Posts Tagged With: women traveling

Book Review: The Lost Girls – 3 of 5 stars

The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. by Jennifer Bagget

lost

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There a lot about this book that I love – there is so much to be jealous of. These girls found the time and dedication to travel for an entire year. It’s something I would love to do and it’s also something I know I will never do. It’s just not my life. So living vicariously was exactly why I picked up the book. These girls traveled to places I have never been and say such amazing things. I really loved reading about it.

Still, I just can’t rave about the book. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, it’s just a little bland. Vanilla. I can tell these girls are used to a very journalistic writing. Their prose all sounds exactly the same and, with names like Jennifer, Holly, and Amanda, I found it impossible to keep them straight. I was constantly mixing up who was who. I feel like the book would have really benefited if they could have figure out a way to develop different writing styles. Some visual aides could have really helped – you know they took a million pictures. I would have loved to have seen the beat-up van, Esther, the yoga retreat, etc.

Despite the adventures and nice mixture of this-is-what-I-saw and this-is-what-I-felt, it took me a really long time to get through this book. This is something I should be devoured. Besides the lack of voice, I’m not sure what was missing – other people maybe? One of my favorite memoirs is Somebody’s Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa because of the author’s incredible ability to observe others and bring them into the story. This memoir is firmly on these three girls and, despite being a young white woman traveler myself, I just couldn’t quite get invested.

Still, it’s certainly not bad, and it’s a great thing to read if you’re itching for a trip of your own but can’t get away. There are nice tid-bits along the way, too, that give some good perspective.

“After all my searching for something to believe in, what if taking the journey itself were the highest act of faith? Traveling anywhere that was foreign inevitably meant I’d have to rely on the kindness of strangers. To venture out in the world, I had to have faith in the goodness of people – and to be open to the lessons that every new person might bring.

Amen, Holly. Or was that Amanda who wrote that? Jennifer?

Oh, who cares. Amen, sister.

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Time to Roam! This gal is going to Nicaragua!

Oh man – it feels so GOOD to say that.  When I don’t have a trip on my schedule I get all antsy.  Now I’m just nervous/excited.  Years ago I put “do a volunteer travel program” on my bucket list and now I’m going to check it off.  I’ve signed up to travel for Habitat for Humanity and help do a build for about 10 days in, of all places, Nicaragua.

nicaragua_beach-7822

This is why I love doing this kind of stuff.  When I did classes in Spain last year, I found myself in Salamanca, a little town I probably never would have visited, but that’s where the classes were, so I went.  It was incredible and now it’s one of my favorite cities. Now I’m going on a new adventure. I would never have thought to go to Nicaragua.  Latin America, while interesting, hasn’t been on my radar when it comes to “where should I go next”?  Now it is, and I can’t wait to discover it.

Of course, the main reason people don’t travel often is because of the (lack of) dolla dolla bills.  This, then, is my nudge, nudge, wink, wink to ask you to think about donating to my trip.  The cost for my 10 day stint, sans airfare, is just under $2000.  This covers the transportation to the build site, funded by Habitat, my lodging while there, all building materials, paying the construction manager (a local Nicaraguan), food, and then additional funds to make sure this, and other Habitat builds, can keep on going.  Obviously, I believe in the cause and it would be wonderful if you could donate just for that.

However, I’m going to give you a bit more incentive.  In an effort to sweeten the pot, I’m putting in my own milestones. If you donate, you get more than just a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  I offer the following prizes:

DONATE and you will receive:

$15 – A picture of your name written in the sand (we’re building on the beach) with a thank you – likely a thumbs up with be included.

$30 – Your name written in the sand and a handwritten Nicaraguan postcard.

$50 – Your name written in the sand or a handwritten Nicaraguan postcard (you pick!) and a Nicaraguan souvenir (no idea what, yet, but I’ll find something cute!).

$100+ – A video of me dancing and singing obnoxiously to any song you’d like. This will likely be done on the beach but, as I’m going to need the assistance from people I have yet to meet, I’m not going to promise a location just yet. If I get a lot of these I may limit the length of the song since this will be highly embarrassing.  You’re welcome.  You can also get the name in the sand, postcard, and souvenir too 🙂

I know!  WHO can resist?!  Did I mention that your donation is tax-deductible?  BECAUSE IT IS.  So much good!

Link link link – tell your friends!

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Ashley’s Top 5 Favorite Travel Memoirs (So Far)

Work has been SO busy lately. Whenever that happens I just want to get away and enjoy something new and wonderful.  Unfortunately, what with buying a house and all, money is a little tight so gallivanting off to a foreign country just isn’t in the cards.  At least not without some serious deal hunting.

Instead, I’ve decided to live vicariously and seek out a memoir or two.  For those of you who might be in the same boat at me, let me draw you attention to my five all-time favorite travel memoirs (so far).  In case you’re wondering, Eat, Pray, Love is not on the list.

1) In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams by Tahir Shah

inarabiannights

If you’ve read a few other posts of my blog, you’ll probably have already heard me gush about Tahir Shah and Arabian Nights. I can’t help it, this man just speaks to me.  Shah is such an incredible writer and when you add that in with his reflection on his move to Morocco… well, it’s magic to me.  This book might not quite fit the category of “travel memoir” like some of the others, but the core is the same.  It’s a book about discovering a new land – and therefore discovering yourself.  Everybody and their brother needs to read this book (IMHO)!

2) Wall to Wall: From Beijing to Berlin by Rail by Mary Morris

  walltowall

For me this book is the definition of the perfect woman travel memoir. This book was phenomenal – not only is Mary Morris probably the most self-honest person on the planet (I don’t think I could write my actions with truth like she, does even if I wanted to) but she’s a fantastic writer. Her personal struggles combined with the fascinating travel events make this a truly enthralling read. It’s set in such a dramatic time in history – Morris was in China, Russia, and Germany in 1986. Seeing some of those historic events happening through her eyes is unbelievably interesting. Great read!

3) Somebody’s Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer In Africa by Tanya Shaffer

HeartBurning

Shaffer’s memoir seemed very familiar. Woman travel memoirs tend to have a similar theme – the driving force in these stories is often a man back home. Why does she travel – is it because she’s running away or does she just love and enjoy what she’s doing? It’s hard, of course, to know. Part of a person, as a traveler, loves it. But the other part is exhausted. When you’re away from the place you grew up, even if you’ve been there for quite some time, you never can quite let down all of your guard.

There are two things very unique and refreshing about this book – the pictures and people. Shaffer had snapshots scattered throughout and it was fascinating for me to go back and forth between her descriptions and compare them to the face in the photograph. And she described people a lot. In fact, every chapter was focused on someone else – someone she met along the journey. She didn’t so much analyze them as she did talk about her experience with them and by the end of the chapter you realized how Shaffer felt changed by them. It was a very refreshing way to read a memoir.

4) Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer by Barbara Sjoholm

Incognito

You can probably tell from the title that I’m a bit biased by the plot of this story.  It’s about travel, and writing, and it’s set in Spain.  Clearly, I’m going to love this.  Sjoholm doesn’t disappoint.  She does a great job about remembering herself in this time the way she took chances, the people she met.  She really learned who she was in the process of this journey and it wasn’t until later when she was reflecting and writing this story that she was able to understand the way her life was affected by this trip. It’s such a beautiful thing to be let in on – and my main reason why memoirs are some of my favorite reads.

5) Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan

littleprinces

Like Arabian Nights, this book has more to it than just the travel bit. but it still will pull at your travel bone if you take it in.  Grennan did what I would love to do – do something crazy because you feel like it’s the right thing to do and let it change your life. He has had such an incredible journey and has been able to take his travel to a new height.  His book highlights that journey in of himself but he doesn’t forget to talk about the travel and country and people he met either.  Did I mention, to, that this book is funny?  Not something I expected from something about orphaned children!  I read his via audio book and Grennan narrates it himself – so good!

So, what’s next?

The best part about travel is that there’s always more to see – and the great thing about memoirs is that there’s always another one to read.  I’ve narrowed down my choices to these three – any suggestions to which one I (hopefully) enjoy first?

Don lost NoHurry

Categories: Lists, Pick Ups, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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