Lost Girls World: Ditching your job to travel

Each in the death-throws of her own quarter-life crises, friends and journalists Amanda Pressner, Jen Baggett and Holly Corbett toss their New York City stilettos for Amazon Jungle hiking boots and embark on a 365-day round-the-world trip that shakes the very foundations of their late 20’s and that ultimately becomes the pilgrimage (of sorts) of their lives.

In their book The Lost Girls: three friends, four continents, one unconventional detour around the world, Amanda, Holly and Jen recount the tales of their travels, and how they discover that “getting Lost” isn’t something to avoid or fear—it’s something to embrace.

The Lost Girls opens with a vivid scene from an African tribe initiation where the sweaty, red-painted bodies of the Maassai swirl, dance and chant with the trio, welcoming them into their lives, and hearts. Then it flashes several months earlier to New York—Amanda is slaving away in a magazine editorial job where she works eight days a week for a Godzilla boss. Holly is deep in love with the (supposed) man of her dreams but the ache to travel again trumps any settling down urges. Jen is stuck in a relationship that’s quasi limp, and though her marketing career is well on its way, she can’t help but wonder what lies beyond Manhattan. The three friends come together asking the same question: is there something more to life than the career-driven, wedding-ring-hunting, cookie-cutter road paved by women previously in their late 20’s?

With no apparent answer, they take perhaps the biggest risk of their careers, certainly their relationships and possibly their lives—they decide to find out for themselves. Sliding out of their jobs, closing their leases, buying backpacks and combining their love of travel, they set up a year-long itinerary traveling (mostly) through third world countries.

The three big-city girls set out to hike the Inca trail, kicking off a journey that brings surprises of all shapes and sizes—from finding new love to warding off monkey attacks, from losing luggage to Peruvian food poisoning, from cruising the Amazon to Indian yoga instruction, and from Australian surfing to dancing in the African desert, a year of traveling breathes life back into their lives…

Divided in chapter format, Jen, Holly and Amanda take turns recounting their adventures. Their delightfully syndicated, level-headed, feisty voices weave together a quilt of stories, faces, smells, sounds and lessons learned that hit home for any woman, anywhere. The Lost Girls is refreshingly honest and atypical of “finding yourself” travel memoirs. There’s no mushy gushy feelings that cloud the story, but rather invigorating, to-the-point prose that reveal a road to self understanding, a new found sense of courage, and most importantly, highlighting just what it takes to fall back in love with yourself. In this inspiring journey of “getting lost”, and of “getting found”, they discover that the only leaps of faith you’ll ever regret are the ones you don’t take.

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