Calling All Global Vagabonds: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
After a tough breakup, Bria takes off on trip to Central America to join a tour run by “Global Vagabonds.” However, it doesn’t take long before she discovers that her tour group does not quite match the young, pretty people on the brochure. Breaking her usual mold, Bria takes a risk and leaves behind the middle-aged stick-to-the-path-more-traveled-by kind of tourists and joins up with backpackers Rowan and Starling.
With her new-found friends, Bria travels through Guatamala and Belize. Throughout her journey, she rediscovers the love of art she thought she had lost along with her relationship, but struggles with what she’ll do when she returns home without having submitted any of the paperwork to attend art school or state school.
Bria’s journey off the beaten path helps her get back on her own path, but not without a few bumps in the road. She falls hard for Rowan, despite her insistence that he’s more like a travel brother, but Rowan has his own dark past to escape. Bria and Rowan are chasing their futures and running away from their pasts, but in order to be together they each need to stand still in the present, a prospect that terrifies them both.
Kirsten Hubbard’s Wanderlove is the perfect book for travel lovers. The story is enhanced by illustrations drawn by Hubbard herself. In this romance meets travelogue meets sketchbook, Hubbard’s knowledge of backpacking culture and the foreign setting is readily apparent.
Outside of the well-crafted sensory details of the locations (which helped vicariously fulfill a little bit of my own travel itch), Wanderlove contains a thoughtful, more personal story. Hubbard delves into the ways in which self-worth and identity become enmeshed in relationships, providing more and more information about Bria and Rowan’s pasts as both go about untangling themselves from the histories that are keeping them from truly moving forward.
While you may not be able to run off to Central America, Wanderlove is the kind of book that will not only keep you entertained, but also encourage you to step outside your own comfort zone.