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The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure

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Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer who spurs Rachel on to a yearlong odyssey that takes her to three continents, fills her life with newfound friends, and gives birth to a previously unrealized passion for adventure.  As her journey takes her to Australia and South America, Rachel discovers and embraces her love of travel and unlocks more truths about herself than she ever realized she was seeking. Along the way, the erstwhile good girl finally learns to do something she’s never done before: simply live for the moment.


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Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim (and in an effort to escape impending life decisions), she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited. There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, a born adventurer who spurs Rachel on to a yearlong odyssey that takes her to three continents, fills her life with newfound friends, and gives birth to a previously unrealized passion for adventure.  As her journey takes her to Australia and South America, Rachel discovers and embraces her love of travel and unlocks more truths about herself than she ever realized she was seeking. Along the way, the erstwhile good girl finally learns to do something she’s never done before: simply live for the moment.

30 review for The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    On the surface, I should have LOVED this book. But because it hit a little too close to home, I didn't love it. Maybe if I had read it like 10 years ago I would have liked it more, but the fact is I could relate too much to it, which took away from my enjoyment. The author and I are the same age. We have done a lot of the same things. Why does she have a (not spectacularly good) book and I don't? Oh yeah, it's because her parents are rich, work in publishing and she is from the East Coast. Just On the surface, I should have LOVED this book. But because it hit a little too close to home, I didn't love it. Maybe if I had read it like 10 years ago I would have liked it more, but the fact is I could relate too much to it, which took away from my enjoyment. The author and I are the same age. We have done a lot of the same things. Why does she have a (not spectacularly good) book and I don't? Oh yeah, it's because her parents are rich, work in publishing and she is from the East Coast. Just for once, I would like to read a book about someone from the West Coast (not, SF, which is like NYC of the west) doing all these things. While I enjoyed the stories (could relate to them all fully), the writing was a little off for me. There was no reason for the author to be doing any of this. And she talked more about her friends family then she did her own. So weird. Loved: Ireland, working Sydney (can so picture it all) and then a major turning point in the book at a bar I think every tourist passes through at some point while in Cusco. If you are interested in working abroad and have not yet, pick it up. If you have, the whole thing will just seem lame. I don't mean or want to be petty, but there is nothing special here that everyone experiences whilst overseas.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kamila Dk

    Dear Rachel Friedman, the poet Gabriel Mistral you mention on p. 268 is actually Gabriela Mistral -a female, just for your record. 1945 Nobel Prize winner. Also your remark on p. 157 about you not speaking Austrian - well, guess what? No one does. The language spoken in Austria is actually German. Please check you facts next time. I was rather disappointed with this book - a description of accommodation and means of travel rather than a travelogue. It failed to captivate me. Maybe ok for someone who Dear Rachel Friedman, the poet Gabriel Mistral you mention on p. 268 is actually Gabriela Mistral -a female, just for your record. 1945 Nobel Prize winner. Also your remark on p. 157 about you not speaking Austrian - well, guess what? No one does. The language spoken in Austria is actually German. Please check you facts next time. I was rather disappointed with this book - a description of accommodation and means of travel rather than a travelogue. It failed to captivate me. Maybe ok for someone who's never been on the road, but very dull and offering nothing interesting for a seasoned traveller.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I'm a sucker for traveling to find yourself and find the world books and this falls neatly into this category. I really get the "I don't want to do what I'm expected to do with my life but I really don't know what I want to do with my life" feelings that Friedman had. I still have those feelings and I'm in my 50's! This book showed how she grew with her various travels and expanded her realm of consciousness. She has an easy way of describing herself and her journeys and the people and experienc I'm a sucker for traveling to find yourself and find the world books and this falls neatly into this category. I really get the "I don't want to do what I'm expected to do with my life but I really don't know what I want to do with my life" feelings that Friedman had. I still have those feelings and I'm in my 50's! This book showed how she grew with her various travels and expanded her realm of consciousness. She has an easy way of describing herself and her journeys and the people and experiences she had along the way. Made me want to get out and travel!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    More like 3.5 stars. It's a cute read, nothing awful but nothing necessarily spectacular. In the beginning her naïveté was a bit annoying although she does grow through her travels. Oh and the chapter introductions where she refers to herself as "our heroine" were super annoying and accompanied each chapter. She wasn't MY heroine in any sense of the word and to call yourself a heroine produces multiple eye rolls from me. In the book, as a backpacker, she talks a lot about at hostels how they hav More like 3.5 stars. It's a cute read, nothing awful but nothing necessarily spectacular. In the beginning her naïveté was a bit annoying although she does grow through her travels. Oh and the chapter introductions where she refers to herself as "our heroine" were super annoying and accompanied each chapter. She wasn't MY heroine in any sense of the word and to call yourself a heroine produces multiple eye rolls from me. In the book, as a backpacker, she talks a lot about at hostels how they have a book exchange since when traveling it's hard to bring multiple books. It just so happens that I brought the book on my travels to Costa Rica and the place I'm staying also has a book exchange. So it seems fitting to leave it here in Costa Rica for another traveler to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Camille Dent

    I picked up this book when I couldn't find Eat, Pray, Love anywhere in my local bookstore, but I was in the mood for a good travel story. Tip: do not substitute this book for Eat, Pray, Love if you can't find it in your bookstore. I can guarantee you it will be worth the wait, and I haven't even read it yet. This is the first book I've ever given 1 star. I honestly did not learn anything useful from this book, and none of my memories of her travels are very clear or meaningful. I read this book ov I picked up this book when I couldn't find Eat, Pray, Love anywhere in my local bookstore, but I was in the mood for a good travel story. Tip: do not substitute this book for Eat, Pray, Love if you can't find it in your bookstore. I can guarantee you it will be worth the wait, and I haven't even read it yet. This is the first book I've ever given 1 star. I honestly did not learn anything useful from this book, and none of my memories of her travels are very clear or meaningful. I read this book over the course of a week, so it's not like I sped through it or stretched it out too long. I gave it a good average time to impress me. After Part 1, I was expecting a decent 3-star book. After Part 2, my expectations lowered to 2 stars, and it just kept depleting from there. A majority of the descriptions are of her living and transportation accommodations, so while I now know plenty about hostels and buses, I did not learn much of any culture. There is a ridiculous amount of similes and metaphors, making the whole book feel very pretentious. I did not like her attitude towards the world most of the time, and her definition of "good girl" is very different from mine. I don't typically expect "good girls" to get drunk without a second thought in unfamiliar environments and do a nude photoshoot on a college campus at night. The title of the book completely skewed my expectations away from what I actually read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    This book is written in a breezy style that captured my attention from the start. I felt almost as if I were there with Rachel during her travels and escapades. Often times humorous, there were also moments that caused me to step back slightly, as Rachel apparently did, and take a look at an idea or issue with, what seemed like, a new set of eyes. I loved reading about all the different places she visited and people she encountered. For me, it got a bit tedious after awhile listening to her bemo This book is written in a breezy style that captured my attention from the start. I felt almost as if I were there with Rachel during her travels and escapades. Often times humorous, there were also moments that caused me to step back slightly, as Rachel apparently did, and take a look at an idea or issue with, what seemed like, a new set of eyes. I loved reading about all the different places she visited and people she encountered. For me, it got a bit tedious after awhile listening to her bemoan the fact that she just could not come to terms with what direction she wanted her life to take, as I believe she made that decision rather splendidly when she first decided to travel. I did enjoy watching her grow into a more self-assured, self-reliant young woman as she tackled various new adventures. I found this memoir entertaining, funny, educational, and just down-right appealing. It was worth the time to view the world through Rachel’s experiences, and I am so glad I happened upon this book. Laurie-J Reviewer for Night Owl Reviews

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I would rate this 2.5 if I could, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a 3. This book feels weird to me. While I did enjoy it, I would often put it down and not return for days or weeks because I dreaded reading it again. I recall enjoying it while reading it, but I can't seem to think of why that was. Eventually I finished it because I didn't want to leave another book half read. So here's the deal. Stuffy, 20-something year old Rachel Friedman does something that is apparently I would rate this 2.5 if I could, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a 3. This book feels weird to me. While I did enjoy it, I would often put it down and not return for days or weeks because I dreaded reading it again. I recall enjoying it while reading it, but I can't seem to think of why that was. Eventually I finished it because I didn't want to leave another book half read. So here's the deal. Stuffy, 20-something year old Rachel Friedman does something that is apparently completely out of character for her and moves to Ireland for four months. There she meets her complete opposite, the adventurous and carefree Australian, not to mention travel-junkie, Carly Dawson. The girls strike an instant friendship and after Friedman returns to America to finish her degree, the two spend a year living and travelling together. Here is what I enjoyed: I liked the authour's voice even though she got on my nerves sometimes. She had a very dry, sarcastic sense of humour. She reminded me a lot of myself, in fact. I also liked the philosophical musings she discusses in the book, having to do with finding one's place in the world, carving out your own life and facing your fears. Here is what I did not enjoy: While the authour was a good writer and had an amusing sense of humour, most of the time she came off as a bit self entitled. She spends the entire book complaining and stressing. Through this, she claims that travel is changing her and that is has become a passion, yet she seems miserable the entire time and continually makes rookie traveler mistakes even after months of wandering. She seemed only to be traveling because she had nothing better to do and didn't want to face the unknown waiting her back in the US. I think I would prefer to have read this from Carly's point of view. I also did not like the way her travel stories were laid out. More than half the book is not actual traveling, but merely the authour moving to countries that are not culturally unlike America and living the average life that she fears so much. Besides that, we never get to read about the activities she does in the road, and when we do, it's only the activities that A) almost cause her death, B) she hated or C) made her terrified. I feel as if this book is one giant description of the authour moving between places. She spends 17 hours on a bus, then stops in this town on her way to this town from which she plans on travelling by train to this country. It got very monotonous and I find myself not caring where she went because she alway did the exact same thing: drank in pubs and slept in hostels. I feel like her descriptions of hostels are more vivid than those of countries. All in all, not a terrible book, but it didn't get my heart pumping like really well written travel memoirs do. I liked it enough that I would be interested in reading other travel writings she may publish, but not enough that I would pick this up if I was in need of some travel inspiration.

  8. 5 out of 5

    thereadytraveller

    The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure is a heart-warming and funny story of self-evolution and mateship, as defined through travel. Following her parents’ divorce and subsequent remarriage to new partners, Friedman decides to spend the summer before her last year of college travelling alone in Ireland to best avoid them all. Landing in Dublin, she quickly realises that living in hostels on your own is harder and more lonelie The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure is a heart-warming and funny story of self-evolution and mateship, as defined through travel. Following her parents’ divorce and subsequent remarriage to new partners, Friedman decides to spend the summer before her last year of college travelling alone in Ireland to best avoid them all. Landing in Dublin, she quickly realises that living in hostels on your own is harder and more lonelier than originally envisaged. She follows her instincts and decides to move on to Galway where she finds herself sharing an apartment with two Spaniards and her future travel writing muse, the free-spirited wanderlust-infused Australian, Carly. Over time, Carly introduces Friedman to a different kind of travelling where things don’t have to be planned and detailed to the nth-degree, which emboldens Friedman to literally and metaphorically fling away the constraints of her Big Red baggage and transition to a fully-fledged backpacker. Friedman's journey takes us across Ireland and Australia before venturing to South America, at which point she is able to fully earn her backpacking stripes. Traipsing through Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Chile she and Carly travel cheaply and painfully. There’s plenty of adventures and dark tales on the road and Friedman is able to share a lot of the wonder and fun that accompanies their travels. Her earlier description of experiences in the Emerald Isle will also resonate well with anyone who has ever travelled abroad on various working holiday-type Visas. Crammed into accommodations of dubious quality, working bum jobs, partying far too often and forming instantaneous bonds with other travellers at the drop of a hat, will be all too familiar. The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost is more than just a travelogue-based memoir. At its heart, it gives us great insight into the author’s personal growth as she feels emboldened to break away from constantly seeking the approval of her parents and discovering how she should spend her life. Friedman allows her anxieties and neuroses to play out in her writing, in what is an honest and refreshing story of someone coming to terms with themselves and has written an extremely enjoyable and light-heartened account of someone not quite sure of how best to live up to societal norms.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Ugh. Why is the author's voice so annoying? I'm trying to pinpoint exactly why it bothers me so much, but I can't quite. Her prose are fine, and I found her descriptions of her locations and activities enjoyable, but she just comes off as a spoiled rich brat. I feel like she is one of those people who travel for the bragging rights, or to prove how tough they are. She is also one of the unhappiest travelers I've read about. She starts off in Ireland, where instead of exploring the area and enjoy Ugh. Why is the author's voice so annoying? I'm trying to pinpoint exactly why it bothers me so much, but I can't quite. Her prose are fine, and I found her descriptions of her locations and activities enjoyable, but she just comes off as a spoiled rich brat. I feel like she is one of those people who travel for the bragging rights, or to prove how tough they are. She is also one of the unhappiest travelers I've read about. She starts off in Ireland, where instead of exploring the area and enjoying herself, she is trying to find a job/housing and worrying about money, it doesn't seem like she does anything very out of the ordinary or worth reading about. Honestly, who moves to a new place and doesn't want to explore the country?! But she lives with an Australian girl who has traveled lots of places and lives in the moment, unlike the author who wants her life very planned and seems perpetually stressed about it. So great, now she is going to have this transformation and learn to let go a little bit, but nope! She does back home finished school, and only when the Australian calls to see if she wants to visit does the author consider traveling again, and it feels as through she is going for lack of anything else in her life. While she is in Australia she once again quickly gets a job and stays in Sydney, it's only with her friend's parent's prodding does she even explore more of the country. And the entire time she is there she bemoans the fact that she doesn't know what she is doing with her life and feels guilty for spending it abroad. I kind of just want her to shut up and go have fun already! You're in a new country, your room and board is being provided for you, stop the whining already! There are thousands of people who dream of traveling and could never afford the ticket to places that she goes, so it's frustrating to hear her complain so much. She finally decides to do some real traveling (not just move somewhere and get a job) with her Australian friend in South America, it sounds horrible. She is very competitive with her friend, to the point of it being a strange relationship, she seems to want to prove that she is just as tough and seems almost resentful of even being with this girl. Then she explains all the horrible things that happen, cars getting stuck, getting robbed, getting groped, staying in bad places, scary bike rides, bug bites....I feel like if she is that miserable she needs to go home! What's the point of being unhappy on your travels? But no, she needs to prove herself, to show how tough she is and what a bad ass traveler she is. It gets tiring. I finished the book, but just barely. It was a super easy read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Hurst

    My love of traveling is the only thing that made this book bearable. The author's voice was immature and the writing was mind numbingly formulaic. I might recommend this book to young, less experienced readers to get them excited about traveling, but everyone else should steer clear.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love a good travel memoir but the author was just not someone I could get behind. After extensive traveling in two countries, she still doesn't have the travel smarts to look into the prospect of needing a visa to get into Brazil, severely disrupting her and her travel companion's plans. I'm all about rolling with the punches of traveling, but her stupidity was just beyond something I could get over. To top it all off, she doesn't look into needing to pay a departure tax on her final trip home I love a good travel memoir but the author was just not someone I could get behind. After extensive traveling in two countries, she still doesn't have the travel smarts to look into the prospect of needing a visa to get into Brazil, severely disrupting her and her travel companion's plans. I'm all about rolling with the punches of traveling, but her stupidity was just beyond something I could get over. To top it all off, she doesn't look into needing to pay a departure tax on her final trip home which is something I found out right away on one of my trips because I bothered to research for 5 minutes on the country I was going to. I don't expect all travelers to know everything but I would expect someone who had been on the road for nearly a year to learn SOMETHING along the way. Even if I didn't like the people themselves, I tend to like the travel aspect of a book. But after finishing the book, I didn't really feel like I was shown anything at all. Her descriptions of the places she went to in South America blended together like they were all the same location. She spent more time drinking and smoking in Ireland than exploring (something I wouldn't necessarily see a proclaimed 'good girl' to do). Overall, not the worst memoir I've read but I have no desire to read it again or read anything else the author writes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    kathleen

    ..."What if, instead of grasping at something to hold on to, we pull up our roots and walk away? Instead of trying to find the way back, we walk deeper and deeper into the woods, willing ourselves to get lost. In this place where nothing is recognizable, not the people or the language or the food, we are truly on our own. Eventually, we find ourselves unencumbered by the past or the future. Here is a fleeting glimpse of our truest self, our self in the present moment. After that, maybe we can fi ..."What if, instead of grasping at something to hold on to, we pull up our roots and walk away? Instead of trying to find the way back, we walk deeper and deeper into the woods, willing ourselves to get lost. In this place where nothing is recognizable, not the people or the language or the food, we are truly on our own. Eventually, we find ourselves unencumbered by the past or the future. Here is a fleeting glimpse of our truest self, our self in the present moment. After that, maybe we can finally go home--or maybe not." A really inspiring tale of travels, adventure, gain, loss, and everything in between. As I am already quite bitten with the travel bug, but need to get out there and embark on some longer journeys of my own, I found this memoir really uplifting- if this girl and get out there and do it, who's to say I can't too? :D

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicole {Sorry, I'm Booked}

    Review originally published on my blog: https://sorryiambooked.wordpress.com/... I absolutely loved this travel memoir! Friedman’s stories about her travels provide a look into what’s like to travel alone, the good along with the not so good. I really liked this about Friedman’s travel memoir because she was truthful about her experiences instead of twisting things or leaving pieces out to make it seem like everything was awesome and super glamorous when traveling isn’t always like that. Friedman’s Review originally published on my blog: https://sorryiambooked.wordpress.com/... I absolutely loved this travel memoir! Friedman’s stories about her travels provide a look into what’s like to travel alone, the good along with the not so good. I really liked this about Friedman’s travel memoir because she was truthful about her experiences instead of twisting things or leaving pieces out to make it seem like everything was awesome and super glamorous when traveling isn’t always like that. Friedman’s voice was also easy to read and relatable throughout her memoir, with traces of humor and seriousness in all the right places.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    Loved this book! The author has that rare talent to be able to relate an uproariously funny story from her memory to the written word. Her trials and triumphs on the road (literally) to discovering herself had me laughing and cheering for her the entire way. I am lucky enough to have a Carly in my life so I can totally relate to the friendship formed while traveling but solidified by shared experience. A truly great read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    The next best thing to embarking on your own great trip is getting immersed in someone else's. Rachel Friedman's tale of discovering a fierce passion for travel that she didn't know she harbored, and her experiences backpacking in Ireland, Australia, and South America had me absolutely engrossed. I didn't want it to end, but now that I'm finished it's time to go plan my own next trip...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Jemar

    This book had such potential but was ruined by the lack of story and dialogue. It felt like reading a geography book about Ireland, Australia and South America. There is no storyline. The author spends the entire book describing in detail all the places she went but there is no character development or story. She went on for 3 pages describing the red sand in Australia. do not waste your time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    There are rocky parts to this book, but it finishes strong (especially when I know it's a true story! I enjoy discovering someone's experiences and it encourages me to travel too! I would recommend this to anyone who loves to travel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    Rachel always did what was expected of her until one day she didn't. She flew to Ireland and spent the summer in Galway. There she meets Carly who becomes a roommate, friend, and future travel companion. At first I wasn't impressed since it seems that Rachel's stint was one drinking stint after another. But when Carly invited Rachel to visit her Australian family I became more impressed. I enjoyed her Australian adventures and her new family. Rachel grows up and becomes more confident. Carly and Rachel always did what was expected of her until one day she didn't. She flew to Ireland and spent the summer in Galway. There she meets Carly who becomes a roommate, friend, and future travel companion. At first I wasn't impressed since it seems that Rachel's stint was one drinking stint after another. But when Carly invited Rachel to visit her Australian family I became more impressed. I enjoyed her Australian adventures and her new family. Rachel grows up and becomes more confident. Carly and Rachel decide to go backpacking in South America together. They have some hair raising experiences. Through them Rachel becomes more comfortable in her own skin and embraces the lessons that travel has to offer.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I hope I never get sick of this genre. I'm literally always down to hear about a female solo traveller. Each writer has a unique perspective going into it, including biases to be worn down. They pick a unique mix of places to live or pass through. Meet different people. Have different epiphanies. I cheered for Rachel when she went skydiving. I was apprehensive for her having to say goodbye to Carly after South America. I was touched by her connection with Muriel. My favorite travel memoirs are p I hope I never get sick of this genre. I'm literally always down to hear about a female solo traveller. Each writer has a unique perspective going into it, including biases to be worn down. They pick a unique mix of places to live or pass through. Meet different people. Have different epiphanies. I cheered for Rachel when she went skydiving. I was apprehensive for her having to say goodbye to Carly after South America. I was touched by her connection with Muriel. My favorite travel memoirs are probably about the same length but span more years. However, I still enjoyed this one and would be interested to hear Rachel's thoughts on the next chapter of her life and other travels :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This book was charming and full of feel-good adventure. I loved the authors lighthearted take on not knowing what path to take. My nostalgia for Peru and the excitement for upcoming adventures in Ireland and Australia were quenched by her tales.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dhwani

    This book will inspire you to follow your dreams and live in the moment. It's a bit detailed though.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Vrabec

    A perfect travel/vacation read. Rachel Friedman’s writing is lighthearted, witty and candid.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katharine Rudzitis

    Memorable locations and activities throughout. This might make you want to travel more...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cody Alana

    I loved this book, and not just because I found it relatable, but when I finished, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sharn Dhah

    The voice is initially what turned me off to this book. Snobby white girl from an upper middle class family travels the globe and meets people who are far less privileged and still doesn't understand their lives very well. There is a point where Friedman is in Peru and explains the native marriage traditions, where a bride cuts her hair and the groom weaves it into a belt that he will wear. It sounds romantic, but Friedman only analyzes it on the most superficial level, "Does she wonder how her The voice is initially what turned me off to this book. Snobby white girl from an upper middle class family travels the globe and meets people who are far less privileged and still doesn't understand their lives very well. There is a point where Friedman is in Peru and explains the native marriage traditions, where a bride cuts her hair and the groom weaves it into a belt that he will wear. It sounds romantic, but Friedman only analyzes it on the most superficial level, "Does she wonder how her new cut will change the shape of her face?" This is indicative of the entire book. Friedman says she learns a lot about herself, but the reader sure doesn't, except for in the vaguest of terms. There seems to be little reflection of her experience and the impact it had on her life. The writing is also not very polished. It doesn't seem as though much revision took place and the writing suffers from terrible concluding sentences that are meant to serve as neat endings but really say nothing. I was hoping for an account of far away places that I may never travel to but would be able to experience through her writing, and I really didn't get that at all. There are opportunities for a more interesting story, such as explaining more about her failed musical aspirations: there is a scene between her and her music teacher, who sounds a bit like the guy in "Whiplash." I would loved to hear more about that. The bits about Carly's mom's life are also interesting. It's not uncommon to look toward someone's else life as a guide for your own. Unfortunately, we don't really get to see what happens with Friedman's life besides an unsatisfyingly brief epilogue.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Marquis

    I enjoyed this three-part story of how an anxious, Type-A college grad found a new home and, in many ways, a new personality after her decision to live abroad without a real plan. Author Rachel Friedman has acquired buckets of knowledge and experience and learned there is much value in bucking the norms of what we're "supposed" to do as middle-class Americans. What if there's something better, or simply, something else? It's a question I'm pondering myself. The third section, that of Friedman's I enjoyed this three-part story of how an anxious, Type-A college grad found a new home and, in many ways, a new personality after her decision to live abroad without a real plan. Author Rachel Friedman has acquired buckets of knowledge and experience and learned there is much value in bucking the norms of what we're "supposed" to do as middle-class Americans. What if there's something better, or simply, something else? It's a question I'm pondering myself. The third section, that of Friedman's travels in South America, was the tightest and most exciting. Finally her narration–her character–takes on a passion unmatched in Ireland and Australia. Here we see her facing real challenges and growing exponentially. The first two sections are important, as they describe the serious internal struggles (and misadventures) of a travel novice, an American transplant with no plan. But here, the story experiences its own struggles. Were it more balanced with action–funny or poignant vignettes of the people she talked to and the things she experienced–Ireland and Australia would stick more firmly in the reader's mind. As is, I struggled to visualize her adventures in these countries. In South America, I am finally able to see through the author; she becomes the "lens" so important in travel writing. Still a good story, though would be much benefited with use of the "South America lens" the whole way through.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    When will I learn that I'm too old to fully appreciate memoirs of globe trotting twenty somethings with English degrees finding themselves? There certainly seems to be a market for the genre. Rachel Friedman's account of wanderings in Ireland, Australia and South America is less self indulgent and less sloppily written than many similar books. However, I'm still puzzled as to what I was to gain from this read except from travel tales of bed bugs, gropers, food poisoning and inadequate budgeting. When will I learn that I'm too old to fully appreciate memoirs of globe trotting twenty somethings with English degrees finding themselves? There certainly seems to be a market for the genre. Rachel Friedman's account of wanderings in Ireland, Australia and South America is less self indulgent and less sloppily written than many similar books. However, I'm still puzzled as to what I was to gain from this read except from travel tales of bed bugs, gropers, food poisoning and inadequate budgeting. Why would I admire someone who, after all her shared experiences and self discoveries, can't pay the exit tax at the end of her adventure? What she did find was a publisher to finance future travels. And, I still haven't discovered why I'm attracted to these books and I'm always disappointed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    SF

    I loved, loved, loved this book. After reading it, I want to sell everything, pack a bag and set off to some destination (any destination really, but Australia is mighty appealing). I am in awe of Rachel & Carly... slightly jealous of their adventures... and this is only lessened by the empowering message: I can do it too. I can't recommend this book enough. As a fan of travel memoirs, I can tell you this is one of the better ones. Friedman does a great job weaving in factual information about h I loved, loved, loved this book. After reading it, I want to sell everything, pack a bag and set off to some destination (any destination really, but Australia is mighty appealing). I am in awe of Rachel & Carly... slightly jealous of their adventures... and this is only lessened by the empowering message: I can do it too. I can't recommend this book enough. As a fan of travel memoirs, I can tell you this is one of the better ones. Friedman does a great job weaving in factual information about her journeys (logistics, currency exchanges, political situations) with her feelings and interactions with those she encounters. I simultaneously wanted to come along with her (especially in Buenos Aires, Galway, and anywhere in Aussie) and wanted to stay safe at home (skydiving? biking 'death road'? scary travels in South America?). SUCH a good read. Get ready to pack your bag!

  29. 5 out of 5

    juddy18

    I always try to read a book during finals week that makes me feel like I am somewhere else entirely. This book is a good example of that genre as it follows the author's travels to Ireland, Australia, and South America immediately before and after her college graduation as she decides what she wants to do with her life. My cousin was in the Peace Corps after she graduated from college (and coincidentally met her husband in Bolivia, a detail somewhat similar to this author) and I was struck by th I always try to read a book during finals week that makes me feel like I am somewhere else entirely. This book is a good example of that genre as it follows the author's travels to Ireland, Australia, and South America immediately before and after her college graduation as she decides what she wants to do with her life. My cousin was in the Peace Corps after she graduated from college (and coincidentally met her husband in Bolivia, a detail somewhat similar to this author) and I was struck by the fact that as I read this book, I could understand now a bit of the motivation that inspired my cousin (I had been too young at the time). It's an interesting read with a good voice - in other words, the ideal plane reading!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    I won this book on Goodreads first reads giveaways (a very GOOD read). I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained by this travel memoir. In-between chapters I found myself looking in travel magazines and searching for flights for my next adventure. I enjoyed Friedman's writing style as she humorously relayed events from her months abroad in Ireland (and lugging around "Big Red"), learning about Australian sarcasm (watch out for the dangerous "Drop Bears") and abbreviations, and her bout I won this book on Goodreads first reads giveaways (a very GOOD read). I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained by this travel memoir. In-between chapters I found myself looking in travel magazines and searching for flights for my next adventure. I enjoyed Friedman's writing style as she humorously relayed events from her months abroad in Ireland (and lugging around "Big Red"), learning about Australian sarcasm (watch out for the dangerous "Drop Bears") and abbreviations, and her bout with X-treme sports and champion bug swatting in South America. This is an inspiring book for female solo travelers everywhere, and I hope to read more from Friedman in the future.

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