Inspiring Travel Books: You Are One of Them

you are one of themIn the Inspiring Travel Books series I have mainly brought you travelogues, though I think a few weeks back I did share a cookbook.  Since the temperature is dropping (in the northern hemisphere, at least) and you’ll soon be wanting to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book, I thought I’d share a novel this time around.

You Are One of Them came recommended in a recent issue of The New Yorker.  It tells the story of two friends whose friendship is divided by something I would like to discuss: travel jealousy.

Travel is a luxury and I am fortunate to have been able to travel extensively.  Having recently started a Master of Arts program, travel is not in my near future for two reasons: all my money is going towards tuition, and even if I did have money I am somewhat chained to my laptop and wifi as I churn out paper after paper for the next two years.  Education is extremely important to me, and I believe that getting an MA will ultimately allow me to travel more (for work and with the additional money I’ll earn as I climb the career ladder), but I still feel pangs of jealousy when I see my friends’ travel photos.

One of my long-distance Facebook friends has had a pretty amazing year.  Let’s call her Lena (she’s Austrian… is that an Austrian name?).  Every day her new travel adventures appear in my Facebook feed.  There she is drinking champagne on a rooftop in London.  Oh, and now she’s yachting in Croatia.  Eating gelato on the Amalfi Coast.  Mud baths in Colombia.  Suntanning in Jamaica.  Partying in New York City.  And that’s just since March.  Not having seen her in a few years I’m not inclined to message her out of the blue and ask, “HOW DO YOU AFFORD ALL THAT?”  Instead, I just experience a few minutes of travel jealousy and then go back to writing yet another essay.

You Are One of Them deals with travel jealousy as well, though on an entirely different level.  When one childhood friend is selected to go on a trip to the USSR, and the other isn’t, their lives are changed forever.  The novel begins in Washington DC but the action quickly moves to Moscow, where the author paints a vivid picture of life in the city.  There is mystery, there are Cyrillic letters and there is validation that it’s okay to be jealous of your globetrotting friends.  Just what I needed.

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