Book Review: Living without Reservations

Book Review: Living without Reservations

By Barbara Singer
Hear Me Roar Press, 2020
ISBN 978-098-432540-5
softcover, $18.95

Reviewed by Molly Remer, MSW, CCCE

A spirited tale of personal adventure, Living without Reservations is a travel memoir written by a woman who at age 44, “quits” her life and sees the world. Marketed as The Secret meets Eat, Pray, Love, Living without Reservations explores Barbara Singer’s journey of self-discovery.

Left adrift after a series of life changes (daughter to college, divorce, death of fiancé), Barbara decides to start, “collecting experiences rather than things” and that she never wants to be someone who dreams of “someday,” but never actually follows her dreams. Her first trek is a cross country drive to Alaska with her father in a small RV. After Alaska, she lives and works for a time on a small island and then sets off by sea as first mate on a private sailboat. She and her traveling companion spend over 3 months sailing from port to port in the many small islands of the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and the Dominican Republic. After the sailing expedition, she travels to her beloved Italy. Living in a small village in Tuscany (and later in Florence), she studies Italian, enjoys a slow-paced life, and meets a handsome Italian winery owner. A somewhat strained relationship with her daughter is a substory that lends a humbling element to the exhilaration and excitement of Barbara’s travels,

Though a postscript minimally address her financial situation (not a “trust fund baby”), it remains unclear how her trips are financed or how realistic the suggestion to “just do it” is for the average person. However, there is a helpful section available on her website with ideas and tips on how you, too, can “quit your life.”

While on ongoing refrain of, “I’m the luckiest girl in the world,” started to get on my nerves a little by the end of the book (you’re not a “girl,” you’re a woman!), Living without Reservations is an engaging and inspiring memoir with heart, courage, honesty, and passion.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

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