4 Books That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust

My teachers always told me I should read more books since I wanted to travel the world so badly. At first I didn’t understand what they meant, “how can reading make me travel?” But now I understand. Good books will take you completely out of the world you’re currently living, into a whole new place. Here are four books that will help you travel around the world.

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Us by David Nicholls
In the middle of the night, Douglas Petersen’s wife, Connie, informs him that she doesn’t want to be married to him anymore–actually, she isn’t sure if she does or not. When their ill-timed family vacation appears, Douglas believes this is his opportunity to mend his relationship with both his wife and his son, Albie. Nicholls characters are rich with emotional baggage as they travel through the many sights and sounds of Europe. Heart-breaking, relatable and a relationship where no one is to blame. You’ll see yourself in every character–drinking in Paris, watching tourists in Italy–and be rooting for the family until the very end.

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Image by Freut Cake

The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Warm, funny, and set in the beautiful Balearic island of Mallorca, the Post family’s vacation is one that is full of secrets, jealousy, and family members that push you past your limit. Frank and Jim Post are celebrating their anniversary and trying to make amends for a rocky patch in their marriage; their son Bobby and his much older girlfriend need money–fast; and their daughter Sylvia is desperate to lose her virginity to her Spanish tutor. While the setting will draw you in, the characters will have you devouring the book in hours.

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Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This little Italian coastal town named Porto Bergogna will entice you with its beauty and charm–something Walter is so good at capturing. Throughout the story, you are transported back and forth in time where the author captures the small stories of guests in a small hotel in the village. You find out what happens to each of the guests and how their lives and the lives of so many others were changed directly by each character. The novel is truly fascinating and you won’t want to put it down.

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An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington
Oh, Karl Pilkington. Because the man is best friends with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, he is bound to be pushed out of his comfort zone and let’s just say he gets pushed faaaar out of his comfort zone. The stories in the autobiography coincide with the TV show, where Gervais and Merchant paid for Pilkington to travel to the seven wonders of the world much to Pilkington’s dismay. The adventures and situations he gets up to will have you crying with laughter as well as his very Northern England-look at other cultures.

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Dear June // A Timecapsule

My very first vlog is up online for the whole world to see and judge me quite harshly on. I’ve never done any type of videos before, so it’s not very good at all. But, I enjoyed making it and trying something different that I can hopefully get better at.

Dear June,

So far this month, I have painted my nails thirty-one times. I haven’t brushed my hair. I ate six pints of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. And only cried twenty-two times. Mostly during TV shows, four times during HeyClaire’s video to her mom.

I started off the month by falling out of love and hiding it quite intensely. I didn’t realize it would take me three months and not responding to texts to finally get over someone. But, I stopped answering phone calls and text messages and left things to the last minute before canceling again. It’s still something I’m continuing to work on, but not very well.

June is always lonely for me. I used to love the summer as a kid, but the older I get the more I long for the Fall and new beginnings instead of the excessive heat of summer and my clothes sticking to the backs of my legs. Yet, this month was about rain, and more rain, and the continuous monotonous rain.

But then it became about the starts of projects and songs and books and movies and TV shows and candles and lots and lots of candles and friends. Actual friends. Which is strange for me to not have everyone I want to hang out with spread across the globe, but a small group I can call and go to a movie and dinner with. It became about learning new things and juggling three jobs and slowly trying not to lose my mind in the process.

June, you’ve been about learning to take chances and not be so scared to take the next step. I have been so scared lately. Scared to make the wrong step and ruin my life forever, but JK Rowling didn’t have her life figured out by 23 and I’ll figure it out one day. I hope. Maybe in July.

*went off on a different course whilst speaking, but this was the main idea.

15 of My Favorite Feelings

Yesterday, I watched Essie Button’s video about 15 of her favorite feelings. It made me giggle and really wonder about things that make me feel good. Sometimes you need to take a step back and think of good things when life is becoming a bit confusing and complicated.

1. When I take my bra off when I get home at the end of the day. This just has to be a universal feeling for women everywhere, right? When I take off that underwire contraption that makes my boobs nice and perky after work, it’s like they are taking a nice long, deep sigh.

2. Peeing after holding it in for a long time. Another universal feeling. I have one story that sticks with me about needing to pee desperately and that is when I got a little bit wasted in London at 19. I got on the tube just slightly needing to go, not too horrible, but as I sat there with the train moving back and forth the urge developed quickly. I was shaking my leg and even thought about just pissing in the corner because of how desperate I was. My stop wasn’t for another 20 minutes and when the doors finally opened, I ran to the grimiest toilets in the station. Best feeling ever releasing that. TMI? I thought so.

3. Completing a task that has taken me forever to do. For the few months, I have been translating a collection of short stories. I’m on the final story and getting to the end is such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

4. Talking to someone and you can tell they are genuinely interested in what you are saying. Sometimes, a lot of the time actually, I feel like I’m talking just to fill empty space and no one is really listening. But, when you are talking to someone and you can tell they are listening and you’re having a real conversation, that’s the best feeling in the world.

5. Popping your back. When you first wake up in the morning, turn over, and your whole back pops. This might possibly be the best feeling. Is that sad?

6. When my cat stretches and falls asleep at some weird angle. I have so much love for that little critter that I should be committed into an institution. She’s just so dang cute that I just want to snuggle up to her at all times.

7. Finally understanding something you’ve been struggling with. Especially math. Gosh, math was the worst thing ever.

8. Plucking that hair that’s just been teasing you for ages. This is totally TMI, but such a great feeling. Have you ever had a hair that just wasn’t on the surface, and you keep trying to pluck it but nothing comes and then finally, you pluck and out comes the hair! HOW SATISFYING IS THAT?!

9. Reading a really good book. Nothing really compares to reading a book that you’ve been wanting to read for a really long time, and it turns out to be wonderful. I was unsure of how I’d feel after reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, but I was pleasantly surprised. Follow me on GoodReads.

10. Finding the perfect pair of black jeans. I’m a sucker for a good pair of black jeans, but for some reason I always have a difficult finding the right pair (if anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!). My favorite pair of black jeans by UO fade so quickly even after cold washing and turning them inside out in the washing machine, so finding a pair that doesn’t fade fast and fits my body well is a great feeling.

11. An old couple holding hands just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Does any more need to be said?

12. How magical everything feels around Christmas time. It must be the songs, or the snow, or the fact that I can watch Love Actually on repeat without judgment, but Christmas always feels so magical to me. Everyone is in such a great mood and it feels like nothing can go wrong, unless you’re Clark Griswald.

13. When the leaves start changing colors in the fall and you finally get to wear those chelsea boots that have been gathering dust in the back of your closet.

14. Traveling somewhere new. I love airports. I know a lot of people don’t, but I love the feeling of going somewhere new and seeing other people sitting around waiting for their flights. I love airplanes and flying over the clouds and the anticipation of landing in a new place I’ve never been before. That nervous, excited energy that bubbles up is such a wonderful feeling.

15. Rubbing your eyes so much that you can’t stop because for some reason it has become addictive and you have to force yourself to stop rubbing.

GoodReads

I haven’t been on GoodReads in awhile and today I decided to update my page and set my 50 book challenge for the year. If you’re interested in following me and what I’m currently reading, click here. Below are a few of my favorite quotes that I’ve found in books throughout the past few months. I definitely haven’t been reading as much as I’d like, but I hope that will change soon. What are some of your favorite quotes?

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“I wouldn’t exactly describe her as strictly beautiful. She knocked me out, though…I mean when she was talking and she got excited about something, her mouth sort of went in about fifty directions, her lips and all. That killed me”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

“I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.”
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (I know this is said by the most narcissistic character in the novel, but it’s still a good one.)

“May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.”
Tina Fey, Bossypants

“Kissing him last night at the pep rally had been like kissing an underpass.”
George Saunders, Tenth of December

“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty. No one could die for you.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“I’m sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.”
J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

“At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.”

“She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris.”
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

2015 Goals // January

At the beginning of the year, like most people, I set myself goals to complete throughout the year. Most people call these things “resolutions,” but I opted out of that word, since I don’t like it too much, and hoped that using “goals” would actually make me try to achieve them. As January has already come and gone, it is only necessary to see how I am getting along. My goals were to read 50 new books and watch 50 new films this year, and so far, I have done well in one and not so well in the other.

Movies

1. Boyhood (liked it two weeks later)

2. Amazing Spider Man 2 (shite)

3. Kinky Boots (I want to see the musical desperately)

4. The Theory of Everything (sobbed my heart out)

5. Birdman (my head is still exploding from how amazing this film is)

6. Women Aren’t Funny (Bonnie McFarlanen is an absolute babe)

7. Gone Girl (controversial statement, but I loved it)

8. The Judge (half an hour too long)

9. Skeleton Twins (ehhh)

10. Sense and Sensibility (I had it on as background noise and got sucked in)

11. Chef (pretty cute)

12. Whiplash (I’ve never been so anxious in a film)

13. Not Another Happy Ending (soooo cheesy, in a good way)

Books

1. Northanger Abbey

2. Sense and Sensibility

3. Princesse de Cleves

Can you tell which one I’ve been more focused on? School is currently in session until May (and I finally graduate!), so until then, it’s basically going to be school related books. Not that I’m not enjoying Jane Austen, she’s magnificent. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to actually read one of her novels.

If you set goals and/or resolutions for yourself, how are you getting along?

One Day: A Thought

One Day: A Thought

School has had me reading things that I haven’t wanted to read, but this past weekend I re-read One Day by David Nicholls. I haven’t read a book I’ve wanted to read in such a long time, but during the second re-read I realized how really great books, books that aren’t forced on you, can just take you away. And to me, this is a really great book.

Good books make you think, they let you contemplate life and situations. Most of the time I don’t know what parts of me are real and what parts I have taken from books. I feel that a majority of my personality is taken from characters from novels molded into a reality. 

One Day was one of those books that really made me think about life and how fast everything can change. It was one of those books that made me realize that not everything is permanent. Yes, I knew that already, but how the novel set that fact up was so beautiful.

Each year on July 15th, you happen upon Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley. You just get a quick glimpse of how their life is on that day. Sometimes they are together, sometimes they are not, but as the back cover charmingly says, “they’re never not thinking about each other.” 

Life is so short, their twenty years came and went by so quickly. Their life together had complications, fights, tears, love, sex, lust, and so much more. It was real, everything about Em and Dex, Dex and Em were real. 

The book just made me think that I have to start living the life that was given to me. I need to take things by force, grab life by the balls. I need to stop being so scared about everything and learn to live for myself. If I don’t, then where will I be in ten years? Working at a Mexican restaurant like Emma while the guy I have been in love with since college graduation is shagging a bunch of girls? I don’t want that kind of life. I know what I want, I want to travel. I want to write and read. I want to meet someone who makes me want to learn. I desperately want to find someone who is interesting and finds me interesting. Someone who can make me laugh.

Why is that so difficult?

Emma and Dexter were, what I believe, everything I want. They weren’t perfect. They both had their flaws. Emma was self-righteous, self-conscious, aggravating, and thought she was better than everyone else in the world. Dexter was a pig, he had sex with anything that moved. He drank too much, smoked too much, never worked hard to get anything because everything was brought to him. But, towards their thirties they both grew up, separately. 

Dexter was married to someone else. Emma was in a long term relationship. But, they both were unhappy. Isn’t that how life is? You don’t always get the preferred hand, but you’ve got to play it anyway, hoping that one day you’ll play it just right. 

Life is crazy. So many things can get thrown at you from left field, but it’s how you handle it that shapes you into the person you grow up to be. Difficult situations will arise for everyone. People come and go from our lives. People die. Life happens. The most important thing to do in any situation is to pick yourself up from the wreckage and try as hard as you can to move on. It’s not the easiest thing to do. Memories appear in your mind, and you get stuck into the past, but day to day it starts to tick away and you will remember the good moments without sadness.

That’s what Dex did. He picked up the pieces of his life when everything was falling apart. He stopped drinking so much, he found happiness in the things around him, like Emma. Emma realized that she could do anything if she set her mind to it. And, she did. She finally wrote the book she so longed to write. She found inspiration all around her, she travelled to Paris, and the whole time Dex was there.

Em and Dex. Dex and Em.

Maybe I’m feeling sentimental. I’m always feeling sentimental. I’ve let so many friendships fall apart from lack of trying to make them work. I’m a bad friend. In the end, I guess I find it too hard to make an effort, when effort isn’t reciprocated. Should I continue to go out of my way to text, call, or Skype someone who doesn’t do the same back? Should I keep up with friendships with people who don’t start conversations first? 

In the end, sometimes, I feel that I’m just not going to have friends. I don’t like a lot of people. I’m rude without meaning to, mostly sarcasm, and I fear that people don’t understand my dry sense of humor. Most of the time, I feel that life has dealt me a pathetic hand, and I just suck at playing. But, other times, I feel so blessed with the people in my life.

I believe that everyone comes into your life for a reason. Serendipity and all that. Accidents of fate. You meet everyone for a reason, whether good or bad because those people teach you lessons in your life. The lessons I have learned this year is to start being a better friend, sister and daughter. I need to learn how to say no, and to finally making the steps towards the life that I want. The travel life, the writing life, the multiple experiences life.

It’s time to move on. Wherever that takes me.