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Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents Paperback – May 24, 2011

3.3 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"[A] heady, headlong chronicle of a decade and a half spent adrift…"
The New York Times

"Eaves is searingly honest…"
—Editors' Choice, The New York Times

"Eaves, a travel writer, has an eye for detail and the worldly insight of fellow globe-trotter Pico Iyer."
ELLE Magazine

"Wanderlust celebrates the life-changing possibilities of the world around us and the rigors and riches of embracing them body and soul."
National Geographic Traveler Magazine

About the Author

Elisabeth Eaves is the author of Bare: The Naked Truth About Stripping, and her travel essays have been anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing, The Best Women's Travel Writing, and A Moveable Feast: Life-Changing Food Adventures from Around the World. Her writing has also appeared in numerous publications, including Forbes, Harper's, the New York Times, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal, and she holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Born and raised in Vancouver, she lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580053114
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580053112
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an often-solo female traveler who's exploring her 20th foreign country this year, I had really high hopes for this book. Finally, a compilation of essays / short stories about what it really feels like to travel the world alone and what compels a woman to do so! I found some of the author's insights really wise and telling, and a few things frankly hit close to home. That said, I ended up being surprisingly disappointed for two glaring reasons:

1. There really isn't enough description about the places in later essays. I not only wanted to understand her motivation and read some juicy relationship gossip, I also wanted to learn more about the exotic, and not-so-exotic, locales. I found that severely lacking in the latter half of the book, as she instead focused almost solely on her relationships with men. Granted, a great deal of traveling tends to be about one's relationships with other people, but I didn't sign up for that to be all-encompassing, especially when recounted in such a gratuitously bland and uninteresting manner, sans depth of feeling.

2. That brings me to pretty much my main point, and what soured the whole experience for me: the narrator comes across as cold, devoid of emotion, impersonal and detached. She wrote of these grandiose (and not-so-grandiose) love affairs, but there was a distinct lack of passion throughout. I can forgive almost anything, but not that robotic retelling. I just couldn't empathize with her - despite really, really wanting to - and I actually ended up actively disliking her. Honestly, that really took me aback, as it wasn't that I found her to be morally bereft, necessarily, I just found her tone to be steely, humorless, unfeeling, and completely unsympathetic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Disclaimer: I am currently 25% finished with this book on my Kindle, and am so exasperated, I honestly don't feel like I can continue reading it. The following review reflects my feelings toward the first 25% of the book.

I had read an article in the New York Times entitled "A Place to Lay My Heart" by Elisabeth Eaves. Poignant and intriguing, the article touched on points like the needlessness of excessive material goods, the complications of love and long distance relationships, and the complexities of life for an American residing outside of the United States. I was excited to find her book, "Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents" and couldn't wait to read it.

Much to my dismay, I found myself reading (with multiple eye rolls)about her sexual exploits in various countries around the world. Elisabeth's judgmental, single minded comments, general ignorance, and arrogant entitled-white-person-in-a-developing-country attitude are exhausting to read: her implicit irritation with seeing a fully veiled 12-year-old girl in Yemen, [paying 6 pounds for a taxi from the airport in Cairo back to her apartment in Zamalek (equivalent to $1 American dollar-- would you show up at an airport in the United States with only a few dollars in your pocket to pay a taxi driver to get home?), complaining about an "obese" American counterpart with whom she knew of in Spain, the ugly Birkenstocks her roommate wore about the American University of Cairo... the list goes on.

Elisabeth goes on to complain about the wealthy Egyptians with whom she attends AUC-- "boys and girls in real designer jeans and sunglasses. They wore heels...".
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Format: Paperback
I was expecting to read an interesting journey of a woman's travels around the globe, but instead, the only things I read about were Elisabeth Eaves's sexual exploits with numerous men and about the drugs and partying they all did. As mentioned in another review, all the guys mentioned sound very similar---long-haired, outdoorsy, weed-smoking burnouts. I couldn't keep up with who was who and lost count of how many men were mentioned, since they all seemed to meld together into one guy. Let's just call them all "John" and call it a day!

The way she mentioned being "in love" was irritating. Sex (or the more vulgar term she uses which can't be used in this review) is not love. I doubt she knows what it is. "I love Graham...no wait, I love Stu...but no, I actually love Justin...no wait, I love Stu more..."

I hated how she wrote people off who didn't fit her idea of what constituted as "cool," such as a study abroad student she considered fat, her roommate in Egypt whose fashion sense she didn't like, and even a little Yemeni girl she mentioned as chubby with acne. Seriously, you're going to belittle the looks of a child who's still growing?!

She mentioned feeling uncomfortable with the sexual harassment she got in Egypt and Yemen, but does the most ridiculous thing by dressing up as a Yemeni woman with her friend and wandering alone at night, putting herself in danger. I have no clue what she was trying to gain from doing that. Common sense is not one of Eaves's strongest attributes.

I wanted descriptions not only of the different countries Eaves traveled to, but of the people she encountered in these countries. (No, I'm not talking about her many men who could've easily been found in the States.
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