Spanning fifteen years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves’s insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, she loses herself—literally—to an Australian tour guide; in Cairo, she reconnects with her high school sweetheart, only to discover the beginning of a pattern that will characterize her life over the long-term: while long-distance relationships work well for her, traditional relationships do not.
Wanderlust, however, is more than a chronological conquest of men and countries: at its core, it’s a journey of self-discovery. In the course of her travels, Eaves finds herself and the sense of home she’s been lacking since childhood—and she sheds light on a growing culture of young women who have the freedom and inclination to define their own, increasingly global, lifestyles, unfettered by traditional roles and conventions of past generations of women. (from Amazon)
Seal Press is one of my favorite publishers, though I haven’t read nearly enough of their catalog. Nevertheless, the books I have read have been interesting in that a) they’re all written by women about women, and b) those women aren’t afraid to talk about things that are considered more…I don’t know. Hidden? Un-womanly? Unusual?
With male travel writers, a lot of the times their memoirs are about who they slept with and what extreme thing they did in a foreign country. With female travel writers, their memoirs tend to be more about the spiritual/internal changes travel brings to them and the friends they made. Romance is secondary to everything else, basically. Elisabeth Eaves’ book is unusual in that she doesn’t shy away from writing about any of it: the sex, the men, her extreme adventures, AND the emotional stuff.
To be honest, it did throw me off at first. EE is very blunt about her sex life with the various men she meets, and I’m kind of prudish about real people’s sex lives. It also threw me off because, like I said in the previous paragraph, I lumped “(near-)graphic sex” with male travel writers– and my thoughts about EE, a woman, writing about her travel-sex life, were almost “omg should she be writing that?” Almost like she was breaking some rule or something stupid like that. Luckily I had an epiphany, of a sorts (why shouldn’t she write about that?), and the rest of the book was smooth sailing.
By about 20% in I really grew to love Wanderlust. In the beginning of the book, which is EE’s teen-early twenties, there isn’t much introspection. It was constantly “and then I ran away from [whatever]” and I was wondering if she even knew she was doing it. She knew. She just took a while to tell me that she knew; once the introspection and analysis of WHY EE kept running away from “real life” started, the book because a lot more interesting to me.
I really liked that EE tied in the idea that wanderlust is not just a love of travel. It’s also a compulsion, an addiction, and it doesn’t just apply to flying to a new country. EE’s wanderlust is sunk deep within her veins, so that she can’t help wandering even in her love life, and the conflict between what EE really wants and what she thinks she should want is really sad.
There are some other good things in Wanderlust besides EE’s internal conflict about staying and going, but I think I should let you find them out for yourself. If you like travel memoirs but don’t want the same old thing, you’ll probably like Wanderlust.
Read: June 6-20, 2011
If you want to try your hand at winning a copy of Wanderlust, the publisher/TLC Book Tours has graciously allowed me to give away a copy to a resident of the US/Canada! So:
1. One (1) winner will win one (1) copy of Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves.
2. US/Canada only.
3. The giveaway will run from now, June 30th, ending at midnight EST on July 14th.
4. The winner will be chosen using Random.org; you have 48 hours to get back to me after I email you or someone else will be chosen. The winner will be announced here at the blog on July 16th, assuming everything goes well.
5. You can get an extra entry by sharing the contest link somewhere. Yay!
Fill out the form below to enter the contest!
THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. The winner will be announced soon!