Elisabeth Eaves: All who wander are not lost

First aired on Q (18/8/11)


Every journey can be a voyage of self-discovery where we learn about ourselves, as well as about the places that we go. Elizabeth Eaves knows this better than most.

Originally from Vancouver, Eaves, a successful writer, spent much of her adult life travelling. Those journeys have taken her to the far reaches of the globe, from the mountains of Pakistan to the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Along the way, she also found romance. Her new book, Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents, is a memoir of 15 years of life and love on the road, and a meditation on what drives a passion for travel.

For Eaves, travel and love are closely linked. In fact, it was an early romance that ignited her passion for travel. At 19 years old she "happened to fall in love with someone who was a huge traveller," she revealed to Q guest host Zaib Shaikh. "He would send me letters and I thought that it was the most magical, most romantic thing in the world."

Thanks to the freedom and reinvention that travelling offered, Eaves returned to her backpack and map collection again and again in her twenties and thirties. "There was a tremendous appeal to the idea that I could have a double life," she said. "I could go from culture A to culture B and people in those two places would accept me but each would think of me very differently."

Now, at 40, she has settled down. When she was 34, she woke up one day wanting to go home but not knowing where that was. Since then, she has slowly but surely found it. These days, she lives in New York City and is engaged to be married. Her desire to travel is still there, but it doesn't dominate her decision making, as it did for many years.

"Now, I will be travelling in a different way."

Do you connect with Eaves's story? Do you too have (or once had) wanderlust? Let us know in the comments below.

WanderlustWanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents
by Elisabeth Eaves

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"Spanning fifteen years of travel, beginning when she is a sophomore in college, Wanderlust documents Elisabeth Eaves's insatiable hunger for the rush of the unfamiliar and the experience of encountering new people and cultures. Young and independent, she crisscrosses five continents and chases the exotic, both in culture and in romance. In the jungles of Papua New Guinea, she loses herself -- literally -- to an Australian tour guide; in Cairo, she reconnects with her high school sweetheart, only to discover the beginning of a pattern that will characterize her life over the long-term: while long-distance relationships work well for her, traditional relationships do not."

Read more at Seal Press.

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