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WANDERLUST by Elisabeth Eaves


A Love Affair with Five Continents

by Elisabeth Eaves

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-58005-311-2
Publisher: Seal Press

A youthful, meandering journey of self-discovery through travel and love.

From an early age, Eaves (Bare: On Women, Dancing, Sex, and Power, 2002) considered travel to be liberation from home in Vancouver and romance with adventurous boys. As a young girl, she had lived with her family for a year in Valencia, Spain, where her father took an academic sabbatical and she attended school; the experience proved a charming entrée into a larger world. Inspired by a crush she developed as a teenager and who wrote her as he traveled the world, she pursued a job as a nanny in Valencia during a summer between attending the University of Washington, Seattle, and enjoyed late nights at bars and moonlit motorcycle rides as a break from her constricted days caring for two Spanish children. Study abroad took her to study Arabic at the American University in Cairo, where she was often followed and harassed by hostile men. A college internship in Karachi sponsored by the U.S. State Department led to more travel in the Middle East, rather than a career as a diplomat. Fleeing a boyfriend and house she had settled in after college in Seattle, she roamed Malaysia and then Australia. Back in the States, a segue into Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs got her a job as a journalist in London, and a trip to South America on the way. Finally, there was Dominic, whose diplomatic career took him, and her, to Paris, where she was stifled by the city’s “insufferable correctness.” In short, the author was plagued by her wanderlust, finding in most relationships a chronic unhappiness. Settling down with one man, she notes, would mean “banning myself from ever seeing another country”—something she recognizes with clear-eyed conviction she could never do.

Detailed chronicle of exploits that grow tiresome and blasé, reflecting the author’s own weariness.