Book Club

Eden Travel Book Club: Wanderlove By Kirsten Hubbard Discussion

Like The Monk Of Mokha, I walked into Wanderlove blind this month. I knew the gist. That’s it. In short, Wanderlove follows eighteen-year-old Bria on the trip of a lifetime through Central America.

It’s hard to describe my feelings towards Wanderlove. It’s a book I related with intensely. I loved that the trip Bria took didn’t transform her wholly but simply changed her (she wasn’t a new Bria. She was just a more open-minded, less-hesitant Bria). It made the story all the more real.

It’s deftly woven. And the rich descriptions of Central America (you can tell the author is a travel writer) made me feel like I was right there with her the whole time (which is exactly what I was hoping for).

But beyond the travelogue (that made me want to book a ticket to Central America immediately), Wanderlove cracks open important discussions (especially in the latter half of the book). Kirsten Hubbard uses the narrative as a space to discuss travel superiority and travel privilege.

Eden Travel Book Club Rules: Discussion posts (like this one) will have a series of ten questions as starting points. But honestly, you can talk about whatever you want regarding the books (or questions)! You don’t have to answer all (or any) of the questions. If you see a question you’d like to discuss (and you haven’t read the book), go for it! I’d love to hear your thoughts regardless.

Wanderlove Discussion Questions

  • “It’s the really that gets me. She doesn’t believe me. And why should she? It’s not like I look particularly well-traveled. Or talented. Whatever that looks like.” (Chapter One) We all have a preconceived notion of well-traveled. What defines well-traveled? What does well-traveled look like in your eyes?
  • In the early stages of the novel, Bria ditches a group trip in exchange for non-itinerary based travel. Do you like planning trips (I love trip planning to a fault) or do you prefer a more spontaneous approach?
  • Rowan talks about how memories and dreams are interconnected. Do you believe that memories are “subject to interpretation”? (Chapter Six)
  • Bria calls out Rowan’s travel superiority. Have you ever encountered travel superiority? How do you deal with travel superiority while traveling? (Chapter Eighteen)
  • Travel is a matter of perspective. This is Bria’s first travel rule and I absolutely love it. How has travel shaped your perspective on what’s “offbeat” and what’s “touristy”?
  • What role does money play in travel? Do you feel like you need to be rich to travel? (Chapter Twenty Seven)
  • Bria, Rowan, and Starling all lie and keep secrets throughout the course of the book. Do you feel like travel provides a mechanism of dealing with skeletons of the past?
  • Bria records most of her trip through art (and I love that the book was peppered with sketches). Do you record your travels?
  • Throughout the novel, Rowan is caught reading different books, from classics to philosophy. Do you enjoy reading whilst traveling? (I struggle reading on sightseeing days. But I can read in an airport or car without a problem).
  • “Wanderlust is like itchy feet. It’s when you can’t settle down. But Wanderlove is much deeper than that . . . it’s a compulsion. It’s the difference between lust and love.” How do you feel about the concept of wanderlove? Would you use it in place of wanderlust?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Of course, these are just starter questions. There are no right or wrong answers. Feel 100% free to discuss anything regarding the book (or otherwise). I’ll be jumping in and responding as well throughout the course of the week!

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  • Vyas
    May 2, 2020 at 8:06 PM

    I used to think that “touristy” places (such as popular attractions or restaurants) were the only places you’re supposed to go to as a tourist. But previous travels have opened my mind to not just visiting those places, but also exploring and finding other things to do as a tourist regardless of how common or popular they may be.

    • Anshula Varma
      May 2, 2020 at 8:13 PM

      I think “Here Comes The Sun” by Nicole Dennis-Benn explores the darker side (and positive) side of popular commercial tourism really well. While I like many popular tourist spots, I’ve found that over time, they evolve into something that plays on what the tourist desires to see and showcases those factors to invite more tourists. Some of the “lesser-known” (I put lesser-known in quotes because most paths have been trodden in some way, shape, or form before) spots don’t have a reason to do that because they aren’t economically dependent on the tourist, which gives a more authentic snapshot of an area. But I do believe it is important to see both sides. xx – Anshula

      P.S. I guess Sonia talks about that in Wanderlove as well. ?

  • Jessie
    May 3, 2020 at 8:10 AM

    I HATE travel superiority. Just because someone has been to more countries than another person doesn’t make them or their life better. I know several people whose names won’t be mentioned who are digital nomads. Whenever they come home they always say things like you HAVE to travel more. travel will make you more open-minded. travel is the key to happiness. you should quit your job and travel. Every time I say I’m perfectly happy with my life, they look shocked or confused or say if only you went to some random city here. It’s frustrating because I love my job as a speech therapist and I don’t want to quit my job and travel. That’s not the only way in life.

    • Anshula Varma
      May 4, 2020 at 9:15 AM

      Hey Jessie, I agree. Travel is not the only way to experience life. I always say if you have the luxury of doing so, make time for what you love the most. If that’s art (like Bria) then art. If that’s baking, then bake more. If that’s filmography, film more. If that’s travel, travel more. I think your friends are passionate about travel but are slightly confused as to why everyone doesn’t share the same passion as them. I undestand how it can be frustrating because I can tell you are truly passionate about your job too. xx – Anshula

  • Ronan
    May 4, 2020 at 10:11 AM

    Just read the quote about wanderlove and I love the concept. I think I’m too used to wanderlust to remember to use it but I like the idea of it.


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