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Everywhere But Home Book Review

10.13.21
Everywhere But Home by Phil Rosen

As someone whose passion for travel almost equals my love for books, I adore reading travel memoirs. And so, when travel blogger Phil Rosen got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in reading his debut, Everywhere But Home, I jumped at the chance and quickly bought myself a copy. A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to interview Phil on my podcast about his Desert Island Books, and as soon as we wrapped up our recording I moved his memoir to the top of my TBR pile and later that afternoon began it.

Everywhere But Home Book Review

A genre that I will never tire of, travel-memoirs have long been one of my go-tos when I’m in need of a heavy dose of escapism, and as soon as I begun Everywhere But Home, I couldn’t put it down. A memoir that recounts Rosen’s two years spend in Hong Kong teaching English, as well as documenting his time travelling to Singapore, Bali, Thailand, and Germany – a trip that happened in the midst of the recent pandemic. As well as detailing the day-to-day intricacies of navigating a new life overseas and his experience of adjusting to life as an expat, Rosen does a brilliant job of looking at why we tend to view settling down, material possessions and prestigious job roles above and beyond the chance to travel and live beyond the society’s self-imposed boundaries.

A memoir that beautifully weaves vivid descriptions and stunning prose alongside musings and reflections on adventure, loneliness, gratitude, homesickness, and uncertainty, Everywhere But Home offers a timely reminder that life is short, and that seeking awe and adventure is key to a life well lived.

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There was much I loved about this book – the escapism it offered; the skilful storytelling, the rich sense of setting; but most of all I loved the hope it gave me for the travel and adventure I’m yet to experience; the people I’m yet to meet; and most of all, the tales I’m yet to tell.

Everywhere But Home Summary

Two years of living abroad, two years of stories, encounters and self discovery. These are tales from everywhere but home. After graduating college, Phil Rosen dropped everything, packed up, and moved to Hong Kong. He launched a travel blog, taught English to locals, and ventured all through Southeast Asia meeting people, seeing places, and writing about it all the while.

Travelogues covering different countries alternate with chapters that raise questions of self-discovery, purpose, and finding meaning as a recent college graduate. There are stories from Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Bali, and more. Rosen’s musings on travel and life after college, escaping expectations, and the lifelong chase for freedom ring truer today than ever before. Every chapter gets closer and closer to answering the question, “What are young people really supposed to do in life?”

Further reading

I loved this piece from Phil on Why I Write (as told by a travel blogger).

Phil Rosen author bio

Phil Rosen grew up in California, and now lives in New York City, where he works as a journalist and writer. Between his undergraduate and graduate degrees, he spent nearly two years living in Hong Kong, writing what eventually became his first book, Everywhere But Home: Life Overseas as Told by a Travel Blogger, which was a #1 bestseller on Amazon.com. 

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Phil received his Master’s of Science degree from the University of Southern California and has reported for Business Insider, Fortune Magazine, BuzzFeed News, and other outlets. He’s also spent time living in Spain and Germany, and has travelled extensively through Europe and Asia.

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