Could you and your friends handle this life altering Girl’s Trip? Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.
Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett & Amanda Pressner
“Traveling 60,000 miles around the world, from the mountains and jungles of South America to the beaches of Australia, passing through Kenya, India, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand along the way, the trio will not only find themselves, but a lifelong friendship.”
What made you take to the road?
The three of us (all 28) were living in New York City and working in fast-paced jobs when we discovered that we all shared something in common. Like many women, we were feeling the pressure to hit certain milestones—scoring a big promotion, finding a soul mate, having 2.2 kids—all before reaching a certain age. We were each at various cross roads with our careers, relationships and self-fulfillment. So when Amanda threw out the crazy idea to travel together for a year, all three of us actually started to think that the idea wasn’t so far-fetched. And that, perhaps, it was now or never to do something truly daring before we settled down, got married and had children.
We decided to make a pact: we would quit our jobs, ditch our apartments, put our relationships on hold and embark on a year-long round-the-world journey in search of adventure and inspiration. Dubbing ourselves The Lost Girls, we committed to spending one year of our late twenties wandering the globe.
You called yourselves “The Lost Girls” to describe, “both our own uncertainty about the future and an emotional state we felt represented many in our generation.” Why do you think your generation feels this way, and why did you think travel was an antidote?
We live in unique times where young people in developed nations like ours have an abundance of personal choices. But given the freedom to blaze our own unique path, which direction are we supposed to take? Which specific combination of choices will leave us happiest in the end? Once we leave college and enter the “real world,” we find ourselves with no roadmap to follow, no compass to guide us. And unfortunately, there’s simply no time in our fast-paced, success-driven lives to pause, reflect and determine who we are as individuals — or what we really want. Many of us end up feeling lost in our 20′s, 30′s and beyond simply because we’ve never had a definitive stretch of time that’s earmarked solely for exploration, discovery and self-reflection.
Travel — particularly extended travel — gives you that opportunity. It’s a unique chance to remove yourself from your overscheduled day-to-day, abandon adult responsibilities and view the world almost as if you were a kid again.
You each had a partner that you left behind for the year. I think this is one thing that stops some people, especially women, from embarking on any type of long-term travel when they are not yet married, but are “supposed to be” heading in that direction. What advice would you give to people dealing with this issue?
While we were each in very different relationship situations, we were at a point in our lives where, boyfriend or no boyfriend, we didn’t want to have any regrets or feel like we’d given something up to settle down and get married. And, we were fairly certain that passing up the chance to take a round the world trip with our two friends would have qualified as a pretty big regret. Not that it wasn’t really difficult to leave, but I think we always believed that if we stayed true to ourselves and followed this big dream of traveling for a year, it would make us stronger and more resilient women – and ultimately better partners for the men we choose to spend the rest of our lives with.
You all dropped a lot of the trappings of urban life — good jobs, boyfriends, stability — to travel. What would you say to women who don’t think they can walk away from their lives to make a similar trip?
We’ve met quite a few women over the past few years who are dying to take a break from their current situations to travel but are scared that they’ll lose the career they’ve worked so hard for, or the guy that they love, if they take time off. This simply isn’t the case!
In fact, if you’ve put at least a few years into your career before you take off, you’ll be able to add skills to your resume — learning new languages, volunteering, working abroad, social networking, etc. — that you might never have gotten if you’d stayed home. People often have this misconception that travel somehow negates the work experience you’ve gotten up until that point, but it doesn’t. It can only make you a more interesting, well-rounded candidate when you sit down for your next interview.
As for a boyfriend, it depends. A strong relationship can weather distance for several weeks or even months while one partner goes exploring. (If you’re planning to be apart for a while, though, we’d recommended budgeting for some extra flights to visit one another.)
Why was this trip better/more exploratory and important for you to take with each other rather than your significant others?
Taking a trip with girlfriends allows you more space and time for reflection because you’re not so focused on your “relationship” but rather may be more focused on discovering the world around you. It frees you up to really explore and have fun in a way that is slightly different than the exploration and fun we might seek with our husbands and boyfriends because there is less emphasis on you as a “couple” and more on meeting new people and being able to challenge yourself without feeling like you’re neglecting your partner. Yet you still have your friends there to share in these adventures and to provide moral support so you have even more courage to try new things than you might on your own.
Did taking a year off hurt or help your careers?
Sure, we worried that by taking a year off to travel, we’d be committing career suicide, no one would hire us again and that we’d be in debt forever…but we went anyway, and none of those fears were realized! We were shocked to find that going on the road actually seems to make us more valuable to our employers.
Every woman must decide for herself whether to take the road of marriage, or motherhood, or career. Or all three. Or something else entirely. Our grandmothers and mothers worked hard to get us to this place, but there is no roadmap that helps us learn how to trust our guts so we can make the right decisions for us as individuals that will ultimately leave us feeling happy, free and fulfilled. We hope that young women will understand that they’re not alone in their uncertainty, and that it’s okay for them to figure out exactly who they are on their own timeline.
Learn more and meet Jennifer, Holly and Amanda NOW!
Follow them: @lostgirlsworld