This book review has been compiled by Cassie Kolias.
With my degree waiting at the finish line, and the end in sight, I decided that I deserved a big treat for myself, so my roommate and I booked a spring break trip for ourselves. We didn’t have our sights set on Lake Havasu or Cabo like most of the other college party-going counterparts. We traded our swimsuits in for raincoats and booked a 10-day, three country European adventure.
I instantly fell in love with London, was absolutely dazzled by Paris and Rome rushed by me in a blur. Ten whirlwind days later I found myself back at school and back into my normal daily routine, except there was nothing normal about the way that I felt. I felt fully and wholly changed by those 10 days and suddenly I just felt an overwhelming need to be somewhere else.
And despite not having the ability to hop back on a plane to Europe, I found small bits of satisfaction in small trips within the United States, and even more so I have continually fueled my wanderlust by delving into travel memoirs.
My favorite one so far? “Wanderlust: A Love Affair With Five Continents,” by Elisabeth Eaves. In this 303 page memoir chronicling a decade and a half of wandering, Eaves puts the lust in wanderlust. Not only does she have a dire and insatiable need to be moving from place to place, but she also does the same with men.
She writes with a bluntness that is not only witty, but is also gritty and honest. Elisabeth meets Graham on a class trip to London when she was 16, and after a taste of the world, she becomes determined to leave the suburbs of Vancouver. Her desire to leave only grows as Graham sets out to see the world and sends her bits and pieces of his travels. The farther he travels, the more she adores him, and when he comes back to her briefly, she falls unequivocally in love with him.
While she left Vancouver to attend college in Seattle, by her junior year she was aching for the unfamiliar and took a year abroad in Cairo and while her classmates took more luxurious winter vacations, Eaves spent hers in Yemen, where she was required to be covered head to toe to guarantee her safety.
Her next stop after Cairo was a government internship in Pakistan at the United States Consulate in Karachi. And while she and Graham eventually split up, he remained a driving force behind her travel.
The paradox of love is that to have it is to want to preserve it because it’s perfect in the moment but that preservation is impossible because the perfection is only ever an instant passed through. Love like travel is a series of moments that we immediately leave behind. Still we try to hold on and embalm against all evidence and common sense proclaiming our promises and plans. The more I loved him the more I felt hope. But hope acknowledges uncertainty and so I also felt my first premonitions of loss. (Eaves 60)
Following Pakistan, Eaves’ travels became a dizzying list of locations and romances. She wandered around Malaysia, lost herself fully in Papua New Guinea, nearly lost her life in Fiji, and attempted a domestic life in Paris, only to realize that really all she wanted was to have what she couldn’t have. Each adventure that Elisabeth embarks on is also marked by a man.
While I love that Elisabeth writes so freely about her sex life and those bits are entertaining, I couldn’t stop reading the parts where she described the locations she had been to and what she saw. Sometimes when I feel bored and stuck in my 8-5, I can re-read this book and feel momentarily like I am on a five-continent journey all over the world, and I think that is what a great book can do. It transports you to another time and place, and if that is what you are looking for, I highly recommend “Wanderlust: A Love Affair With Five Continents.” You won’t be able to set it down.
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About the Author: Cassie Kolias is a California twenty-something addicted to coffee, tweeting song lyrics, the feeling of an airplane taking off and all things British, and even has the coordinates of London tattooed on her leg. She is constantly planning her next travel adventure. You can find her blog “Ramblings of a Twenty-Something“.