The world is rife with travel books - so much that there are book shops exclusively dedicated to shelving them. I've never been one to buy travel books, oddly enough. I always long for the dirt in the tread of my sandals once I decide on a place to go, and my inspirations come from various sources - PBS shows, movies, works of fiction or biography, sometimes just plain word of mouth. There are places that I want to go simply because of my ancestry, and places that I'm drawn to going for reasons yet unknown.
Interestingly enough, about the same time that I started delving into my own definitions of spirituality, a book came into my path that offered not only a guide to some of the most beautiful and amazingly spiritual places throughout the world, but also illumination into a subject that I was just really beginning to study - The Divine Feminine.
Everyone who has seen or read "The DaVinci Code" lays claim to knowledge of the Divine Feminine, but author Karen Tate's passion for Goddess and the ways that all cultures have created places sacred to her worship breathes life into these destinations.
The book is divided logically among the regions of the world, detailing the well-known, such as the Hagia Sophia in Turkey and Machu Picchu in Peru, and not-so-well-known, like the Nashville Parthenon and Hindmarsh Island. Tate takes great care to provide the reader with crucial history behind each of the locations she's selected to feature. One comes away with knowing the significance of the sites and the Goddesses revered there. Most importantly, however, for me is that each section not only tells you why you should go, but also how. Tate gives tour tips, itinerary suggestions, and websites where available. For more obscure destinations, Tate's directions can include arranging private transportation and must-see spots that are close by. She even gives tips on how to deal with the locals.
One of the features that I really love about this book, however are the Gaia Alerts. Tate takes special care to point out the areas that are endangered, by man, time, or ecology, to raise awareness of special locations that are in need of conservation.
If you're looking for solo travel inspiration that's rich with information, history, and spirituality of the Divine Feminine, "Sacred Places of Goddess" should be the first book on your list.