Book Review: The Wander Society

This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.


to walk/explore/amble in an unplanned or aimless way with a complete openness to the unknown

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I’d never given much thought to wandering. When I travel, I wander. I amble down streets, unsure of where I’m headed, but excited to find it once I get there. I allow myself to get lost, to abandon my desire for control in favor of being open to serendipity.

So why can’t I do that in my everyday life?

I was given a copy of The Wander Society by Keri Smith in exchange for a review. I didn’t really know what to expect, but what I got was completely something else. More of a journal with amazingly creative art, the book introduces the reader to a subterranean organization called — you guessed it — The Wander Society. Smith uncovers a cryptic note in a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which leads her down a rabbit hole of discoveries.

She finds subtle signs and evidence of this group, who remains anonymous. Their message: wander. Explore your city or the country without aim, and let it take you somewhere. Smith contributes to the cause by providing tips DIYers will love, like how to create a wandering notebook or a wandering stick.

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Her graphics make the book what it is. She alters photos (always masking the eyes, which makes for an interesting take on anonymity, and even includes custom designed stickers with Walt Whitman’s image on them (the ultimate Wanderer).

Since reading this book, I’ve tried to focus my efforts on having no aim when I walk my dog. It’s difficult to wander completely in a city, but I do my best!

Insider Tip
If you’re a traveler like I am, this is a great gift to yourself (or another fellow traveler.) Let it inspire you to let go of agendas on your next trip and just see where a path (beaten or unbeaten) will take you.

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Where to buy
The Wander Society (
By Keri Smith
Published By Penguin Books

The Wander Society book review is a guest post by California-based travel blogger Susan Guillory of Unexplorer. Penguin Books supplied her with this book for review purposes. All opinions are her own.