Lost Girl of the Week: Angie OrthLost Girl of the Week — By Lost Girls on December 8, 2010 at 6:00 am
This week’s LG of the Week, Angie Orth, lives by Jane Austen’s words, “If adventures do not befall a lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” She’s worked as a publicist in the travel industry for the past six years, spent summers building churches in Bolivia and studied photography in Paris. She was a finalist for season 6 of The Apprentice and a top 50 candidate for Queensland’s Best Job in the World in 2009. She embarks for her next adventure on Dec. 31.
Last week, I was a publicist in NYC with a fantastic job, great friends and a very cute apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. Fast forward to this week… I’m wearing sweats and there’s an ornery housecat on my lap. I’m unemployed, camped out at my parents’ house in rural Florida, surrounded by cardboard boxes and glued to my laptop. It sounds like an unfair trade until you find out what I’m cashing in my chips for – a year around the world!
Traveling has always been my favorite hobby, so it’s no surprise that I’ve interrupted my grown up pursuits to venture abroad. I spent my childhood road-tripping around the country with my grandparents, and when I was 16, I took my first transatlantic flight for a school-sponsored trip to London. I begged my parents to let me go, and they relented eventually, assuming my wanderlust would be quenched and I’d stay put after that. If they’d only known they were opening Pandora’s suitcase, I’m sure they would have said no.
I was obsessed with London – the history, the narrow streets, the quaint shops, the intriguing city folks, the Tube, the accents! I was mesmerized by every detail. Compared to my small town existence back home, everything seemed so fresh and vibrant and interesting. I knew immediately that I would have a love affair with travel for the rest of my life.
A few years later as a junior at the University of Florida, I made my way back to Europe to study photography and French in Paris’ 13th arrondissement. I lived with a family, picked up baguettes and fromage from the market and did what any true Floridian would do in Europe – visited Disneyland Paris. At the time I was homesick for my non-traveling boyfriend, but the romance I had with Paris made me realize that I would rather adventure abroad by myself than have a cozy-but-boring relationship back home.
After college, I moved to Atlanta where I plugged into North Point Community Church and got involved in their short-term missions program. I chose Bolivia because I speak Spanish and it seemed like a great way to get to South America for the first time. We built churches, spent time with orphans, slept in the homes of impoverished locals and worked with street kids. I didn’t expect the trip to have such a huge impact on me, but two years later, I was still going back to the same town to visit and work with the same people. Now I sponsor one of the kids I met and plan to stay with her family again when I go next year.
During the Atlanta years, I worked at a PR agency where I found (to the surprise of no one) that the only clients I truly enjoyed publicizing were travel-related. Two years later, I moved to NYC and became a full-time travel publicist at the world’s largest PR agency. We represented destinations, theme parks, cities, cruise lines, airlines and travel Web sites, and I got to meet amazing people and travel quite a bit in the process.
So why leave? Getting paid to tell the world about travel is all I could ask for in a career, and truly, I loved my job so much. But getting too cozy can be just as detrimental as being miserable. Actually, I think complacency is more dangerous because the years pass by and you forget about growth and dreams and adventures.
With my 29th birthday looming ahead of me, I decided that instead of being comfy in a job or a relationship or a city, I would leave it all behind for an epic adventure to celebrate the last year of my 20s. Considering my eventful travel history to date (I’ve been robbed in San Francisco, drugged unconscious in Cancun, tear-gassed at a protest in Bolivia and I broke my toe in The Bahamas), I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write home about.
I’ve outlined a list of destinations and am booking flights and accommodations this month while I’m at home. I plan to attend church every Sunday, no matter where I am, and to volunteer as much as possible along the way. I’ll be blogging about the process, from planning to departure to the actual adventure, and picking up some freelance writing assignments along the way to help me prolong the trip.
My flight for Fiji departs on Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. When you ring in 2011, wherever you are, save a toast for me!