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The Lost Girls    by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett & Amanda Pressner Amazon.com order for
Lost Girls
by Jennifer Baggett
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Three career women working in New York City all of them approaching twenty-eight decide to quit their jobs (thus putting their careers on hold), give up their apartments (thereby rendering themselves homeless), say goodbye to their boyfriends, and backpack around the world for a year.

How many of us have wanted to do that? Me, for one. In my day, that would have been almost unthinkable. Today more power to them.

Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner did just that. Each of them had traveled a bit, but each wanted more than a short vacation. So, saving to accumulate the money they thought they would need, one and a half years after their joint decision, they filled their backpacks and set off for the adventure of a lifetime.

They slept under the stars in the Andes Mountains, took yoga classes in an ashram in India, prayed in the killing fields of Cambodia, dived in the ocean off the islands of Thailand, and stood on the top of a temple in Bali. They climbed the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, partied in Buenos Aires, worked at a boarding school for girls in Kenya, bungee jumped in New Zealand, and toured Australia in an old advertising van.

They discovered that they were considered odd for jogging. They learned that a single girl was to be pitied. They saw ancient and modern, plush accommodations as well as roach infested quarters. They marveled at sunsets and slept past sunrise. They realized a tourism paradox the greater a destination's popularity, the less authentic it becomes.

At the end of the year, they flew home to jump start their new lives, with an awareness of themselves as different people than the ones who had started out. They had also forged friendships that stood the test of close quarters 24/7.

The Lost Girls is the story of how these three women traveled the road less traveled and lived to tell about it. It's an appealing and motivating book that I am afraid to give to my middle granddaughter. She'll take off again, having gone to Australia for four months after high school graduation - came back a grown-up woman.

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