When author Beth Whitman generously offered to send me a copy of her new book, Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo, it took me a few days to respond. After all, a guide geared toward women with “lipstick” in the title is the last book I would naturally pull from the shelves of my local Barnes and Noble. Being the crazy risk-taker that I am, I ultimately accepted, and it arrived in the mail a week later.
An overwhelming sense of curiosity lead me to open the book the same day I received it (a rarity for me). I quickly realized all of my (too embarrassing to mention) stereotypes about a guide for women travelers were unfounded. Beth weaves lessons learned from her own extensive travel experience with anecdotes from other women travelers of all ages. The result is a very inspiring read, regardless of one's gender.
Chapters cover everything from the reasons a person should travel solo (with the first reason being my personal favorite, “freedom”) to handling the reverse culture shock of coming home after a trip (hint: find a friend willing to listen to your travel tales). Beth's writing style, combined with the layout of the text, allow for even a slow reader like myself to make quick work of the 250 pages.
Published in March 2007, the guide is full of more than 150 websites covering almost all possible travel topics. Web referrals range from the well known, such as Flickr (photo storage), to the moderately known Globalfreeloaders (social network for travelers), to the downright strange, Onderwear (disposable underwear).
Judging from the amount of ink I spent on the pages of Wanderlust and Lipstick, I can confidently say there are valuable tips for seasoned travelers, as well as newbies. Among my favorites, are the following:
- Write down the name, address, and phone number of your accomodation in case you get lost, or a taxi driver cannot understand you.
- Eat your big meal at lunch, when you're more comfortable eating alone (also cheaper, and allows more time in the day to burn calories).
- Use a messenger bag instead of a regular backpack during the day to appear less attractive to thieves.
- Take travel warnings with a grain of salt. Bali was listed by the US as unsafe after the 2002 bombings, yet the US government encouraged travel to New York City after 9/11.
If you are looking for a great inspirational read with practical tips, I recommend picking up a copy of Wanderlust and Lipstick before your next trip.
Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo by Beth Whitman is available through Amazon.com for $12.21. Beth also publishes a companion web site, Wanderlust and Lipstick.