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Finally! A Travel companion for young women encouraging them to pursue their dreams fearlessly and live and travel confidently.

I cannot stress how long I have waited for a piece of travel writing half as well written and informative as this. Vagabondess truly is the ultimate feminist guide to solo travel, written from the very real and raw perspective of a young, outgoing traveller who has her head screwed on. There is a common misconception that wanderlust is filtered and "Instagrammable", when the reality of committing to a travel is much more layered. Israel acknowledges this every element of her writing. She is consistently aware that though this type of lifestyle truly is enriching in a variety of manners (spiritually, personally - though perhaps not financially!) it is not holidaying. Whether you're a vagabondess like the author or a casual tourist, ethical travel is something everybody should exercise in their foreign adventures.

That aside, I am genuinely excited reading of her vast globe-trotting experiences and visual narratives, rich in imagery and centering strongly on themes of cultural curiosity, self-awareness, risk taking and independence. Jam-packed with wanderlust, this book certainly has a real zest for life, adventure and experiencing not just the sights of places, but the smells, tastes, sounds and social scenes.

What I love about this book is its encouraging message for young women to become 'yes women', thereby casting away the societal shackles that restrict ambitious minds from venturing abroad through fear-mongering. In response to the common manipulation of fear, doubt and shame used largely by the media as "socially conditioned barriers to women", Israel bites back:

'I consider it my responsibility to honour the life given to me by living every damn minute of it'.

This book does scream Carpe Diem, but is also responsible in the sense that it encourages you all the way to be that happy, free, fearless vagabond you read about in books or blogs whilst acknowledging elements of the travelling lifestyle often overlooked, such as the value of having a support system to rely on when the unexpected may occur, or recognising the importance of some degree of financial stability, should you wish to pursue such adventures. Struggle is part of the process, but the examples Israel gives you as to why it is worth the odd inconveniences will have you booking a one-way ticket in no time! Well-informed, of course.

The narrative's variety in presentation was another mitigating factor that contributed to me not being able to put the book down. Diary entries, commentaries, anecdotal interjections, lists and even poetic prose! This is one didactic, expressively honest and enjoyable read. I would recommend this to anyone taking or considering a gap-year especially, though I cannot think of any young woman whom I would not recommend this very inspirational and reassuring book to.

Reviewed by

In my final year of study as a Classics student, I am a publishing hopeful with books on my mind and if a story really grips me, I am a very fast reader! I spend most of my time studying the world of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, which I talk about on my blog ItzaNif.
Bookstagram: SunshineOnAShelf


About the author

Toby Israel has traveled and lived many places and is at home everywhere. She believes that words are medicine, and that stories can heal the world. Vagabondess: A Guide to Solo Female Travel is her first book. view profile

Published on May 13, 2020

Published by

50000 words

Genre: Travel

Reviewed by