When Wandering the Globe Is a Feminist Choose-Your-Own Adventure

 

Concepts around travel and gender have been a focus of Intan for some time, so it’s no surprise they feature heavily in her debut novel. The Wandering bills itself as a novel about “travel and displacement, capturing those who are tempted by the edges, those in motion and paralyzed, those who flee and get caught.” You basically jump from section to section, making decisions that send you down a fork in the plot that introduce you to a cast of “travelers, tourists, migrants, all in their escape, border crossings, searches for home, routes, and emergency exits.”

Then you flip the book back to page one and start all over again.

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But even though her book is about travel, and she’s expected to appear at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival this week in the heart of Indonesia’s “find yourself” territory, Intan doesn’t believe in all that “get lost and rediscover yourself” bullshit. The whole notion smacks of white privilege and the kinds of inward-looking idleness that wealth can afford.

“Travel shouldn’t be an achievement,” she said. “I mean, what about those who can’t afford to ‘get lost’ in a faraway country?”

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