Amanda Reads: Mad Wanderlust from The Lost Girls

As a sophomore in college, I packed up everything my suitcases would carry, stepped on a plane for the first time, and flew halfway around the world to spend four months in Europe. That was almost three years ago, and so it was with a great deal of envy, fond memories, and extreme wanderlust that I read The Lost Girls.

The memoir tells the story of three friends, all of them older at than I am now, who packed up their entire lives and go off to travel the world for an entire year. The very synopsis set me aching to travel again—since my time in England, I haven’t had the opportunity to leave the country again. I haven’t gotten to experience that feeling of limitlessness and novelty that comes along with being in a different place every other week, a new place. Because I’m not the best with handling my jealousy, that made reading this book a little hard for me. I had to take frequent breaks because I just couldn’t handle the fact that Jen, Holly, and Amanda were living my dream while I was sitting in bed reading about it. I mean, Amanda even has my name, for heaven’s sake.Lost Girls

That being said, I enjoyed seeing how the girls’ time as backpackers unfolded. A tiny part of my brain took it all in as the “how-to” manual for the round-the-world trip that I hope to take one day, which was both a good and a bad thing. I gathered a lot of tips on how to travel on a budget, but I also felt sad that I couldn’t immediately drop everything and travel. I love my job, really love it, but I also loved traveling the world so much that it makes my heart hurt when I read about other people doing it while I stay at home. Still, it felt a little bit like I was on the trip with them; the girls all had unique writing styles, so that each of their sections felt unique and I felt that I got to know them.

The one complaint I have about the book is one of those complaints that I find is often true with memoir; there didn’t seem to be much of a plot. Obviously, one can’t control where their life goes or what happens in it, but it can be a little frustrating. They made as much of a story out of it as they could, but there were definitely lulls where it just seemed like a list of “we went here, then we went here, and then we went here.”

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but as with any travel memoir, it mostly just made me really wish that I was traveling instead of reading the book. Then again, if I’m that compelled to travel due to reading their experiences, the ladies must have done something right.

I’m in Freaking Italy!

Hello internet people! This is going to be a short post because I’m presently sitting in my semi-posh hotel room in Florence, Italy using the remaining minutes of our 5 euro internet connection to do one of my very favorite things–ramble using my words on the internet!

Basically, I want to fill you all in on the glory that has been the nice, relaxing final leg of a truly once in a lifetime study abroad experience.

We began our glorious journey in Italy, sans any ability with the language whatsoever, by taking a lovely plane (with actual food and seats and checked bags and everything) to Venice! Venice, if you didn’t know, is completely surrounded by water and has no roads. Just water. It was a really unique experience, and quite fun not having to watch out for cars, since you’d have to actually jump into a canal to worry about any traffic other than that of the pedestrian variety.

Venice is a gorgeous city, especially because of all of this water. There are few things I love more than a good body of water, especially when the sunlight (SUNLIGHT) is hitting it just right. And yes, Italy IS full of scary people who come up to you telling you silly things like “Half off because you have beautiful smile” and trying to get you to buy useless stuff you don’t want, but I can tell you how to deal with that right now–run away! They are only going to follow you so far, and the language barrier can really only HELP you at that point. Just scamper off and enjoy the city, never minding the silly people selling you silly things.

What did we DO in Venice, you might ask? We did a lot of wandering around and looking at stuff, which is one of my favorite activities to do in a new city. We did a spot of shopping and navigated the city without a map rather cleverly. We saw a gorgeous cathedral by the name of San Marco and we ate a lot of gelato and other such glorious things. I have now consumed more pasta and pizza than I would have EVER thought possible. These things are rather prevalent in Italy, regardless of the fact that our trip courier assured us that most Italians do NOT routinely stuff their faces with pasta. Still, they do it right and I have enjoyed every single bite of it (even if it’s currently resting nicely on my stomach giving me a bit of extra padding I didn’t ask for).

It’s been a very chill vacation thus far, and I’m definitely planning on keeping it that way. A bit more wine, a bit more pasta, and a bit more sun and then it’s back to my real life, taking this glorious amazing dream of an experience with me.