly what life is supposed to be. This leads us to this realization: the only art we can create is that which authentically reflects who we are.”

– Erwin Raphael McManus

In The Artisan Soul, McManus creates a manifesto for human creativity and calls us to craft our lives into works of art. Our lives are mosaics- works of art that are made up of fragmented and broken pieces that are creatively brought and pieced together. To create a life of quality and live out your most creative life, you must put in the hard work so that your life can be the most beautiful expression of your artisan soul. As McManus writes in this book, we all carry within us the essence of an artist; he breaks down the steps in which we can understand how to allow our soul to come to life. You do not need to be an artist to read and learn from this book; we all possess the ability to create and bring something unique and beautiful to this world. 

To Purchase on Amazon: The Artisan Soul


“If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.”

– Mark Manson

This book is unlike any other- in that it shares the opposite of what so many of the usual “positive” books in the non-fiction category entail. One look at the chapter titles such as “Don’t Try” and “You are not Special” was enough to intrigue me into reading more. To read this book, you must be ready to set aside your excuses and take an active role in living a better life. Manson writes in a way that will truly give you a much-needed slap in the face, and yet, offer you a counterintuitive approach to living a good life. 

To purchase on Amazon: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


“People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.”


Japanese cleaning consultant, Marie Kondo explores in her book the art of de-cluttering, simplifying, and organizing interior spaces. Each chapter is broken down into categories (clothing, paperwork, sentimental items) and step-by-step methods for how to organize. I very much appreciated her breakdown on how to store items and even fold clothes! Since first reading the book a few years ago, Kondo’s clothing method has been a practice that I implemented and follow to this day. By approaching tidying up in this manner, and filling your space with only the things that “spark joy,” the system leads to lasting results! When we create a space that is filled with the things that we love, we also in turn create more time to spend on the things that fill our soul. In her book, Marie Kondo writes, “Pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.” 

To Purchase on Amazon: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


“In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive.”

– David Bayles & Ted Orland

Art & Fear is for the working artists of the world, those who grapple and struggle with the everyday process of making and creating. Both Bayles and Orland write about how art is created, the reasons why it often does not get made at all, and the difficulties that cause artists to give up on making art along the way. Although the nature of being an artist is constantly rediscovering your work,  you must first learn that the only artistic voice you need is the one you already have. And in the creation of your works, you will find that it takes courage to embrace that work and balance art & fear.  

Throughout every stage of artistic development, the questions that artists must continually ask themselves are: 

What is your art really about?

Where is it going?

What stands in the way of getting it there?

To purchase on Amazon: Art & Fear


“The history of life on this planet can be seen as a single path made in the walking of it. We are all inheritors of that line, but also its pioneers. Every step, we push forward into the unknown, following the path, and leaving a trail.”

– Robert Moor

While hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine (and later completing the full thru-hike), Robert Moor wondered about the very paths beneath his feet. He spent the next seven years traveling and examining the different trails of this world, from interconnecting ant trails to long-lost Cherokee trails to the Interstate Highway, and even the internet of the modern age. Moor writes in a way that describes the intangible thoughts and feelings while on the trail into tangible and eloquently crafted words and stories. In their review of the book, The Wall Street Journal writes, “Moor writes about a subject as a way of touching on 100 others… He is a philosopher on foot, recording this journey through miles of wilderness and a mind sorting out the meaning of travel itself.”  If you are someone who loves hiking, and the outdoors and finds yourself on a trail often, like myself, this is the perfect book to read!

To purchase on Amazon: On Trails


“In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much, and forget about the joy of just being.”

– Eckhart Tolle


The purpose of A New Earth is to bring about a shift in your thinking, to awaken your mind to the life of a truly fulfilling existence. The works of Tolle focus on the urgent need of our current times: “the transformation of consciousness and the arising of a more enlightened humanity.” As we acknowledge our attachment to the innate human nature, we can then start to practice how awakening can happen. With its message passing to one reader at a time, this book is meant to serve as a guide in helping each of us to stop creating our suffering from the past and the unforeseen future and take full advantage of living in the present. 

A New Earth can also be found on Oprah’s Book Club list!

To purchase on Amazon: A New Earth


“It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.”

– Cheryl Strayed

Throughout the heartbreaking and beautifully written memoir, at just 26 years old, Cheryl Strayed embarked on hiking more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail from the Mojave Desert through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. And, she would do so alone. Her impulsive decision was followed by a series of life events with her family, namely the death of her mother. The powerfully written pages capture both the terrors and joys of a young woman forging ahead against all that life has placed in her path, a journey that not only strengthens her but heals her. Though it has been years since her time on the Pacific Coast Trail, Strayed’s story lives on in her writing (and in the movie adaptation by the same name) and will continue to inspire others who read its pages.

To purchase on Amazon: Wild

What books have you come across that have inspired you?

Comment your favorites below!

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