Here at T+L, we’re fortunate enough to have the world’s most fascinating destinations on our radar at all times—but we still have to come back to reality, and our desks, eventually. So when I received a copy of The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Conventional Detour Around the World recently, it felt a little eerie. Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner were three twentysomething Manhattan media types—including two magazine editors, just like me!—who plotted to leave their fast-paced careers and relationships to backpack around the world for a year. Were these girls really going to live my dream, then shove it in my face in an epic 591-page tome?
I could completely relate to the life and love woes that bogged the trio down and inspired them to leave it all to find themselves—thus leading them to coin the name Lost Girls, perfectly summing up their states of mind at the time of their journey. Their adventures ranged from terrifying (a harrowing ordeal with a deranged cab driver in Vietnam) to magical (a whirlwind romance in Bangkok) to exhilarating (bungee jumping in New Zealand) to rewarding (volunteering with young female students in Kenya). I’m not going to lie, though—the backpackers’ life, complete with sketchy choices of accommodations and poor hygiene, doesn’t appeal to me (I often found myself begging them to splurge on higher-end lodgings, especially considering how dirt cheap they often are in Asia—perhaps next time they can peruse travelandleisure.com for a good deal?). I spent a fair amount of time feeling even more stressed out about their encounters with grime and roaches than they were, it seems.
Though I could definitely relate to the stage of life Holly, Jen, and Amanda were at when they embarked on their peripatetic adventures, I personally don’t quite have it in my to drop my day job and flee the country full-time, so I’m just going to have to live vicariously through their accounts. But a girl can dream, can’t she? This book definitely has me itching to start planning my next globe-trotting adventure with my girlfriends. The only dilemma? Where to?
Sarah Khan is a copy editor at Travel + Leisure.