Travel insanity

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in the past couple days, but my husband and I ran into a bit of trouble on our drive home from Rhode Island.

It wasn’t really snowing until we got to New York, and then it started snowing a lot, and there were a bunch on signs and travel advisories for lake effect snow. And then I guess there were a bunch of accidents on the highway we were on. So they had to close the highway, and were diverting people into the city. Oh, and did I mention that all of this happened during rush hour on Thursday night? It did, so we got stuck in the suburbs of Buffalo, NY for five hours.

It was really terrible. We were finally able to take a different way out of the city, but we still had to stop for the night soon after that because of the snow.

Which meant that we had to drive longer than we intended yesterday, just to make it home. But we finally did, and although I’m sad that my vacation is over, it’s good to be back in my own home.

Alyss

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Traveling!

I apologize for not posting anything more exciting, but my husband and I are driving to Rhode Island today and tomorrow. We’re spending the week around New Years with my family, and will hopefully do some fun things that I’ll be able to write about. I’m pretty excited about it, since I haven’t really been back home or seen most of my extended family in a couple years.

I also have a book review coming soon. I read a really interesting YA fiction book about a trans girl and her experiences during and after transitioning. So look forward to the within the next couple of days.

Until then, I hope everyone is having a great holiday!

Alyss

No Baggage by Clara Bensen

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(photo courtesy of Goodreads)

So this book was kind of a random choice for me. I was looking for something new to listen to on audiobook (I have a long-ish commute to work, and I usually alternate between podcasts and audiobooks), and found this one while cataloging at work. It sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.

The book is a memoir, recounting the start of Bensen’s relationship with a quirky, minimalist professor named Jeff Wilson. Having just met and started dating, Bensen agrees to go on a trip across Europe with Jeff. But the catch is that they can’t bring any luggage and they can’t make any reservations or plans. The whole situation makes for quite an interesting trip, with some ups and downs for them personally as well as for their new relationship.

While this kind of trip isn’t something that I would ever attempt myself, especially with someone that I’ve just met, it made for really interesting listening. Not only because of the exciting travel journey, but because of Bensen’s mental journey as well. In the memoir, Bensen discusses her struggle with mental illness, which she was just starting to get over when she met Jeff. This is part of the reason she decides to accept his invitation, because she feels like the trip will break her out of her comfort zone and help her overcome some of her difficulties.

I really think that this aspect of the story, the fact that she’s still trying to overcome her mental illness, makes it more than just a quirky travel adventure story. And the fact that she’s also trying to mesh with someone who she hasn’t known for very long, who is very different from her, makes for some really interesting conflict. The premise of this story does remind me of some other memoirs like Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, but to me this feels a little bit more realistic and less “inspirational” than others in that life-changing memoir genre. This one, on the other hand, feels a bit more down to earth, and as the reader you’re not completely sure how everything is going to work out in the end. This is something I usually appreciate in a story, since it can get really boring to read a story that you already know to ending to.

I think one other thing that really made this memoir good was being able to listen to the author read it. A good narrator can make the difference for any audiobook, and the author reading their own book is always really cool. But I feel like it’s almost required for a memoir to be read by the author, since they can put so much more of themselves and their experiences into the reading. It really makes all the difference.

If anyone has read this book, what did you think of it? Also, if you have any other memoirs to recommend, let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

Alyss