Wanderlove, by Kirsten Hubbard

 

When I was in high school, I wanted nothing more than to travel around the world and write for a living. I didn’t necessarily want to write novels or stories, per se, but a little literary non fiction would be cool. (I really enjoyed Joan Didion’s work back in the day. Still do.)

Of course, this was still when I didn’t *quite* understand the value of money. I mean, I knew travel involved money, but my plan was basically to magically appear on distant shores with nothing but my backpack, which was filled with moleskine notebooks and pens. You know, the priorities. And, of course, a towel*.

Anyway, I always envisioned myself with well worn travel clothes, even wearing a. lot. of linen in my teenaged years, because, you know, linen wears really well and is made to look wrinkly. (No ironing, score!)

Well, fast forward *blank* years, and clearly I’m not a travel writer. I don’t have a book of short stories based loosely on my travels entitled Wanderlust. I don’t have a blog that chronicles my every move, sustaining a living from the kindness of strangers whom I meet in exotic locations. (The name of that imagined blog being, you guessed it,” Wanderlust.”) As you see on my bio, I’m currently very landlocked as a retail store manager in the middle of America. Far from glamorous or exciting. But my wanderlust simmers still, relegated to the back burner of my life, briefly satisfied with a road trip or vacation here and there. Adequate for now, but nowhere close to what I truly want to experience.

Enter Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. (I said HERE that you needed to mark your calendars for this book’s release, but as a public service, here I am to remind you all!)

It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria’s a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan’s a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

This book…this book captured the very essence of that need. That unnameable thing that I’ve wanted to find, if it could ever be found. The spirit of charting your path and following the road less traveled. Basically, when I read it, it was like I was reading about my life.

And this passage from Bria’s point of view was so. dead. accurate. of what I envisioned for myself when I was her age, it’s uncanny:

I could picture it already.

I would glide from ruin to ruin along La Ruta Maya, in a caravan of beautiful, happy people, and I’d be the mysterious one, gracious and profound. Butterflies would float down from the jungle canopy and alight on my bronzed skin. I would wear silver necklaces and ankle-length skirts that shifted in the breeze.

Sigh. Kirsten Hubbard captures the young adult voice really really well.

I remembered an important lesson that I kind of forgot along the way. I was too focused on what I wasn’t doing or what I could be doing better and how those things proved that I wasn’t good enough to be a fill-in-the-blank. I had to remember that I AM ENOUGH. No rules, no comparisons. Just me.That against all odds, I need to finish my work, and remember my love for writing. It wasn’t about being good enough or what other people will think of my work. I just needed to remember that I loved the feeling, the satisfaction that I get from writing. That feeling of creating stories just for me…is just as fulfilling and unnameable and a truth-self-evident as the wanderlust inside me. That thought was and is enough.

And I clung to that thought, and it inspired me to revisit WIP2 again. I’m grateful, because now I’m so close to finishing my draft, woohoo!

I read this book as an e-galley, and I SO wished I had the physical version of this book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still grateful that I got to read it when I did (especially since I’m thisclose to The End of WIP2), but since Bria is an art student, we get to see a lot of fun illustrations (drawn by the author herself!) sprinkled throughout the book that I really wanted to see on paper. Speaking of which…

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

Congratulations, Laura! You shall be experiencing the Wanderlove pretty soon!

Anyway, I hope you get the chance to read this book, and I hope you become inspired to follow your passion, no matter how hard the journey, and no matter where your journey will take you.

*”Traveling with a towel” is a reference to Douglas Adams’s cult favorite, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 😀

EDIT: Wanderlove will be available for purchase, Tuesday, March 13! Feel free to pre-order through your usual bookish channels! ^_^