'The Lost Girls': An Incredible Journey Around The World (PHOTOS)

05/14/2010 06:47 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When we made the decision to leave our careers, apartments and relationships in New York City to take the yearlong, 60,000-mile journey around the planet that we chronicle in our book "Lost Girls," we had just two objectives in mind: To take a serious departure from the beaten track we'd been marching along, and to experience as much of the world as our own comfort zones (and $30 a day budget) would allow.

As we crawled eastward from Peru to Brazil, Kenya to India, Thailand to Bali--and beyond--we observed life through our own critical lenses, views no longer shaped by the news media back home, Hollywood or even an optimistic vision of how we'd hoped the world might turn out to be. While at times we encountered social and gender inequities, government corruption and political unrest roiling just underneath an otherwise subdued surface (Bangkok and Nairobi both powder-kegged soon after we left), the individual connections we made with the people along our journey gave us a visceral connection to the hope and optimism that bind us all together. These are just a few snapshots from our time--and real-world education--abroad.

Lost Girls