John Steinbeck wrote, “Every American hungers to move.”
In his book, Travels With Charley, Steinbeck further theorizes that Americans descended from those who moved: those who left Europe, those who were forced to leave Africa, and those who came in search of a better life — thus, doesn’t it make sense that we have this insatiable thirst for travel?
Call it wanderlust, malaise or a millennial’s disdain for commitment, but this idea of leaving behind societal norms and exploring the unknown isn’t exactly a new trend. In fact, it’s older than our parents and grandparents. Sure, most of us aren’t about to set off on an extreme quest across North America in a 1960’s neon bus full of hippies and psychedelics, but we’re meant to expand our horizons, be exposed to new culture and lifestyles — to learn. We see this now more than ever — i.e. the rise of digital nomads, Instagram travel influencers and the freelance community.
But, before there was an endless feed of #instaworthy travel photos, there were books. Authors documented their experiences around the world and inspired us to do the same. It’s safe to say that when it comes to travel, we owe it to literary legends like Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Bill Bryson and many more. Their iconic works do a particularly good job at inspiring readers to follow the journeys laid out among their pages. They laid the framework for exploration and the open road — they left their mark on travel as we know it today.
To celebrate these iconic authors and their contributions to travel, CarRentals put together this guide that highlights six literary road trip routes across America. Walk in their shoes by exploring cross-country routes that follow the narrative arc of their best books, and maybe you’ll even be inspired to write your own!
This post was written by Keilah Keiser. She works in content marketing with a focus on promoting travel-related content for her clients. In her spare time, she enjoys writing travel guides, the art of street photography, videography and hiking with her dog.