No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering
About the Book
Clara Bensen is currently a 20-something writer living in Austin, Texas. In 2013 she meets Jeff on OKCupid. Jeff is wild, unique, and determined never to be tied down again. After knowing each other for only a few weeks, Clara agrees to accompany Jeff on one of his exciting experiments: a three week trip from Istanbul to London with no plans and, even more mind boggling, no baggage. Restricted to one outfit and no idea where she will be sleeping each night, Clara quits her job and sets off to explore the difficult pathways of modern dating. She grapples with the obstacles thrown her way and ponders the evolutionary stage in which modern single adults find themselves—a era where men and women opt for no obligations or definitive status when it comes to love. Can one really travel without baggage?
I absolutely loved this book. Clara’s honest, real voice shines through the pages. (Her voice actually reminds me very much of Marina Keegan, author of The Opposite of Loneliness.) From the start Clara makes her introverted and anxious nature quite clear. The dialogue is simple because a majority of the book portrays her perspective and inner thoughts during her adventure with Jeff. In her head she hashes out showing too much, not showing enough, figuring out when to cuddle close and when to pull back. Her words just felt really honest to me.
Not only has she given me new destinations and ideas to add to my travel list, she shows that even the most quiet, anxious, confused person can be spontaneous and open to adventure. We can let go of our crises and insecurities and live in the moment. This is a fabulous debut book for Clara and I cannot wait to see what’s next for her.
“Travel, with all of its glorious disorientation, shifting time zones, foreign skylines, and incomprehensible exchanges, had a way of wearing people down to their raw, messy (sometimes drunk, sometimes sick) under-layers.”
“To collapse under the weight of an existential crisis was, in some ways, to suffer a disease of affluence, to be able to afford the relative luxury of panicking over my own existence.”
“Magic happens when you head out into the unknown with wonder in your right hand and terror in your left.”
“Travel is a constant state of suspension in spaces that are neither here nor there, but somewhere in between.”
“Meaning was not an intellectual concept that could be captured in a net, labeled, and pinned to a board. It was a physical act, a continuous investigation renewed each morning.’
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