A few weeks ago I had the chance to read a new book called The Lost Girls (HarperCollins, 2010). It’s the story of three girls in their mid-twenties who leave behind their jobs, friends, relationships & high-stress city-lives to backpack around four continents. I’ll say this quickly about the book: don’t try to read it in an airport, or you’ll end up on the first flight out of the country!

**BOOK GIVEAWAY** Simply by leaving a comment on this post, you’ll be entered to win a FREE copy of The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. This contest is now over.

Also, if you’re interested, I had the chance to pick the brains of Jennifer, Amanda & Holly on some of my more pressing questions: what to pack, where to go, would you do it again…

They have some useful insight on the usefulness of head lamps, brief intermissions in America, how to travel with a friend and how to get a book deal.

Interview with the Lost Girls

Do you have any travel tips for soon-to-be RTW travelers?

When it comes to planning a RTW trip, we recommend leaving yourself open to the possibilities that travel can bring by only loosely planning out where you want to go in advance. By being flexible, you’ll allow for the kind of spontaneity that can bring some of your greatest trip memories. For example, we gave ourselves about six weeks in our first country, Peru, but we weren’t sure exactly which towns and cities we’d visit apart from landing in Lima and hiking the Inca Trail. We hadn’t known about one of our favorite activities—sandboarding over enormous dunes in Huacachina—until we’d talked to other travelers after we’d arrived. Since we’d left our itinerary open, we were able to hop on a bus to check it out.

Also, we wish we’d known that stuff such as tampons and almost any type of toiletries are available even in the most remote places (and if they’re not, chances are that you’ll have gone through a big city before arriving and can pick up whatever you need there). So when it comes to stuff like sunscreen and pain reliever, you don’t have to bring a year’s supply if that’s how long you’re planning on traveling.

Our headlamps proved to be one of the best investments. We used them to read on night bus and plane rides, and they came in handy whenever we were camping or staying in places where there was no electricity. Also, those metal pac safes that go over your backpacks and lock your belongings are really useful when you want to doze off on long bus or train rides and not have to worry about letting your guard down with potential thieves.

If there was one thing we wished we brought that we didn’t, it would be a rolling backpack. They let you pull your luggage when you have smooth ground, like at an airport or on city sidewalks, but convert into a backpack when you’re in more rugged terrain, like hiking a mountain. Holly used one from the High Sierra line for a later trip to China, and she loves it because it has tons of compartments to make organizing easy.

Over the course of your trip, you made several stops back in America. Holly calls it “cheating on a year abroad” but were you each glad to return to the States at various points?

The reasons why people travel and how we travel are deeply personal, and as varied as individuals themselves. And that’s the beauty of travel—it can be anything you want it to be, depending on your current circumstance and life stage. But it’s always creative, and you can find a way to make it work for you.

So it really depends on the trip and where we are in our personal and professional lives whether or not we’d take another trip back home again. Sometimes going home can delay some aspect of self-discovery during a long journey that we might not have made had we restrained from re-entering our “comfort zone.”

On the other hand, giving ourselves permission to go home and reconnect with the people and things that matter most to us in order to recharge during an extended trip helped us get more out of the journey because we came back feeling energized.

The choice to go home is always personal, and we don’t think there is any right or wrong answer.

Would either of you travel on another big trip again? Was one year enough?

Yes, we would love to take a big trip again. It’s impossible to not be bitten by the travel bug. The more places we visit, the longer our travel wish-list actually gets!

I was really interested to read how the 3 of you got along throughout the trip. My own trip is mostly solo, but I’ll be traveling with a friend for 2 full months. Any tips you can pinpoint in surviving travel with a best friend from home?

Compromise and communication are key, of course. You really have to put the needs of the group above your individual needs most of the time in order to avoid major blow-ups. Of course, you can’t agree about everything and, just like with any intimate relationship, you sometimes must agree to disagree and let it go.

It’s best to discuss expectations before you get on the road. If you think an ideal day is wandering through museums while your travel partner believes it’s watching football at the local bar, you’d better know this before and work out a plan.

Also, pick your battles but don’t hold too much in or else you’ll explode. Most tense situations can usually be softened with a healthy dose of humor, and a bit of empathy.

Lastly, travel can reveal so many different sides of people’s personalities that you might not get to see in normal, everyday circumstances—both bad and good!

Your stories about freelance writing while on the road were particularly pertinent to me (and many of my readers, too). I guessed that you had set up lostgirlsworld.com before leaving, but did you go into your trip with big travel writing plans?

During the trip we’d occasionally fantasized about someday writing a book about our adventures, but that was really just a pie-in-the-sky notion we didn’t pursue while traveling. As writers by trade, Holly and Amanda did pen a few pieces for magazines while we were on the road–while Jen parlayed her TV background into becoming an impromptu photo journalist. But aside from writing the occasional articles and maintaining our travel blog, we didn’t want to squander our time on the road holed up in Internet cafes working—we wanted to have authentic experiences and adventures exploring the countries we’d traveled so far to visit.

Although in the end, our blog was what inspired our travel memoir. What started out as a creative means for staying in touch with loved ones soon became a matter of public interest. Apparently, our family and friends weren’t the only ones reading our website. Thanks to the viral nature of the web, news of The Lost Girls travelogue (www.lostgirlsworld.com) started to spread—first in the US, then overseas –and soon, tens of thousands of readers began logging on to live vicariously through our journey. Once we provided a dedicated email address for correspondence, readers wrote to us directly, sharing how our stories had inspired them and even changed the direction of their lives.

As luck would have it, a few agents and one editor at a major publishing house stumbled across our blog while we were still traveling, and wrote to express interest in maybe turning our tales into a book. Of course, no one actually wanted to meet with us until we’d composed a polished book proposal, so the three of us holed up for an entire month at Holly’s family’s house in Syracuse to put together our 60-page document together. Once we’d completed the proposal (including three sample chapters), we found an agent whom we really trusted at Writer’s House, and he managed to sell our book to HarperCollins.

In my experience, every time someone hears you’re traveling for the next 12 months or so, everyone has a place to recommend. How do you deal with the endless list of places to see, and the desire to see it all?

Part of what lured us to go on a RTW adventure in the first place was our desire to see everything, to get lost, and to explore. And so we’d sometimes try to fit in too much and take a whirlwind tour. By the time we were more than halfway through with our trip and in SE Asia, we’d learned that moving too quickly through places was a prescription for getting road weary and jaded.

The most memorable parts of our trip were in the places where we slowed down and really dove into another culture rather than hitting up all the “must-sees” and moving on. When we volunteered in Kenya and lived on a farm for a month, or when we moved into our friend’s apartment in Bondi Beach, Australia, we felt much more connected to the people and the place that we were visiting.

There’s always going to be another “must-see” attraction, but to get the most out of each place, we think it’s best to slow down and try to just stay put for awhile. For us, those were the times when we found travel most rewarding.

Are there any places you’d like to go back and visit?

There are so many places we’d like to return! Kenya tops the list because we’d like to see how the school and town where we volunteered in Kitale has grown or changed, and to see where the student who we taught while we were there are now. New Zealand is also a place we’d like to go back to because we didn’t know how beautiful the world could really be until our month-long road trip through that spectacular scenery.

And….. any big trips planned for the future—the three of you together?

We made a pact to take a reunion trip together every year for the rest of our lives. Though we were a little late on our first anniversary trip, the three of us took a surf vacation to Panama last August.

We’re definitely taking our second reunion trip this year, but haven’t decided on a destination yet. Some ideas are South Africa, Ireland, or Napa in California since the three of us have never been any of those places together.

_____

A few things…

Big thanks to Jennifer, Amanda & Holly for taking the time to answer my questions. And to HarperCollins for the review copy of the book. For a limited time, the Lost Girls have pledged to donate 15 percent of the purchase price of every book purchased via the link below to Village Volunteers, a non-profit organization. First, why don’t you LEAVE A COMMENT to be entered to WIN A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK. If you don’t win, just come back here and buy the book through the link below:

http://tinyurl.com/23ac5u2

Also, this post will almost certainly by the first and only on travelsofadam.com to use the word “tampon.” While The Lost Girls is written by three girls, I can vouch that the book is just as applicable for traveling men—if not more so because now I know how backpacker girls think.

Book Giveaway — Enter by 21 May 2010

Leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy. I’ll use random.org to randomly select a winner on May 21. (Full disclosure: HarperCollins sent me a review copy of this book. And they’ll be sending the winner a copy as well.)

Travels of Adam - It's a blogLooking for a place to stay? I use HotelsCombined.com where you can easily compare hotel room rates and prices. Please note some posts do make me some money but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

76 comments

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  1. Pingback: The Lost Girls: A Travel Book Review » Emily Wenzel Photography

  2. I can't wait to read it!

  3. Hey Adam, I'm short of time right now because it's midnight and tomorrow morning I have a flight to NZ, but can I be included in the lucky draw? I will come back to read the interview from NZ :)

  4. Great interview and well done girls for having the balls to do it. ;-)

  5. This is at the top of my books I want to read!

  6. This is at the top of my books I want to read!

  7. Sasha

    Adam what a great interview!!! Your questions were great, not just the normal run of the mill interview questions!!! Just to add tampons are great for stopping nosebleeds an essential item for all travel first aid kits!!! :P

  8. Sasha

    Adam what a great interview!!! Your questions were great, not just the normal run of the mill interview questions!!! Just to add tampons are great for stopping nosebleeds an essential item for all travel first aid kits!!! :P

  9. Lorraine

    I learned of this book through Indie Travel Podcast and found it was available in Kindle edition. I read the sample and loved it. I have it on my Kindle wish list! Great interview!

  10. Emily

    I love the interview, and I’d love to add the book to my “library” of travel books! :)

  11. Sarah

    I’m heading off on my own wee adventure soon. Would love to read this for inspiration!

  12. Sarah

    I’m heading off on my own wee adventure soon. Would love to read this for inspiration!

  13. Lorraine

    I learned of this book through Indie Travel Podcast and found it was available in Kindle edition. I read the sample and loved it. I have it on my Kindle wish list! Great interview!

  14. Emily

    I love the interview, and I’d love to add the book to my “library” of travel books! :)

  15. love it!

  16. thalia

    i would love to read this book! it sounds very insightful and informative- it’d be great for me! i’m just starting out on the travel aspect of my life :)

  17. thalia

    i would love to read this book! it sounds very insightful and informative- it’d be great for me! i’m just starting out on the travel aspect of my life :)

  18. alissa

    Wow this book sounds awesome!

  19. love it!

  20. alissa

    Wow this book sounds awesome!

  21. Jive

    Book sounds interesting

  22. Jive

    Book sounds interesting

  23. Denise

    This interview was so cool! Great advice and made RTW travel feel a little less intimidating. Hope you’re doing well!

  24. Denise

    This interview was so cool! Great advice and made RTW travel feel a little less intimidating. Hope you’re doing well!

  25. Alouise

    I gotta admit I like traveling alone, but I’ve also had really good times traveling with my friends. This looks like an inspiring book to read.

  26. Alouise

    I gotta admit I like traveling alone, but I’ve also had really good times traveling with my friends. This looks like an inspiring book to read.

  27. Ariel V

    I’d love to read this book, it sounds incredibly inspiring!

  28. Stephanie

    Lovely interview, the book looks great! It’s so inspiring to see people just exploring the world :) Can’t wait to read it!!

  29. Ariel V

    I’d love to read this book, it sounds incredibly inspiring!

  30. Stephanie

    Lovely interview, the book looks great! It’s so inspiring to see people just exploring the world :) Can’t wait to read it!!

  31. Lucky you got to read the book already! I’m looking forward to it!

  32. Lucky you got to read the book already! I’m looking forward to it!

  33. Alwyn

    So you’re doing book reviews also. Its nice to see how you’re maximizing your blog’s reach—makes me proud to know you and call you friend. Nice interview also!

  34. Alwyn

    So you’re doing book reviews also. Its nice to see how you’re maximizing your blog’s reach—makes me proud to know you and call you friend. Nice interview also!

  35. Jim

    Fantastic Adam. These are the types of books that I love to read. Sounds like your trip is coming along nicely.

  36. Jim

    Fantastic Adam. These are the types of books that I love to read. Sounds like your trip is coming along nicely.

  37. Mandy

    Wonderful interview! Your blog has been encouraging as I’m planning to quit my job and also start traveling. Thanks!

  38. Mandy

    Wonderful interview! Your blog has been encouraging as I’m planning to quit my job and also start traveling. Thanks!

  39. Nice interview. Sounds like a cool book too. If I win, can I get the Kindle version?

  40. Nice interview. Sounds like a cool book too. If I win, can I get the Kindle version?

  41. Joya

    Great interview Adam! I loved the book and could identify with it so much. I’m sure once you start traveling you’ll see some similarities too.

  42. Eric

    Adam: everyday I am so looking forward to checking whether or not there is a new entry to your blog! And thank you for the book recommendation. I am so going to read it. Enjoy your travels Adam

  43. Eric

    Adam: everyday I am so looking forward to checking whether or not there is a new entry to your blog! And thank you for the book recommendation. I am so going to read it. Enjoy your travels Adam

  44. Joya

    Great interview Adam! I loved the book and could identify with it so much. I’m sure once you start traveling you’ll see some similarities too.

  45. Daryle

    I’m a little nervous to read this book…afraid it will inspire me to quit my job and travel the world! I’m looking forward to it anyway :)

  46. Daryle

    I’m a little nervous to read this book…afraid it will inspire me to quit my job and travel the world! I’m looking forward to it anyway :)

  47. This is my life dream–to travel around the world with friends and actually have a book published about it! Half jealous, half inspired.

  48. This is my life dream–to travel around the world with friends and actually have a book published about it! Half jealous, half inspired.

  49. Jenna Malinen

    I wish that my friends were as adventurous! While I would love to do a solo RTW, I think that it would be an incredible experience with some friends. You’re lucky to have the chance to do it together. I’m excited to read the book.

  50. Jenna Malinen

    I wish that my friends were as adventurous! While I would love to do a solo RTW, I think that it would be an incredible experience with some friends. You’re lucky to have the chance to do it together. I’m excited to read the book.

  51. Great article and the book sounds really interesting.

    Another important tip when travelling with others (friends, family or (even especially) lovers)….make sure you take time away from each other regularly. Be it an afternoon wandering an art gallery, a sporting event, hell even a soak in a bath with some tunes playing. Just get some quiet time without each other.

  52. Great article and the book sounds really interesting.

    Another important tip when travelling with others (friends, family or (even especially) lovers)….make sure you take time away from each other regularly. Be it an afternoon wandering an art gallery, a sporting event, hell even a soak in a bath with some tunes playing. Just get some quiet time without each other.

  53. Gerard Ward

    I always love hearing about what inspired travel. I loved how their reasons behind their blog were simple and true, that in the end turned into what they now have to put on their own bookshelves with a big smile. I would love to read their adventures now!

  54. I loved reading the Lost Girls blog back when they were traveling and still do read it. Looking forward to reading the book

  55. I loved reading the Lost Girls blog back when they were traveling and still do read it. Looking forward to reading the book

  56. Rebecca

    Have been looking forward to this book for a while. Can’t wait to read it!

  57. Aww, I miss these girls. We briefly overlapped during our magazine days in NYC, but then I moved to the West Coast! Can’t wait to read the final edited version!

  58. Rebecca

    Have been looking forward to this book for a while. Can’t wait to read it!

  59. This sounds like an awesome book. Would love to read it.

  60. This sounds like an awesome book. Would love to read it.

  61. Maggie

    Great interview! I’m launching a rtw trip with my friend this July, and our itinerary looks similar to what the Lost Girls did. Can’t wait to read the book and apply what they learned to my own travels!

  62. Great idea Adam and a wonderful interview. I know I’ve stumbled across their blog in the past, but I haven’t spent a lot of time reading it. I’ll have to go check it out further :)

  63. Oliver

    I have read this book . . . its SOOOOOOO good!

  64. Alison

    Sounds like an awesome book!

  65. Gerard Ward

    I always love hearing about what inspired travel. I loved how their reasons behind their blog were simple and true, that in the end turned into what they now have to put on their own bookshelves with a big smile. I would love to read their adventures now!

  66. Aww, I miss these girls. We briefly overlapped during our magazine days in NYC, but then I moved to the West Coast! Can’t wait to read the final edited version!

  67. Maggie

    Great interview! I’m launching a rtw trip with my friend this July, and our itinerary looks similar to what the Lost Girls did. Can’t wait to read the book and apply what they learned to my own travels!

  68. Great idea Adam and a wonderful interview. I know I’ve stumbled across their blog in the past, but I haven’t spent a lot of time reading it. I’ll have to go check it out further :)

  69. Oliver

    I have read this book . . . its SOOOOOOO good!

  70. Alison

    Sounds like an awesome book!

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