An American girl cannot decide what to do with her life, so she wanders around Ireland, Australia and South America with a free-spirited friend.
This is a fun coming-of-age story about a young woman who is just discovering the joys of travel. Good girl Rachel Friedman makes an uncharacteristic decision to go to Ireland without a plan. She is predictably unprepared for the challenges of living in a new country, but soon meets up with Carly, an adventurous Australian, who helps her make the most of her new life and an over-abundance of Guinness. Their friendship eventually takes them around the world, and Friedman learns to let go of her need for a plan and to embrace the freedom of each experience.
Although there are plenty of interesting descriptions of the various exotic locales, this is really a book about traveling culture. The characters who feature most prominently are backpackers from around the world. They have chosen to explore the far reaches of the world for a host of different reasons, but they share a common bond on the road. The book does not create a lasting impression of the locals or the cultures of the various countries, except when Friedman lives with Carly's family in Australia. It is really about being open-minded and allowing oneself to live a life that is different from the traditional American career path, wherever it may take you.
The writing style is witty and genuine. Friedman has no trouble being honest as she details the struggles she has had with her parents, a sense of failure resulting from her decision to leave music school, and the practical discomforts of long-term travel. Her voice is thoroughly engaging, and she captures the attitude of a generation of young people who want something more than a soul-destroying job in the city. This is a book that will speak to anyone who has wondered what they really want to do with their lives (i.e. pretty much everyone), and is especially relevant for young people who have discovered that their preferred industry is now closed to them in the new economic climate. More than anything, it is a book about possibilities.
$9.99 for the Kindle edition
Are you doing what you have always wanted to do with your life? What has affected or changed your path the most?