When I received The Lost Girls in the mail, I was excited to open the yellow squishy package for a few reasons. One, I had heard about these ladies’ adventures, read their website here and there, and wanted to dive into their travels. And two, a major book publisher actually addressed a label to yours truly. My life is now complete.
The Lost Girls is a travel memoir by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner. Their tagline states, “Three friends. Four continents. One unconventional detour around the world”. That detour takes these three twenty-somethings from their fast paced lives in New York City to Peru and Brazil in South America, Kenya in Africa, India, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia in Southeast Asia and throughout New Zealand and Australia. They are all searching for something. Holly craves adventure, but has the model boyfriend she would be leaving behind to travel the world. Amanda falls short of receiving a promotion, wanting to get away and find something more than working 12-hour days. Jen finds herself in a relationship filled with questions and concerns, needing an escape. They decide to leave their media jobs in the Big Apple for lugging backpacks, sleeping with cockroaches, having monkeys land on their heads on occasion, and a fully stamped passport for one full year.
From hiking the Inca Trail to tussling with a nasty cab driver in Hanoi, these women have their fair share of adventures. Based on a travel standpoint, The Lost Girls gave me itchy feet. No, I don’t have some sort of foot problem. Those of you that are regular readers know I love travel stories. I think they inspire people to actually get out there and go. If a book inspires travel, I am all for it. The Lost Girls create this notion from the beginning. They are seeking something more in their lives and hope travel will help them discover it. Holly, Jen, and Amanda may not come up with all of the answers they were looking for, but the route to trying to be found has its own plan for these women.
A work written by three women had me wondering if they would all mesh together. Would they find their own voices and writing styles and would it work? I think for younger women who love to travel, you can appreciate the different personalities and viewpoints behind each lost girl. For me, I found myself wondering which lost girl would I be. I decided on a combination of all three. I think that is the point. You want to find characters you can connect with on some level. When Holly finally has it with the hostel-party scene, I couldn’t help but think, “That’s me”. As Amanda rushes off to find the nearest Internet point from Peru to Kenya, I found myself in her determination to stay connected with the world back home, always wanting to advance her writing career. As Jen hesitates about traveling solo and eventually takes the leap in Bangkok to go it alone, I found myself in her mindset, scared but also willing at the same time.
I will say when I saw how long the book was I was a little taken back. Questions of “how will I read this?” came to mind just like in high school when the teacher assigns Beowulf to read over the weekend. Can they be serious? However, I was surprised how quickly these stories read. I found myself up until 3 AM, convincing myself I could read one more chapter from Jen, Holly, or Amanda. There were a few chapters here and there that didn’t do much for me and I did not see what they added to the overall picture. However, bottom line, The Lost Girls was no struggle to read or enjoy. Their adventures are insightful, entertaining, and well written. At times you want to cringe at the situations they get themselves into, wondering if they might be 18 and not 28, but I had to admire their willingness to go with whatever is thrown their way.
If you are just graduating from college, looking for a bit of direction, wondering if you need that 9 to 5 job, Holly, Jen and Amanda may just convince you otherwise. If you already have that 9 to 5, tired and overworked, you may also find yourself on the next flight out of town after perusing the pages of The Lost Girls. My requirement for any travel book or memoir is that it must inspire travel. I would say The Lost Girls does just that, making you appreciate the normally avoided emotion of feeling lost.
The Lost Girls comes out on May 11, 2010. To pre-order the book, visit lostgirlsworld.com.
Have you read The Lost Girls? Agree with my review? Disagree? I would love to hear what you thought of their adventure in the comment box below.