Three days spent chin-deep into Girls Who Travel, I am finally able to shift my gaze away from the book, only because I’ve just finished it. Hardly a fan of fiction, I found myself hanging on author Nicole Trilivas’ every word, as we followed Kika Shores’ whirlwind of adventure on two continents.
Who is Kika Shores? Based on her physical description and charming, spontaneous personality, the immediate image that comes to mind is Gossip Girl’s iconic Serena van der Woodsen, bouncing up and down the NYC streets in a cloud of beach-blonde hair, smiles all around. But Kika is way cooler. Why? Well, this girl is a total boss. From India to Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Istanbul, her desire for adventure is nothing short of insatiable. She’s the type of girl who’d follow her object of attraction until she obtains it, whether it’s a steamy romance or a box of macaroons. Unapologetically sincere, Kika firmly stands her ground in every situation, establishing herself as the ultimate travel girl role model. Her wits and love for the f-word will immediately have you falling for her.
Kika is an embodiment of you and me. A twenty-three-years-old solo traveler, she’s already made up her mind: experiences over objects. She doesn’t care for designer labels, because she’d much rather play beach soccer and chug beers in Uruguay. I vigorously nodded my head in approval at Kika’s rants on corporate life and backstabbing office bitches, as this is all too familiar. Trapped in the role of a “corporate imposter leeched of all color,” Kika makes a run for it, accepting a serendipitous job offer that would once again get her across the ocean. The series of events that follow is a crazy lineup of romances, both of the past and present, coupled with a deep existential question every traveler faces at one point or another. To some, diving into a backpacking adventure along the Banana Pancake Trail may seem utterly terrifying, but to us, travelers, settling down in a city with a steady job is equally as frightening. Holy shit, she just DEPOSITED her money instead of taking that trip to Malta! How do we reconcile the desire for constant globe-trotting with the wanting to succumb to the seduction of staying still? Am I changing? Who would I become if I stopped traveling and stayed put for a while? These are some of the questions Kika ponders while cruising the Amalfi Coast amid a turbulent romantic fallout.
Eager to discover her epiphanies and learn more colorful phrases (Jesus Christ on a bicycle!), I devoured the pages quicker than I wished to, ultimately hoping that the good people of Hollywood would produce a movie based on the novel. Author Nicole Trilivas does an outstanding job in bringing the characters to life in incredible detail, leaving the reader with the feeling of truly having met each and every one of them. Flirting with the idea of travel as a pursuit of passion VS an escape plan, Trilivas draws conclusions that only a true, experienced traveler would ever come to, further cementing the fact that Kika is the ultimate travel girl, the chick that would pass you a cold beer on the beach in Thailand and try to greet you in your native language.
I absolutely recommend Girls Who Travel to all travelers who enjoy twists, turns, some colorful language and serendipitous resolutions in a relatable, yet exotic context.