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Book Review

‘No Baggage’


Months after a tentative recovery from a mental breakdown, Clara decides to dive back into life with gusto. She has a stable office job, her own small apartment,book 6.9 and she meets Jeff on a popular online dating site. She was sensitive and reclusive, fragile and afraid to venture out. Jeff is an academic professor living in his office and prone to taking spontaneous trips. After just a few dates, Jeff convinces Clara to quit her job, and they agree to set out on a risky travel experiment spanning eight countries from Istanbul to London in three weeks. The catch? No reservations, no plans, and best of all, no luggage.

Wearing only a single green dress and a small purse that holds only the necessary items needed for the trip, Clara and Jeff travel through the eight countries, and their adventures include serendipitous couch-surfing hosts, rowdy political protests, an encounter with security at the Parthenon and a grueling 23-hour bus ride. As their travels continue, Clara begins thinking the nature of their relationship (both had initially agreed would remain open) was more than she had bargained for. Her feelings for Jeff had grown far stronger than an uncommitted relationship would be able to accommodate.

Clara’s story will resonate with adventurers and homebodies alike. It’s an engaging memoir of travel, love and finding of one’s self. This book makes you think about finding the courage to explore beyond your comfort zone and ask: Is it possible to truly leave our baggage behind? CV


Donna Kalsch enjoys being outdoors and is excited to explore all of the summer fun around town!

Prep Iowa



By Clara Bensen

Running Press

January 2016

Hardback $25

272 Pages

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