I initially connected with Lauren through her blog Never-Ending Footsteps. I enjoyed reading about her mishaps adventures, especially as ours were just beginning. I knew about some of her anxieties and multiple fears, but in reading her book How Not to Travel the World I’m honestly surprised she ever stepped out of her parents’ home.
When you read about all the places she’s been and discover that she had somehow managed to not eat rice or eggs until her travels in her mid 20s, you’ll be pretty stunned. I know I was.
I knew she had a lot of . . . issues around food, so when she and her boyfriend Dave met up with us and another blogger friend in Vietnam to eat lizard, I was very interested to see how this would turn out. Looking back at that night while discovering she had never eaten rice before her journey, I was even more amazed.
Pretty early on in her book you’ll read about one of my favorite stories from her—the time she got sucked into a tea house scam in China and ended up punching one of the women in the face. (It’s on her blog, too, if you want to check it out.) It’s even funnier when you realize just how terrified she was of travel in the first place.
And she didn’t start out in some super easy place like Paris where things would be closer to her sheltered life in the UK. She decided to jump in the deep end first, and I read in fascination as she made the big hop from Europe to Asia shortly after leaving home.
Talk about ripping off the Band-Aid!
Lauren has a very witty and engaging style of writing. I like that she can not only verbally paint a picture of her surroundings for me, but she is able to bring the reader into her emotional state as well. You share her anxiety as you read what’s happening.
I’m generally not very keen on memoirs, especially travel ones. However, Lauren’s book is definitely an exception, and I highly recommend it to anyone. Even if you aren’t that interested in travel, it’s fascinating to see her journey of progression as she slowly overcomes more and more of fears and functions amazingly well while riddled with anxiety.
I mean can you imagine setting out on a round-the-world trip while you’re pretty thoroughly convinced that almost everything you eat, drink, or do will be the cause of your demise? Especially when you have experiences like almost careening off the side of a mountain in Thailand when your scooter’s brakes go out.
This isn’t only a collection of crazy incidences, it’s also an insight into the world of living with anxiety. Lauren is an inspiration and a great example of perseverance in the face of incredible fears.
This is a book full of rollercoaster emotions and nail-biting moments that is just hard to put down.
You can purchase How Not to Travel the World at Amazon.