The Backpack Years by Stefanie Wilson
The Backpack years is a dual autobiography from the authors of this book and is about their early adult years spent travelling in Asia, Australia and parts of Europe.
It begins a couple of years into the 21st century with separate accounts of how Stef and James came to be backpackers and where they met. Following chapters detail their times together and their struggles with work, relationships and travel.
The book is written in alternate chapters from Stef and James, so at times there is an overlap of a situation or a tale. These are the memoirs of two young people making their tentative steps into adulthood and all the frustrations and responsibilities that a life as a couple brings.
As a memoir about an important era in their lives, I believe that this works well and I’m sure that close family and friends may well enjoy reading this as it will fill gaps in their knowledge of the couple.
However, if you picked this up for its backpacking and travel content, do remember that events took place 15-20 years ago. I’m not sure that I was the right audience for this book, I enjoy armchair travel, but some of the things that these young people saw and took part in made me quite sad.
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Part travel, part romance, part failing at life, The Backpack Years intertwines two memoirs, charting Stef and James’s six-year journey from happily wandering to miserably settled and back again.
Straight-laced Stef left America to study abroad in Spain, letting loose and falling head over heels for two things: a handsome local and travel. Travel won out.
James had a future in England he felt he’d already destroyed. Fueled by debt and a deteriorating relationship with his father, James fled to Australia and found something better.
After language mishaps in France and a topless night in Tenerife, an awful offal job in Warrnambool and a kidnapped manicure in Bali, Stef and James meet at an Irish pub in Sydney.
Though their adventures are pulling them in different directions, they ditch the single life to forge a path together.
Can the two navigate their way through red-tape, relocation, miscommunication, and a last ditch, make-or-break trip to try to save their relationship, or will this be their last adventure as a couple?
Spanning thirteen countries and four continents, The Backpack Years is a story about how far we’re willing to go to be with the one we love.