Wendy in Havana, Cuba.
Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals: Adventures in Love and Danger
The quirky, hilarious memoir of a young woman’s travels to some of the least hospitable vacation spots on the planet and her quest to find the meaning of home.
Just when gainfully employed 20-something Wendy Dale thinks she can’t take another moment of corporate tedium, her parents impulsively sell everything they own and move to Honduras with no plan. And then things get interesting. What begins as a harmless family visit explodes into an around-the-world adventure that finds Dale navigating some of the world’s most dangerous corners, with no intention of running for cover.
But while her hair-raising trek through Beirut, or her black-market shopping spree in Cuba might be chalked up to wacky, worthwhile life experiences, it’s in Costa Rica that things begin to spin out of control — when Dale falls in love with a man imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. "I like to think that I’m a typical traveler, that my idea of a good trip is pretty much the same as the next guy’s," writes Dale. But as this edgy, honest and unforgettable narrative unfolds, she discovers that a successful "vacation" — much like that elusive thing, happiness — can be created in the most unlikely places on earth.
– Vogue Magazine
– Outside Magazine
"Dale has an amazing ability not only to find intrigue and drama and hardship but to meet them all with an undampened sense of humor and a roving eye for the absurd. And by getting entangled in other people’s lives, as opposed to hiking through rain forests, she enjoys glimpses into worlds forever closed to the average tourist. A few years ago, Janet Malcolm, writing in the New Yorker, complained that she ‘always found travel writing a little boring’ because ‘travel itself is a low-key emotional experience, a pallid affair in comparison with ordinary life’ … which is absolutely true, unless you travel like Wendy Dale."
– Thomas Swick, travel editor of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"This is a wonderful book – not a subversive treatise on rule-breaking as the title might suggest, but a witty, insightful memoir of a young woman from an offbeat, though well-traveled family."
"This is a very smart, very funny book. Wendy Dale is an extremely talented writer who can make even the scariest vacation sound like a good time. I’m off to buy a new suitcase and a few extra passports right now."
– Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and author of Kick Me
"With grace, charm and abundant humor, Dale narrates her meandering story of a childhood regained, ‘a chance to make rash decisions, to take wild risks, to lose everything knowing I’d still have plenty of time to earn it all back.’"
– Time Out New York
"Funny, impulsive, and alluringly naïve, Wendy Dale is repeatedly swept into adventure and trouble and love, mostly when she’s looking the other way. I had a great time going along on her wacky journey. I read the book in one sitting, reluctantly getting up midway to make a sandwich, placing the open book on the counter so I didn’t have to stop reading."
– Rita Golden Gelman, author of Tales of a Female Nomad
"Mix David Sedaris, Lucille Ball, and a fifth of tequila in a blender [and] you get Wendy Dale, who is quite possibly the funniest travel writer since Homer. But strain off the foamy giggles and you’re left with a raw, smart, and passionate woman in search of herself and awestruck at the beauty of even the ugliest corners
of the earth."
– Deborah C. Kogan, author of Shutterbabe