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the lost girls book review + giveaway

Four years ago, when our round-the-world trip was a passing thought in our stream of consciousness, Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner, three 20-something friends, left their careers in journalism to travel around the world for a year, dubbing themselves The Lost Girls.  I was hooked on their blog as soon as I read their 20 Reasons We Took Off (my favorite being #4, "We want to ban the phrases 'in the loop,' 'per our conversation,' and 'out of the box' from our daily vocabulary.")  At that time, I was still working long hours at my law firm, spending my weekends at Home Depot for renovation projects, and cramming quality time with Patrick and our dogs in the remaining few waking hours.  I was completely and totally blown away by the gumption of these women to leave behind their lives, careers, and relationships for the thrill of the open road.  I wanted that to be my lifestyle.

A week ago, I received a review copy of their new book: The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. The book is written from the first-person viewpoint of all three women; each woman writes a chapter and the story progresses sequentially, a la The Sound and the Fury.  This was a clever way to structure this book because each woman has specific challenges that she wants to resolve: one is obsessed with her career, another is searching for faith, and the third is looking for romance. 

These women left New York City because they were bored and bogged down and wanted to do something daring and inspiring to revitalize their lives.  They had serious wanderlust and needed to satisfy their desire to see the world.  And, they didn't clamp down on their dreams, shutting it out with short two-week trips, but instead, took the leap out the door and into the world. 

The book beautifully details the intensity of their lives when they stepped out of their comfort zones.  They talk in no uncertain terms about the horrors of long-term travel, from sleeping in stinky hostels with even worse toilets to dealing with unscrupulous strangers and wearing the same clothes over and over again.  They laugh about the silly and crazy adventures that happen to them like setting up a dance class in Kenya or their difficult hike up the Inca Trail.  They cry over their fears, sorrows, and romantic struggles (and there are quite a few of those). 

Most importantly, these women describe a truth about humanity, a truth that I believe with all my heart:  there are good people in this world.  They talk about people who welcome them, care for them, help them, and touch them, like party-goers in Buenos Aires, an old woman in a Vietnamese market, and an orphan child in Kenya.  (This also leads to the only negative to this book: the cast of characters is huge and, at times, I lost track of who was who.)  The more I travel, the more I see what they see: in every country, every place, people love, laugh, hurt, anger, and live.

Travel is a gift --- a gift of realization, discovery, beauty, and joy.  These girls gave themselves that gift and, in return, they formed a sisterhood, built out of the closeness from living with someone 24 hours a day for nearly 365 days.  Four years ago, the Lost Girls helped inspire us to walk out our door and head into that Great White Somewhere.  I hope that you will read this book and feel the same way, even for just a short while.

To get you started on that path, I am giving away a copy of The Lost Girls book.  Woohoo!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me one travel destination that is on the top of your bucket list and why.  You'll get extra entries if you tweet about this giveaway, or post on Facebook, or on your own blog.  Just let me know below that you tweeted, Facebooked, or posted on your blog about this giveaway or copy our Twitter ID (@theroadforks) so I give you credit for posting at the various places.  All entries must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, May 14, 2010.   And, sorry international readers, but you must be a resident of the United States or Canada to participate.

I'll go first:  Antarctica, because there is something magical about an uninhabited land built of ice.  And, I would like to pretend that I am Superman in his Fortress of Solitude.

05/11/2010 11:49
On the top of my bucket list is Santorini. Ever since I was in sixth grade and working on a school project, it's been one of my dream destinations to be at a place where it looks like the sun is setting into the ocean.
Liz's recent blog post: Clipart.
05/11/2010 13:01
Well, first let me say that your blog has really inspired my own "wanderlust". For some reason, maybe it is the struggles with my infertility, maybe it is facing turning 30, I have a very strong underlying desire to not only travel, but to MOVE to another country. I would have to say that Thailand is on my bucket list, but I will be checking that off of my list this Summer (assuming things don't get too crazy over there). So, after checking that off, I would really like to visit ANYWHERE in South America or Africa! Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy reading about your journeys, and admire you and your husband!
05/11/2010 14:21
Australia has a bit of everything I could want. Unique animals, big cities, beautiful landscapes, and a laid back culture.
05/11/2010 16:00
I love these girls--knew them in NYC--and am jealous you got a review copy! Can't wait to read the final draft (I read the rough copy) somewhere down the line =)

Bhutan...not sure why except that it's so inaccessible and not a lot of people talk about it...also, Nepal.
Camels & Chocolate's recent blog post: When in DubaiDont Fly Emirates Airlines
05/11/2010 16:05
The Australian Outback. I want to go horseback riding through the amazing Australian outback and discover this continent and ride off into the sunset as a lost cowgirl.
Katya's recent blog post: A Day of Reflection
05/11/2010 16:09
Only one location on my bucket list? I think I'm going with a classic one here: Paris. I have these romantic ideas of this city and I am just in love with it. It also really seems like a photography heaven; I would love to photograph the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, etc.
Wendy's recent blog post: Tall/Short
05/11/2010 18:26
Bucket list destination - South Pacific, by sailboat :)
Can't wait to read the Lost Girls book, I've been a loyal blog follower!
05/12/2010 08:00
Greek Islands! I need sunshine and warmth. And cute Greek men.
Candice's recent blog post: Video Post: Candice Does Vegemite
05/12/2010 08:32
Lovely! Your question created a wonderful few minutes of daydreaming! Spain would be my country of choice. I have been to most of Europe but never made it to Spain.
Are you really planning to go to Zambia at some point?? I was born there, maybe I'll get a chance to visit one day.....
Love your blog!
05/12/2010 17:53
Cambodia. A country with such a sad horrific past and yet home to one of the wonders of the world - Angkor Wat. I can't wait to see it. Plus the people seem so kind and friendly - I sponsor a little boy in an Orphanage there - maybe I'll get to meet him in person one day.
05/12/2010 18:50
South Pacific by sailboat is my bucket list destination too!
Lost Girl--Amanda P's recent blog post: The Lost Girls book is now on shelves!
05/12/2010 19:54
I'm not from the US or Canada so I can't participate. But you've now made me prioritise the top destinations and put Santorini on top!
05/12/2010 22:51
I have tons of destinations on my bucket list but right now I think all of South Africa and Rio are competing for #1. Rio because it's Rio of course! And I'm a sucker for beautiful people and beaches and South Africa because of the culture, the scenery, the history. I had a friend study abroad there and have been wanting to go ever since!
05/12/2010 23:30
I have wanted to travel to Bhutan ever since I read "Beyond the Sky & Earth: A Journey into Bhutan" several years ago (and I have re-read every year since). I'm fascinated the only remaining Buddhist Himalayan kingdom -- the natural beauty of Bhutan, the people & their culture, as well as the nation's guiding philosophy of Gross National Happiness.
05/13/2010 00:03
Antarctica..before it melts away. To view magical wildlife, take in the sheer beauty of a world of ice and snow, and savor time to reflect in the silence of nature would be a travel dream come true.
Ann Lombardi's recent blog post: Who are The Trip Chicks® ?
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