Many of us have the dream of leaving our regular 9-5 lives behind in order to travel the world for an extended period, but very few of us actually take the leap of faith needed to make it happen. Courage comes in numbers, however, and The Lost Girls — a travel memoir collectively written by three friends — proves that with support, you really can make your travel dreams come true.
I first came across this book in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport last February. I was on my way to Vancouver, waiting for my flight, killing time in the magazine shop. The cover caught my eye and the title secured the transaction: The Lost Girls — Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. Being filled with wanderlust myself, how could I not get hooked by that tagline?
Here’s a synopsis: three friends — Jennifer, Holly and Amanda — go on a two-week trip to South America. During this trip the ladies are inspired to take a year off their fast-paced lives in New York to backpack the world. Setting a date for two years into the future, the friends return to Manhattan with this little sparkle of a dream. After some time spent back in their daily lives, and some unforeseen circumstances, the planning is expedited and the trio soon find themselves geared up and flying out to Peru — the first stop on their round-the-world itinerary.
One thing I love about this book is the format in which it’s written. Each woman takes a turn in writing a chapter, so the reader gets to experience their journey through three different viewpoints; three voices, three sets of eyes. You quickly get a feel for each woman’s personality through their style of writing, and learn about each of their lives and personal stories while they’re on the road.
I’m not going to compare this book to Eat, Pray, Love, but you do get a similar feeling from the journeys of these women. Like EPL‘s author Elizabeth Gilbert, Jennifer, Holly and Amanda have each gone through and experienced situations in their regular lives that influenced their decision to travel. All of these women left home to seek some clarification, inspiration, or to obtain worldly experience. Whether it was a failed relationship, dissatisfaction with their career, or not knowing what’s on the next page that inspired them to pack a bag and leave, each one of these women felt the need to see the world in order to gain some perspective for the next years to come (and all of their transitions into their thirties).
We’re taken on their journeys through Lima, Peru, Kenya, India, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia, being introduced to the people and places they see along the way. We experience their hike on the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu; their stay as volunteers at a school in Kenya; their travels through India and residency at an ashram; their adventures through Southeast Asia; and their road-tripping with the Kiwis and Aussies. Through their personal accounts we’re offered varied yet detailed views of the different regions they visit, and I find this three-take on writing creates a well-rounded and unbiased story that’s exciting to read.
I have to admit that when I first started reading this book in February of 2013, I never finished it. However, after restarting it for a second time I became hooked; I even felt like the fourth member of their travelling caravan.
I’d suggest this book to anyone who likes travel memoirs of the Elizabeth Gilbert variety — it’s an honest and open telling of what it’s like to be a female traveller and the idiosyncrasies that come with it. It’s also a good read for any of you who are nearing your 30th birthday and whose wanderlust is kicking into full gear (*cough* guilty *cough*).
Get it, read it, fall in love with these girls and be inspired by their courage to take such a big leap of faith.