FP Book Club: Books to Escape With

Whether you’re planning to retreat with us on an FP Escape or are simply looking to let your mind wander, these books will do the trick

Literature, at its most basic, is an escape. Regardless of genre, when we crack open the cover of a book or magazine, our mind dives deep, momentarily setting aside the real-time action of our lives in favor of something different. Reading is a way to travel, a way to inhabit the bodies and lives of those different from ourselves, a path to learning, a journey into the unknown. Much like real life travel (and real life in general) reading can terrify and astound, bring joy and sorrow, influence and amaze. And when embarking on an adventure in the here and now, literature can prepare us mentally, physically and spiritually for what lies ahead.

Inspired by our upcoming FP Escapes Retreats in Montana, Peru, California, Spain and Massachusetts, today we’re sharing 10 must-read books — 2 for each location — to inspire mental and spiritual roaming. Whether you’re planning to join us on a retreat (and we hope you are!) or choose to do your travel by way of the library, the books below will transport you and provide a glimpse of what you might experience on each of these incredible journeys. Check them out, then be sure to share your own favorite travel-themed tomes in the comments so we can add them to our list!

Montana: Our escape to Montana will focus on reuniting with our mother, Mother Earth. Held at Yellowstone National Park during the 100th anniversary of the National Parks system, we’ll tap into the wildness that lies within us all through movement, meditation and grounding ourselves within this powerful natural space. This retreat serves will draw us closer to our primal side, so naturally the literature packed within our bags should serve the same purpose, acting as a conduit to the Earth and our animal selves.

Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes: This book has been in my life for as long as I can remember, and it’s one I believe every woman should read. The copy that sits squarely on my nightstand was once my mother’s, and before that it belonged to one of her friends. In it, Estes, a Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller (a keeper of the old stories), explores the wolf woman archetype that exists throughout the world’s cultures. Through 20 years of research, Estes helps women reconnect with the wild woman that lies within themselves, tapping into instincts that often lie dormant in our modernized world.

This House of Sky by Ivan Doig: Montana is a land of earth and sky, both stretching vast in all directions. Doig, who was raised in the wilderness of western Montana, explores the memories and experiences of having grown up in such a place and how those ties to the natural world also tie us to our mothers, fathers and communities. This House of Sky is a must-read for those preparing to discover the incredible terrain of Montana.

Peru: With so many of the world’s superfoods originating in Peru, it’s difficult not to believe some kind of earthy magic isn’t taking place there. Our journey to Peru will focus on learning about these superfoods from those who call this place home. From Cusco to Urubamba and all along the Sacred Valley we’ll travel, gaining insight into the food, culture and healing properties of this amazing place. With food taking center stage on this trip, the book choice should naturally follow suit…

Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris: Before embarking on your escape to Peru, read up on the foods that you’ll be learning so much about. Julie Morris’ superb cookbook provides invaluable insight into the whole food ingredients that populate a well-stocked pantry, with gorgeously vibrant recipes to match.

Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge by John Gimlette: For many of us, there are corners of our world that we’ll never lay eyes on…corners so few have seen that they remain untouched, pristine. In Wild Coast, John Gimlette provides a glimpse into this untamed world by inviting the reader along on a three-month journey into parts unknown. Get to know this world so astoundingly different than our own before embarking on your own Peruvian adventure.

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SonomaWhile our Peruvian escape explores the superfoods native to that land, Sonoma offers a glimpse into the farm-to-table movement happening stateside. Nestled in the rolling hills of Northern Califormia, our Sonoma escape will bring the rhythms of farm life to your fingertips. Beginning with a seed workshop and culminating with a freshly harvested feast, participants will gain first-hand knowledge of the life cycle of the food that graces our tables, gaining a stronger connection to the land and the people who work it. Before getting your hands dirty, read up on why the seasonal approach deserves our undivided attention and test out a few recipes to discover just how good the seasons can taste.

Food Rules by Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And with these words, Michael Pollan cemented himself as the foremost writer on modern food and the way we approach it. The simple act of eating has become surprisingly complicated over the past several years. While this is largely a good thing — more and more attention paid to health and wellness is never bad — choosing the right foods can, at times, feel like a larger-than-life undertaking. Pollan sets out to simplify things with Food Rules, one rule on each page, with a simple and clear explanation of each one. As you prepare to dig into the earth and explore the origins of real, live, food, this book will provide a clear understanding of what we should be eating, and the why? behind it.

The Farm to Table Cookbook from Paragon Press: Brush up on your cooking skills and discover some new ingredients while you’re at it with this cookbook, which is divided by the seasons to showcase what’s available and freshest for each time of year. With almost anything we could want sitting at the grocery store, at our fingertips, the act of eating with the seasons is a practice all but forgotten. Rediscover a better way to cook and eat with this vibrant cookbook.

SpainLying somewhere between the sea and stars lies Andalucia, Spain, the setting for our September retreat. In this magical space we’ll explore the art of ritual and how it can serve as means to infuse our lives with meaning and mindfulness. In our fast-paced world, we often take a backseat to our own lives, as careers, family and responsibilities take center stage. In Andalucia, we’ll get back to the basics, tapping into our own rhythms and how they relate to the world around us. Before embarking on this journey of connectivity, dive into the spiritual realm with a couple of books to get you started.

Shamanism As a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life by Thomas Dale Cowan: Blending elements of Shamanism with contemporary practice, Thomas Dale Cowan’s book is intended for those seeking a deeper connection to the spiritual realm, a way to adapt spiritual beliefs and practices to our modern lives. This book encourages readers to make space for spiritual practice, to shift their lives to create time for themselves, making it the perfect thing to throw in your bag before diving into the magic of Andalucia.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Taking place in the heart of Andalucia, Paulo Coelho’s best-selling classic follows Santiago, a shepherd in search of travel and excitement. Get to know this beautiful part of Spain through Coelho’s writing and Santiago’s eyes before setting foot there yourself.

The Berkshires: With pine trees overhead and the rolling mountains of Western Massachusetts nested beside you, Earthdance Studios serves as the setting for this Ayurveda-based retreat. Amidst blazing fall foliage, you’ll undertake a guided cleanse and prepare your body for the season that lies ahead. With attention paid to the seasons, the setting, and our intentions for ourselves, this retreat calls for books that invite mediation and renewal.

Healthy, Happy, Sexy: Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women by Katie Silcox: Written by Katie Silcox, who will be joining us on our Sonoma retreat, Healthy, Happy, Sexy, is written for the modern woman who is looking to forge a deeper connection with her body and mind while enjoying the sensual pleasures of modern life.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau: It’s hard not to think of Thoreau when you’re surrounded by the autumnal beauty of the Northeast. In Walden, which was written over the course of the two years, two months and two days that the author lived in a cabin near Concord, MA, Thoreau uses the seasons as a mirror to society, all while immersing himself in nature. This book is a must for anyone craving a connection with the earth and nature’s beauty.

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+ What books would you add? Please share!

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