This post contains recommended links to products and services. While you will not accrue any additional costs to support my blog, I may receive compensation if you purchase these products or services.
If you’re a fan of memoirs, strong women demonstrating and embracing vulnerability, with a bit of culture and travel tips thrown in, you will love this book. I did.
Initially, this book spoke to me because I was heading to Madrid, Spain for my first week-long solo trip. I thought it would provide some great travel tips and insight for an American to experience Spain through the eyes of another.
Unfortunately, the whirlwind of launching my new travel and lifestyle blog and business the week prior, planning for my Madrid trip as well as a quick side trip to Salem and Boston, and trying to fit 12 days into a carry-on (I did!) didn’t allow me 10 minutes to run to the post office to pick up my Advance Reader Copy (ARC) before I left.
When I returned home after a week and a half, immersing myself into Susan Lewis Solomon’s world of change was exactly what I needed to nourish my soul.
I have many passages highlighted in the book – some travel-related as I plan to return as I didn’t get to experience everything I wanted. Most importantly, I need to return for Spanish olives and olive oil. I planned to buy them from the duty-free shop before I boarded my flight thinking I had plenty of time because my gate was right downstairs. It wasn’t. I had to jump on a tram and then walk 20 minutes…no time for olives!
While this book was set in Spain and is part travelogue, it is really more about a woman’s journey of losing her comfortable sense of self and discovering and embracing a new self among many changes and circumstances beyond her control.
As I mentioned previously, the timing of this book was perfect. I recently resigned from a comfortable career after 25+ years to try something different…starting my own freelance writing business and an independent travel agency.
While I have nearly 30 years of writing/editing experience (and am a frequent traveler), I’m still going through a lot of change and uncomfortable uncertainty. Lost and Found in Spain provided comfort and supportive counsel while I explored (and continue to explore) my own new meaning and purpose.
Here is just one passage that I could have written myself…so relatable at this stage in my life.
“I savored every single day…I woke up each morning with a completely open schedule and no agenda…I took a lot of comfort in this free time. At the same time, deep-seated anxiety about our future was mounting.”
I also appreciated reading about the cultural differences. Where she writes, “Madrid is not a morning town,” I honestly laughed out loud as that is an understatement.
On my first night I had been up for more than 30 hours when a large group decided to sing, dance and clap below my balcony. It was around midnight on a Wednesday night. I learned it wasn’t uncommon for the people of Spain to eat dinner at 10 p.m. or later. They laughed when I told them dinner in the States is typically around 6 or 7 p.m.
I also highlighted many places in her memoir to explore and dishes to try when I return. Paella was definitely my favorite. “For the next three years, I would connect with Spain the way a true Spaniard would: by eating my way through it.”
A few other favorite passages.
“Travel, at its best, pushed you beyond yourself. Your experiences challenge your own parochial assumptions.”
“I uncovered a deeply submerged part of myself, far off the beaten path.”
“You really can find home anywhere.”
The final message in her memoir was if she was talking directly to me. I don’t want to spoil anything as it’s a great ending so will only highlight one sentence: “Take the risk, even if it feels scary or uncomfortable.”
Special thanks to Susan Lewis Solomont and Book Savvy PR for a complimentary book in exchange for an honest review.