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.
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.