Eat, Pray, Love.
Surely, you know the book (and movie starring Julia Roberts). The super famous one about the broken hearted woman who traveled the world for one year and found love, peace and carbohydrates? Elizabeth Gilbert’s story spoke to me- loudly- just like it probably did for many of you.
She inspired me and, in many ways, helped me gain the confidence to go out on this adventure I’m on today. She’s a pioneer, a brilliant writer and a motivator for women all around the world. I look up to her.
She, and her book, are so well known that when I tell my story to those I meet around the world, they often reply “Oh, you’re just like that book! What’s it called again?”
I have become the Eat, Pray, Love cliche.
Part of me is totally okay with this. I love her, after all, and am a huge fan of the book. The other part of me demands that my story is different. My experience is unique and solely belongs to me. I am hitting more countries than she did in the book and going about my travels in a very different way. I am not newly divorced (but I am single). I am similar and different and creating a new version of the story. Admittedly, though, all the bullet points of the “Eat, Pray, Love” plot line are there.
Single woman. ✔️
Carb lover. ✔️
Spirituality seeking. ✔️
Travel obsessed. ✔️
I explain often, “Yes, I suppose we are very similar- but aren’t we all like Liz?” Mixed responses always come back and I’ve learned otherwise. No. In fact, we are not all like her. Not really. Not every woman would have the audacity to leave her life behind and go out into the unknown to find a new one. Not every person could hold their own hand as the plane takes off and then lands in a foreign country that doesn’t speak the same language. It’s not everyday you find someone who is willing to walk alone- and able to enjoy it.
People like Liz, and like me, and like some of you are of a different breed. We are citizens of the world and slaves to only ourselves. We realize nothing is permanent and therefor there is no reason to live in fear. We travel temporarily- or for forever- but always retain our sense of self-sustainability.
I am happy to be grouped with these “types of people.” I’m flattered that people consider my story to be as inspirational as Liz Gilbert’s. I love our similarities.
I’ve eaten my way to a larger waist line in Italy, just like in the book. It. Was. Wonderful. The pizza in Naples will seriously make you start vying for pizza- human marriage rights. You may not be able to rely on a partner but you CAN always rely on the pizza in Naples!
I’ve prayed and meditated and practiced self-healing rituals- as Liz did in India. This is not an easy part of the journey but absolutely the most meaningful. I’ve cried it out, written it out, and let it all go. I have forgiven myself and others and began to make sense of my life. Just like Liz.
Then, of course, there’s that final word of the title. Love. The happy ending to the story. The climax and crescendo that happens for Liz during her final months of travel (in Bali). It was my favorite part of the story, and probably yours too. When people make the connection between my life and the one detailed in that book, they start to say things like “Oh maybe you will fall in love while you’re on the road too!” It’s with good intention they say this, but it makes me think: Is that what I am to aspire my trip to be? I wonder this often and try to shrug it off.
I don’t want to wonder or to anticipate. I want to be here- now.
I’ve decided that I will stop the comparisons to Liz. I don’t want to be anxious or expecting or hoping for that last word of the three word book title. I don’t want it to be about love at all. At least not romantic love. I don’t want my story to all build up to finding a man- like in the book.
That’s not what I ever intended this to be.
This journey is not about finding someone else. It’s about finding myself. I know now, I can’t find true love until I can fully love myself. No one can. My story is deeply personal, reflective and full of inner dialogue. Maybe even a little self-centered and selfish- but it’s what I need to become the best version of myself.
All I know is that this is my time to simultaneously eat, pray, and do whatever the hell I need or want to do. It’s a beautiful thing to wake up everyday and consider only what you would like to see or do that day. It’s reassuring to know I can go anywhere in the world, alone, and have a great time- while loving myself. It’s strengthening me traveling along to different parts of the world- forcing me to become more durable. I know this journey is similar to the famous book, but it’s so much more than that to me.
I’ll take the eating and praying- but hold the Brazilian gentleman for later, Liz. I’ve got plenty more to do on my own.