Sometimes I get a bit annoyed with the use of this “W” word–Wanderlust.
If I were an alien visiting Earth, I’d think it meant either:
- A new way to explain away a certain 21 c. breed of crazy—“Oh, I’m quitting my six-figure job and moving to Thailand…because Wanderlust.”
- A fun new STI running rampant among Millennials (“Last night I went out with Jake and he told me about his study-abroad in China. This morning I feel funny…Wanderlust?”
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Gosh Kels, that’s pretty harsh.”–Everyone reading this so far[/pullquote]
You’re right. But I wouldn’t be making fun of it if I wasn’t an unabashed over-user of the word myself. I’m a sucker for wanderlust. I gravitate toward it like a pre-teen to crop-tops. I can’t resist the allure of this luscious word and all that is signifies. I
want need ALL of the wanderlust coffee mugs, coasters, posters, t-shirts, blogs, err beer bottles. If it’s written in just the right typography, I just might get it tattooed on my ribcage…(kidding. I’d never do that…sober).
…and naturally, I’m also drawn to the “W” word when it’s on (ahem) books.
Which brings me to Elisabeth Eaves’ memoir “Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents.”
I came upon this memoir while pawing through Powell’s Travel Literature section one rainy Portland afternoon. I had 12 books in my arms by the time I had scanned through the entire department. Exercising great personal willpower, I limited myself to just 4 books and walked away with this one among them. Why? Probably in large part because of it’s big, bold use of the word Wanderlust. But also because it claimed to be a memoir of a woman on a solo-travel adventure, one that didn’t seem to have a distinct beginning or end. Less an extended vacation or a gap-year of fun, and more a series of spontaneous travel journeys that just kept going. This is a story of a woman in pursuit of herself, by way of this tiny blue planet, a string of lovers, and a strong instinct. This book made use of the word Wanderlust in all it’s parts, equal emphasis on the wander and the lust.
I dove into this book.
Consider Eaves the “original” wanderlust girl. She has none of the false pretense of a girl on a trip for the hashtag, and all of the gritty authenticity of a fearless female traveler. There’s no better way to describe Eave’s epic journey through emerging adulthood than by the sensation that has probably brought you to this very blog–the need to travel, see, do, experience the world and drink it all up like it’s last-call.
Perhaps what I fell in love with most about Elisabeth’s story was the true, simple abandon of her journey. No Facebook. No social media. No updates to the world at large (no, err, travel blog). She traveled the world fueled by her own curiosity, not under the influence of her news feed, or Instagram gurus, or online algorithms telling her what city would suit her best.
Elisabeth is a hugely talented writer who makes no effort to mimic other female-travel-memoirists out there (and there are many, despite the qualifiers). As if you couldn’t tell already, I loved the book SO much that I did what everyone does when they just need to share some love—I tweeted about it.
And then Elisabeth Eaves tweeted back.
And then I peed my pants a little.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own life….Now I was trying Seattle…It was just another place to visit.”[/pullquote]
This memoir was an unfiltered portrait of a personal journey, one heavily influenced by her heart and those that came close to it.
Whether it be travel, or love, or finding that intangible thing called “home,” she has an effortlessly simple way of approaching these topics.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”When I was dating a boy, I always felt like a timer went off inside me, after which I was done, just done.”–Elisabeth Eaves “Wanderlust”[/pullquote]
Just another moment where she nailed it. DING.