Being a travel blogger sometimes has its perks and, it appears, getting free stuff is one of them. After responding to an email from HarperCollins we were excited to receive our first free gift – a review copy of The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World, sent to us all the way to Argentina from New York. Yes, that’s right friends, a free book – look out world, we’ve arrived!
The book developed after Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner, three friends from New York gave up their glamorous media careers and spent a year travelling around the world and blogging about their experiences. And when I say glamorous, I obviously mean stupidly soul-destroying and hellishly hard.
If I’m honest, I really didn’t think I’d like the book as I am rather fussy about literature and Chick Lit is definitely not my thing – even if it is about travel. I’m not even a fan of women-focused travel blogs – I really don’t need advice on which make-up to bring when travelling – so The Lost Girls seemed like it might just be a little too girly.
My other doubt was that their story didn’t actually seem that extraordinary to me. We’d already travelled around the world once already and, obviously, we’ve met many others who had done the same, and looking at their route it seemed fairly, well, ordinary.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed it. Even more surprisingly, Simon enjoyed it too! It was a fairly well written, easy read which I whizzed through in a few days. The depiction of the high pressure, career focused life in New York that the girls left behind made me realise that taking a year out to travel is, for a lot of people, still a big deal and that it really isn’t that common, especially in the US.
It made me think that, for many stuck on the traditional university – career – marriage – kids path, this book could open their eyes and show them that there are other possibilities out there. I guess it helps in a way that the girls are high-flying New York career types as people stuck on that path are more likely to relate to them than they are to your stereotypical flea bitten hippie travel bum.
Another thing that struck a chord was that almost everyone I know in their 20s is ‘lost’ and confused about what to do with their life in either their relationships or their work (or both). Reading about the Lost Girls helps us realise that we aren’t the only ones and that even the apparently successful are looking for ways to break out of the mould and do something different.
Interestingly, all of the women’s lives seemed to be much improved after travelling – they developed a better balance between work and life, and they were more able to choose their own path and focus on doing what they love. I don’t usually go for happy endings, but this one I can get behind.
Each chapter is written by a different Lost Girl – the three voices work well, each of them with their own issues and reasons for travelling. The girls are refreshingly honest about the downsides of travel. They share their experiences of crowded hostels, horrid toilets, difficult relationships, and getting burnt out after moving around too fast. Combined with amazing moments and magical experiences (such as trekking to Machu Picchu, connecting with locals while volunteering in Kenya, and participating in Masai tribal rituals), they give an accurate picture of life on the road.
If you are considering a round the world trip, The Lost Girls is an enjoyable insight into travelling life. If you aren’t sure about travel it could well inspire you to pack your backpack and get moving, but even if you are an experienced traveller it’s still a fun and easy read.
You can get your copy of The Lost Girls here.
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