Study Guide

Me Before You Exploration

By Jojo Moyes

Exploration

There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren't in a hurry. (1.1)

If you have an exact count of the number of footsteps between two locations, then you either A) have OCD or B) have walked between those two locations way too many times. Of course, it just might be both.

"So? What's so weird about that?" (7.88)

Lou's never really traveled from her small town, period, much less lived somewhere else. She's always felt destined to live her entire life within its narrow boundaries.

There are places where the changing seasons are marked by migrating birds, or the ebb and flow of tides. Here, in our little town, it was the return of the tourists (11.3)

Although Lou has done little traveling herself, she finds great comfort in observing the multitude of people who visit her small town during the tourist season. Maybe it's because she's secretly jealous of them. Maybe it's just because they help her gain insight into the outside world. Either way, she's fascinated by them.

I began to compile a new list—things you cannot do with a quadriplegic. (16.59)

In her quest to find suitable trips for Will, Lou learns just how many limitations are placed on him due to his condition. That must be rough for someone as accustomed to traveling as he is.

It was Ritchie, that chat-room stalwart, who had come to my aid in the end. (23.18)

It's interesting to us that Lou uses the internet to explore the outside world, making personal connections with people on the other side of the planet. Who said that computers make us less social?

I don't know if it was the journey, or because this was the most beautiful place I had ever been in my life, but I felt suddenly tearful. (23.35)

Lou is blown away when she arrives in Mauritius, a small island off the coast of Africa. She's hardly traveled anywhere before, but now she's going to one of the most beautiful and picturesque places on the planet. Talk about jumping straight into the deep end.

I had to remind myself that, for most of his life, this had been Will's domain—this globe, these wide shores—not the little annex in the shadow of the castle. (23.37)

When Lou visits Mauritius, she finally gains some insight into the globetrotting life that Will enjoyed before he was paralyzed. He was a modern-day explorer, visiting every exotic locale you can think of. If anything, however, these former travels have only heightened the trauma his injury has caused him. He's gone from having absolute independence to having none whatsoever.

I slowly began to suspect I was actually in paradise. I had never, in my life, imagined that I would spend somewhere like this. (23.42)

For Lou, Mauritius doesn't just provide a nice tan and some good feels—it gives her a whole new perspective on life. Just six months ago, she assumed that she would never leave the borders of her small town, and now she's jet-setting like she's in the one percent.

Every time I thought about heading back to England, a great claw of fear gripped my stomach and began to tighten its hold. (23.85)

Of course, the downside to visiting someplace as wonderful as Mauritius is that it puts all of the faults of Lou's hometown into high relief. How can she go back to living in a place so boring after seeing the beauty that the outside world has to offer?

And stepping out from behind the table, I [...] set off down the street toward the parfumerie and the whole of Paris and beyond. (e.32)

Although Lou is devastated by Will's death, their brief time together has given her a newfound conception of the beauty of the world. No longer is she content with spending her days hemmed in—now she wants to explore.