Months ago, when I heard Samantha Brown speak, I loved what she said about just walking aimlessly around a city. Despite my best efforts to plan out a trip, it’s the serendipity that really forges memories. So when I had the chance to review The Wander Society by Keri Smith, the title alone was enough to get me excited.

The Plot: The author, Smith, stumbles upon a cryptic mention of The Wander Society in a used copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. It leads her on a journey to learn more about this organization, which is secret and anonymous. She finds symbols and newsletters around New York City, and adds her own research and wanderings to the pile to create the book.

What I Loved: The story itself made me wonder if it was fiction. It seemed so unbelievable. But everything I’ve found indicates that it’s true (either that or she set up the evidence online to support the book). Either way, I marveled at a group that didn’t have a Twitter profile or Meetup page. 

Smith is an artist, and she fills the pages of this book with altered photographs and her own graphics. It makes the book a fun and easy read. She also includes custom designed stickers with Whitman on them (the ultimate wanderer).

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What You’ll Get: Smith provides tips extrapolated from The Wander Society’s pamphlets on how to wander. The aim is to just set out and explore, and be open to whatever you stumble upon. She includes a quirky DIY section where you can learn how to knit a wrist cuff or neck pouch for your journeys (I didn’t opt to do that).

Who It’s For: This would make an excellent gift for your favorite traveler. Especially one who (ahem) tends to overplan. May it be inspiration for her to let loose and wander on her next trip.