GirlGI | Girl Gone International Issue 8 - Page 74

G raduates in Wonderland is the true story of two best friends. Written with raw emotion, this story will take you back to your early years as a girl gone international when the world was your oyster and the hangovers weren’t nearly as brutal. Fast friends since they met at Brown University during their freshman year, Jessica Pan and Rachel KapelkeDale vowed to keep in touch after their senior year through in-depth - and brutally honest - weekly e-mails. After graduation, Jess packs up everything she owns and moves to Beijing on a whim, while Rachel heads to New York to work for an art gallery and to figure out her love life. Each spends the next few years tumbling through adulthood and reinventing themselves in various countries, including France, China, and Australia. Through their messages from around the world, they swap tales of teaching classes of military men, running a magazine, and flirting in foreign languages, along with the hard stuff: from harrowing accidents to breakups and breakdowns. How did you turn your correspondence into a book? Jess We made a pact to stay in touch by writing each other at least once a week after university. We spent those post-college years making big mistakes, travelling, falling in and out love – and through it all, we always wrote to each other. ‘I’m a Girl Gone International because as long as I have a little bit of cash, comfortable shoes and a notebook with me, I can be happy exploring anywhere.’ Rachel Eventually, Jess and I both ended up in Lon- Jess don for very different reasons and one day over coffee we were recounting at what a long, strange trip it’s been. We thought other young women must be going through the same kinds of things that we had and that it would be a fun project for us. We ended up selling it to Penguin a few months later.