No Baggage is a memoir that will resonate with adventurers and homebodies alike - it's at once a romance, a travelogue, and a bright, modern take on the age-old questions: How do you find the courage to explore beyond your comfort zone? Can you love someone without the need for commitment or any expectations for the future?
When Clara Bensen arranges to meet Jeff Wilson on the steps of the Texas State Capitol after just a few email exchanges on OKCupid, it feels like something big is going to happen. Clara, a sensitive and reclusive personality, is immediately drawn to Jeff's freewheeling, push-the-envelope nature. Within a few days of knowing one another, they embark on a 21-day travel adventure from Istanbul to London - with zero luggage, zero reservations, and zero plans. They want to test a simple question: What happens when you welcome the unknown instead of attempting to control it?
Donning a single green dress and a small purse with her toothbrush and credit card, Clara travels through eight countries in three weeks. Along the way Clara ruminates on the challenges of traveling unencumbered while realizing when it comes to falling in love, you can never really leave your baggage behind.
©2016 Clara Bensen (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Ce n'est pas grave!
Very few authors can handle the job of reading their own audio book (David Sedaris is a brilliant exception) and this woman is not up to it. If its possible to read in a singsong monotone, she has mastered the skill.
The story itself irritatingly skips between past and present with far too much ME ME ME talk. Scant attention was given to actual details about the traveling. It got tiresome hearing about her monthly cycle, calling herself a "hormonal mess" as though she were pregnant instead of tolerating what millions of women take in stride.
The idea that a women recovering from a massive and extensive mental breakdown would take off "with no baggage " is hard to fathom, especially with one dress and a purse "only big enough for two tampons" not to actualmention with a guy she recently met on "okay cupid" defies logic. I could go on but I guess I should get back to listening to the last couple of chapters. I think I can, I think I can....
I'm not sure why I bought this book -- a partial reason might be that I lived in the Middle East for many years myself, and found myself wondering if they ventured into any territory I was familiar with. They didn't. And for the first hour or two, I struggled to keep myself from clicking it off -- really, this was too far out for this relatively staid old lady to comprehend. In truth I share very few character traits with either of these two. We would most likely disagree on every major issue, each of us thinking that the other was seriously out of touch.
But I didn't click off. And as the minutes ticked by, I found myself enjoying some description, giggling over some completely implausible event, or finding myself wondering what they'd do next. Long before mid-book, I was hooked, now looking for ways to extend my listening time, not end it.
This book is not really a travelogue. In fact, descriptions of places or local citizenry are few and far between, and then occur mostly because they illustrate some other story the author is trying to tell. Primarily this is a book about a very odd -- I hope -- relationship, two people so new to each other they don't even dare call each other "girlfriend" or "boyfriend", who make an even odder decision - again, I hope that's true -- to fly off to Turkey for a three week vacation, with no luggage of any kind, no reservations, no specific plans, not even a spare pair of undies stuck in a purse. Can you imagine?
Having said that, it might account for my eventual appreciation for the book -- these are things I would never do, would never have done, could never be comfortable doing. It's not the lack of "things". I'm not acquisitive, especially. And traveling to live half-way across the globe -- on two separate occasions -- has the beneficial side effect of teaching one not to acquire too much stuff. because ultimately, it's going to be left behind anyway. Still. No luggage at all? No shampoo? Walk around with greasy hair, unwashed body, filthy "ripe"
clothes -- until you happen upon someone who offers their washing up facilities? Good grief -- that's not in my personal playbook at all -- which might account for my finding the book so enjoyable. They did to it. And survived. (Key point to remember, female travelers: there are no tampons for sale, at all, in Turkey. Who knew?)
So? Good book. Will I listen again? Maybe. I do know this: parts of this book will stick with me forever. That, it itself, says something about how good it is.
Felt like I was taking a college class in psychology! Way too much thinking and analyzing for folks trying to travel and experience life off the cuff...found it hard to finish.
Extremely boring! I got this as a daily deal and it still wasn't worth the 3 dollars. It is like listening to the diary Ramblings of any post-graduate student trying to find their way in the world.
Promise of a good writer but only sees the world through eyes that cannot go beyond her own bubble. Maybe the home school thing? In any case, couldn't get through it. She needs to go out into the world ALONENESS and then come back and write another piece.
This book was amazing. The author opens herself to the reader (or listener) in a way that makes you feel a connection in terms of her feelings towards vulnerability and trying to enjoying the process, the journey. I enjoyed a lot listening to her story by her self. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read or looking to hear the introspective journey of a great author on an amazing trip.
I was pleasantly surprised that a daily deal book got me so immersed in its story. I bought the book because I was intrigued by the premise that a homebody would leave the comfort of her home to do some rather radical traveling. I would have been happy just reading about how anyone can successfully journey for 3 weeks from Turkey to England with little or no planning and with little more than the clothes on their back, with the added challenge of doing it with someone you barely know and with whom you are trying to negotiate a complicated romance.
I don't claim to be an expert or editor but I kind of want to say that this is non fictional chick-lit.
¨The author writes her perspective on love, life and self-discovery with clearly concise words and courageous honesty. Bensen's writing is easy to follow with no complicated word machinations. Her voice is clear and uncontrived - simplicity at its best. She is also a very decent narrator.
The real life characters are each superbly charming and refreshing with their unconventional, but honest, life philosophies. Both come off as being very gifted with great insight, wit and charm.
cute story about finding yourself again and/or finding a way back. a little slow on the narration so i played it at 1.4 speed.
This book was different from any I have read. I enjoyed it from start to finish. The author also read the book and she was perfect.
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