Shana's Reviews > Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents

Wanderlust by Elisabeth Eaves
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 31, 2012

liked it

The first part of this book I enjoyed immensely. I loved her candor and vulnerability. I felt she made some very true observations about traveling. I lost her story around the time she developed an affair between two men. I lost sympathy for her selfishness when it started to hurt other people. I had trouble relating to her reasons for the affair, as well difficulty interpreting her opinion on the matter. By the time I got to the end, the book felt more like a ballad to her lost lovers.

Like I said earlier, she makes some lovely observations about traveling and some good insights on romantic state-of-mind.

"Something as simple as figuring out where and how to buy ibuprofen could be a two-hour project...checking stores, asking for directions, and finally finding a pharmacy and learning that you didn't pick things off the shelf, you waited your turn and then pointed, and the team of shopkeepers - everything was overstaffed - retrieved your items from the shelves and packaged them more than necessary, wrapping them in brown paper before placing them in a plastic bag..."

"Moreover we thought of the streets as both an obligation and a right. The obligation: We were here to see the place, and had some idea that the real Egypt wasn't a country club.It would be wrong of us only to see the rich. We saw the extreme stratification as soon as we arrived on campus, sa that the lives of the wealthy and the poor intersected only as master and servant. We immediately abhorred this state of affairs, and resolved not to embrace it...Instead we'd learn that as a middle-class North Americans we were also part of a global-class, and that class was stronger than any of us.

As for the right: We thought that public space belonged to us. We thought it ought to be a safe commons, where strangers were equal."

"Traveling with a lover creates a sense of forward momentum where it might not otherwise exist. The relationship adopts the motion of the physical journey, eliminating the risk of boredom and making the travelers complicit. It shows each person in a new, maybe sexier, light. A journey can drive two people apart, as they realize the different ways they handle fender benders and lost luggage. But if it doesn't, it binds them in a filament of romance and camaraderie."

"Yemen was already globalizing, but in ways I couldn't recognize, because I thought the direction of change was always towards Westernization. I thought modernization meant that for better or worse you ended up with a Pizza Hut."

"Falling out of love for the first time is as surprising as falling in love...instead of feeling like you've been granted a superpower, you feel like it's been taken away".

"Everyone was talking about other countries they'd been to, name-dropping like social climbers"

"I took pride in having my own two regions, and was also embarrassed by my pride, so distant did my job seem from whatever it was I was supposed to have been doing."

"How much of who I am is defined by the world around me, and how much is something more innate?...The obvious way to find out is to move from one context to another."

"From my distance the loss was theoretical, and though I couldn't have said so, I preferred it that way. I felt relieved to be so far away, because I was excused from grieving."

"It's amazing how quickly the dust settles when you don't move"

"What we needed to get through this was no longer physical strength. That had stopped mattering hours, maybe days ago, when we all exceeded what we'd thought were our physical limits...Now it was psychological strength that mattered, the ability to stay calm and keep pushing ourselves."

"The mind isn't cut out to remain frightened and panicked for long periods, even when the frightening conditions go on. At some point you adjust, the conditions become the new normal, and the fear recedes."

"If I had a masked ball to go to every year, during which I could play a warrior or a devil, I wonder if, with that outlet at hand, I'd be more able to settle into my own time and place. I think of the carnivals in Brazil and the Caribbean, and the ecstatic dancers I saw during Ashura in Pakistan, bloodying themselves into another state of mind. I have no ritual to take me away. Halloween is a dull and distant cousin."

"When you're two people living in the same city, you're not forced into this kind of decision, because you've built up a life where you are...But when you've come together in a foreign country...the decision carries more weight."

"I never stopped thinking of him entirely. If we'd had a chance to settle down and become irritated by each other's idiosyncrasies, maybe things would have been different. But we separated at the precise moment of falling in love, and now those feelings seemed to have frozen into a solid, permanent thing."

"I recognize that this man isn't really part of my life. I know that I don't know him anymore, that my idea of him is just an idea...Over the years, our ideas of each other have floated away from the actual people we've become...Confronted with the real person, all the intense emotions would go away."
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Wanderlust.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

March 31, 2012 – Started Reading
March 31, 2012 – Shelved
March 31, 2012 –
page 102
April 2, 2012 –
page 149
April 2, 2012 –
page 174
April 3, 2012 –
page 210
April 4, 2012 –
page 236
April 12, 2012 –
page 260
April 13, 2012 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.