Here is another entry on my thoughts and quotes that resonated with me the most from a book. This time it is The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett and Amanda Pressner. It is a travel memoir of three girls taking a year long trip around the world.
For me this book was more of a study of how to write about traveling than the travel story itself.
I liked how they took turns describing their trip. Sometimes certain events were retold by two or all three of them. It was very interesting to see different perspectives about the same event.
I liked that they wrote about their troubles with boyfriends that they left at home, feelings, and inner thoughts. One of the reviewers (a guy) on Amazon didn’t like that. I suppose that’s why books have different audiences and not every single person will like a particular book.
I always have wondered how real are the stories are in these kind of travel memoirs. In epilogue they explain: “Many names of people and places have been changed and some of identifying details altered to protect the innocent – and not so innocent – but the characters and stories themselves are entirely authentic.” (Location 8167 in the kindle.)
The prologue began with a scene from the middle of the trip, probably the most emotional scene of the whole trip where they got initiated to be part of a tribe in Kenya. It was very moving and emotional, I teared up a bit. I hope some day I will be able to write like that. The prologue definitely was a hook into reading the whole book and finding out what exactly lead to that moment.
Quotes and thoughts
“We were searching for answers, but as we’d learn along the way, the ones you uncover are rarely those to the questions asked.” (Location 155 in the Kindle) I can absolutely relate to this. I wanted to get certain things out of this trip, but I so far I already have gotten out way more than I expected.
One thing that I learned from the book: “Age 28 is Saturn return.” (Location 304 in the Kindle). Turns out it is a concept from astrology, it means Saturn orbits around the sun in approximately 28 years and returns to the same planetary position as at the time of your birth. It thus signifies end of a period – the first time – end of youth. Recently I heard somebody mention the Saturn return as well, now I know what it means.
“”Regardless of your religion, your most important duty on this earth is to find your true self, and yoga’s regime of self-discipline can help you get there,” Swami said. “Only once you know yourselves are you able to know God, because the two are not separate but one and the same””. (Location 5194). Recently I have come across the idea of finding and being your true self more often and often. It seems that knowing your true self helps in life in many ways. For example, Gretchen Rubin said that self-knowledge is the key to happiness. She said the two questions to ask yourself is “Whom do you envy? and why?” and “What do you lie about?”. Here is the talk, highly recommend to watch it.
I wonder, is it just twenty somethings that are trying to find themselves and eventually in their late thirties most people have figured it out, or are there still lots of people in over thirties who are still finding themselves. The book The Defining Decade: Why your Twenties matter-and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay suggest that it is in their twenties when people develop the most and are in the process to find themselves. However, there are also so many self-help books out there for all ages which makes me think that some people past thirties are still finding themselves.
Along the way they met a “soft-spoken Brit who was on sabbatical from an engineering job.” (Location 6264). Like me! except the Brit part, and perhaps soft-spoken.
Pretty much all of the time all three girls spent traveling together, but there were few weeks where some of them traveled alone. “Earmarking a few days for mandatory self-exploration might, in fact, make me a stronger person.” (Location 6276) While I was preparing for the trip and reading other people’s blogs, it seemed that the biggest question of all was whether to travel alone or travel with somebody. In my case there is a third option – travel and practice your hobby everywhere you go. Thus you can instantly make friends. Dancing is a great hobby for this.
“The funny thing is, travel had taught me as much about my own country as it did about the ones I visited – mostly because it let me see what Americans looked like through foreigners’ eyes.” (Loc. 7535) I can absolutely relate to this. While in college in United States, I studied French and took one class on French culture. In that class I learned more about American culture than the French culture. Me being European, I already had ideas about the French culture, but seeing them taught from American perspective taught me more about American culture.
It was a good read, interesting, entertaining and it was hard to put it down. My rating of this book in usefulness is 3 – a good read if travel writing interests you.
My rating system:
5 – a must read, absolutely everybody should read it
4 – a good, useful read
3 – an ok read, but for specific audiences
2 – meh, there are other, better books on this topic
1 – don’t read, a waste of time