Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Book Review: Tales of a Female Nomad

I just finished "Tales of a Female Nomad" last night and let me just say this - I think it is the first travel memoir that I have disliked. I disliked it so much that I thought about returning it after reading the first couple of chapters. But I kept telling myself that it was going to get better. Plus this blogger is having a virtual book club at the end of the month and selected this book, and I thought it would be fun to participate. The book sounded intriguing - it's basically about this woman who gets divorced in the late 80's and decides to start traveling to find herself. She starts off in Mexico and travels all over the globe, spending many years in Indonesia.

Well, the book fell flat for me. I didn't find the author very 'likeable', if that makes any sense. She kind of annoyed me at the beginning of the book - she gets to Mexico and then sort of panics about eating dinner by yourself. I just rolled my eyes and thought - really? You want to do all this traveling by yourself and be this independent woman but you are worried that people will think you are pathetic for eating alone? I sympathize with the fact that she was coming out of a 20+ year marriage (I think - don't have the book w/ me to verify the number of years, so I apologize if I am wrong on this), so was probably not used to dining alone - I am sure it was a tough adjustment to go from having a dining partner to flying solo. That said, I wouldn't go to one of the nicest hotels in the area and try to flag down a dining partner. If I was her, I would have saw it as an opportunity to become more comfortable with eating by myself. I vividly remember my first meals eating alone when I studied abroad in Australia. Was it uncomfortable? Yes. But I got over the discomfort pretty fast when I realized that no one really pays that much attention to you.

I also was bothered by the fact that this woman chose a nomadic lifestyle even though she had 2 children. When she initially started traveling in the last 80's, they were in college or graduating college, so were grown-up, to some extent. But you still need your parents at that age. At least I did and still do. If my mom decided to pack her bags and head to Indonesia for 8-10 years, and only visited for a month here and there, I would be extremely hurt and would question why she even had children in the first place.

I'll stop there. Suffice it to say, this is one book that I will probably consider selling at half-priced books or something like that. No need to keep this one around as I will never re-read it or lend it to someone!!

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