Welcome back to the #TravelGirlBookClub! Heat yourself up a cup of tea (let’s be real, pour your wine), and cuddle up with my next pick, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, by Kristin Newman. Go pick up your copy if you haven’t read this one yet.
If you missed it, last time we chatted about My Paris Dream by Kate Betts. This book is a bit of a shift, going from a romantic story of falling in love with one place, to a sexy story of falling in love with the whole world. In What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, Kristin Newman shares a number of stories from her numerous “vacationships” (a relationship exactly as long as a vacation). And, yes, if you don’t want to read about your narrator having sex across the globe, this might not be the book for you.
Here are some of the top themes that I pulled out of What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding:
Independence and Freedom
Kristin is really lucky in that her job allows her to travel a lot in the off season. As a result, she’s able to travel alone a lot, for weeks at a time. This is such enviable flexibility (not that you can’t travel with a full time job, but it sure is more challenging). Reading this book will make you long for that kind of independence, so that you can similarly travel a lot. That said, though, I think that the independence in this book is tied to loneliness. Kristin is frequently seeking connection with foreign men (even those with whom things clearly aren’t going to work out.) It’s a good reminder that the flip side of freedom can be loneliness and isolation. She often runs back to her friends and family in the state when things go south with those men, so even though she does have a lot of freedom, her friends and family keep her grounded, too.
Making You Feel Crappy About Relationships
Okay, I’m not sure if this is really one of the top themes of the book or not, but reading Kristin’s reflections on relationships and general love for single travel made me feel a little crappy about my relationship. Luckily for Dustin, I read most of this book on a plane with him seated next to me.
The depiction of single life in this book is one of freedom and adventure, and it made me feel a little weird that I’d never had a random hookup in a foreign country. I got over that pretty quickly when I realized I found my ultimate travel companion, but it’s still something I wanted to point out.
Falling in Love With Places Vs. Falling in Love With People
I have to say, the countries that Kristin depicted most compellingly (at least to me) were Israel and Iceland, and I think that’s because she didn’t have a vacationship in either. That meant that she focused more on the details of the country than the details of the lover she met, of course. I have to wonder if the implication is that she herself experienced cities more fully when she wasn’t experiencing them through a man. Is this a lesson to travel solo and not seek out a local lover? I guess it depends. It’s clear that Kristin thinks that she experiences many countries through their men, and meeting the locals is one good way of getting to know a culture. But, I would still say that focusing on your experience of a new country may lead you to make keen observations and really connect with a place.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments: how does falling in love with places vs. people affect travel for you?
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