By some lovely coincidence, I realized this morning that today is Wanderlove release day - and found a copy at my library - and spent most of my afternoon off imagining that I was in Guatemala and Belize with Bria and Rowan as I read the whole thing. Wanderlove is a beautiful book. Kirsten Hubbard's descriptions are vivid, humid, jungle-y and full of Caribbean rainstorms that make you feel soaking wet and hot all at once. She takes us through Mayan markets, up jungle rivers, into cheap backpacker hostels, and off the beaten path as Bria, a wanna-be global vagabond, ditches her tour group for the mysterious and wander-loving Rowan and Starling, two backpackers who love to travel cheap -- and maybe love to run from their pasts as much as Bria does.
Bria's an artist, and her detailed sketches and travel lists add visuals, humor, and beauty to her narrative. But her voice was my favorite part - a little self-deprecating and definitely uncertain, envious of all beautiful backpackers and their effortless and disheveled Bohemian style, protective of her art and never sure whether to hang back or fling herself into her new experiences. Her first-time discovery of the joys, annoyances and pressing questions of traveling are thoughtful and provoking. And Rowan, well, is really attractive. Loved it.