BookPeople is proud to partner with the Austin American-Statesman for their monthly Statesman Selects program. Each month, BookPeople will highlight the Statesman’s top recommended read for Austin. January’s pick is No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Austin author Clara Bensen. Bensen will join us here at BookPeople Thursday, January 21 at 7PM to speak and sign her book. Pick up a copy of the Statesman on Sunday, January 17 to read their review of the book!
This was not your average OkCupid date. First of all, it lasted three weeks. Second, they wore the same clothes everyday. Third, it took place in 8 different countries.
My grasp on good, old-fashioned reality is not terribly robust. I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up inside a Salvador Dalí painting or an interplanetary episode of “Doctor Who.” Yet, despite my surrealist leanings, even I was a bit startled to find myself hurtling toward the Croatian border with no bags, no change of clothes and no clue what was going to happen next. (more)
Newly recovered from a quarter-life meltdown, Clara Bensen decided to test her comeback by signing up for an online dating account. She never expected to meet Jeff, a wildly energetic university professor with a reputation for bucking convention. He sent her a message: “Do you have any ideas for travel experiments? I have a few things I dabble in, and I’m going to push one of these experiments to the nth limit in June.” Clara succumbed to curiosity and signed her name to the no-carry-on dotted line, and they booked two luggage-free flights to Istanbul.
Barely knowing each other’s names, they were off. A travelogue and a romance, this is a story that will resonate with adventurers and homebodies alike.
“Readers intrigued as much by modern romance as by world travel will appreciate this thrilling travelogue of an erratic relationship and the landscape of ancient and modern Europe.”–Booklist
“Bensen’s story of an unexpected—and at times magical—romance that developed from a chance online encounter is charming. Yet it is also insightful for the author’s observations about the conflicting desires for freedom and commitment that are the hallmarks of modern romance. An engaging memoir of travel, love, and finding oneself.”–Kirkus Reviews
ABOUT CLARA BENSEN
Clara Bensen’s Salon.com article “The Craziest OKCupid Date Ever” went viral in 2013 and was read by more than half a million people. The story of her luggage-less adventure attracted major national and international attention, with coverage in USA Today and appearances on The View and Fox News. No Baggage has also been optioned by New Line Cinema. Clara and her partner Jeff have made four subsequent no baggage trips, to South America, the Caucuses, Scandinavia, and Japan. She lives in Austin, Texas.