Four places to Eat, Pray, Love (beyond Italy, Bali and India)

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Four places to Eat, Pray, Love (beyond Italy, Bali and India)

There are so many special places on this planet, and I’ve been fortunate enough to discover many of them.
Like every other “basic” girl from the states, I watched Eat, Pray, Love years ago (saw it twice in theaters) and was even more inspired to travel than I already had been.  It’s hard not to constantly refer back to that story when I am reminded so often by people that I really “remind them of Liz.”
Much like Liz, I knew from a young age that I was going to go to Paris, France, but after seeing that movie and reading the book, I knew I HAD to get to Italy…stat!  And Bali.…and India (still on my list, unchecked, but will make it there in 2018).
So far, I’ve been to two out of three countries featured in the book and movie, and since then have been to 29 more.  While I had memorable experiences in these countries (ie. a short romance in Italy that involved sailing to Capri, no big deal 😆), I think it’s important to look beyond where the movies tell us to go.  I’ve had countess “Eat, Pray, Love” experiences now and I wish the same amount of LIVNG for everyone who’s reading this.
When I first started my travels, I had no idea all of the incredible places I would find.  The few I’ve listed below were particularly impactful for me.  They’re also places I will find myself returning to year after year.


Greece

The food, the history… the endless sounds of “opa!”
Greece is a country where I found simple daily pleasures, a brief romance (that lasted all of 5 days), stunning sites that brought tears to my eyes, and an extra 5-10 pounds of body weight after eating so much food.  I regret NONE of it.  Greece will make you feel alive!
I’ve definitely got an affinity for Mediterranean countries like this one, but Greece was extra special to me for the rich cultural history. I remember studying Greek Mythology as a kid and ACTUALLY paying attention in class (gasp) because I was so intrigued and romanced by it all. You can eat, pray, love and then some in this country and I did it all. I’m still dreaming of shouting “Opa!” with ouzo on hand and the beaches of Creteimg_6575


Ireland

While many people rant and rave about the beer drinking in the famous pubs, I found an entirely different experience for myself here. I pretty much stayed out of the pubs, except for my trip to the Guinness Factory.
I enjoyed all the lush green nature while I was here.  I hiked multiple times, went on jogs to castles and roamed around listening to buskers and made friends in strange places. It’s all what you make it, right?
In addition to the amazing land itself that will put anyone in a state of prayer and love, Ireland is full of incredibly friendly people.  In fact, it is probably the most friendly country I’ve been to yet and it’s been calling me back ever since.


Peru

I recently spent seven whole weeks in the this country and found it extremely difficult to leave. Peru is way more diverse than I realized, and with each stop I fell more in love. Many people know Peru to be a deeply historical and spiritual land that utilizes natural medicine and ancient ceremonies to heal. I experienced my own types of healing while I was in Peru, without drinking the “special tea” (ayahuasca), but I knew many people that did partake and said that it absolutely changed their lives.
What I did do, however, in Peru was challenge myself physically, mentally and emotionally in very extreme ways.  I didn’t experience romantic love, but I did meet a man and have an intense connection, which was invigorating!  You truly never know who you’ll meet on the road…
Physical and mental challenges faced me when I scaled a mountain thousands of feet in the air and zip lined down while my heart pumped out of my chest.  Spiritual challenges when I cried my eyes out as healers told me things about myself I knew deep down but never could quite articulate.  I truly had a spiritual experience.
I credit the land itself for seeing me through.  Perhaps the most impactful experience was the Salkantay trek.  That five day challenge had me praying for strength to get through each day, eating whatever was out in front of me after utter exhaustion, and deeply loving Pacha Mama for her endless gifts. Peru has everything you could want in a place: mountains, jungles, beaches, food, friendly locals and spirit. I think Liz missed out on this one during her Eat, Pray, Love quest if you ask me!


South Africa

If you’ve been following for a while you know how much I loved South Africa, so much so that I skipped my first flight booked out of there and ended up staying almost a year. South Africa provided me with experiences I’ll never forget- like climbing Table Mountain (twice!) and taking surf lessons at Muizenberg Beach.
Like many others that visit this country, I experienced deep healing by appreciating the natural beauty all around. I tried all different types of foods and amazing wines here. I found love (and heartache). I prayed my way through it all. My time in South Africa was like a vortex into a deeper, raw existence that forced me to face myself, and who doesn’t need that?


I hope you’re all having a beautiful last month of 2017 and planning many adventures for the upcoming year.  I know I am!  Where shall I eat, pray, love next??
~HMD

About the Author:

On August 14th, 2015 I left my life in the United States behind with the intention to never look back. I had the "American Dream" and I woke up from it, to create a new reality for myself. I sought out beauty in a world that was increasingly dark for me at the time and ended up finding more than I bargained for. With only a backpack, I traveled across Europe, South East Asia and then on to Africa. With over 30 countries stamped in my passport, I've become an entirely new version of myself with a broader perspective on what it means to be a woman in today's world. My hope is that by sharing my stories and featuring women like me from around the world, we can inspire others to break down their own internal barriers and go cross a few international borders while they're at it. I truly believe travel can be healing to a troubled soul, empowering to the lost and rejuvenating for the exhausted. Perspective is everything, and I believe in the power of "going global," what about you? SheGoesGlobal.net is a site that started out with my stories and grew into a platform for women all around the world to tell their travel tales of trials and triumph. We all believe that the more you see of the world, the better you can be as a person who inhabits it. Women encouraging other women to grow, travel, evolve- that's what SGG is all about. ---> Read my very first blog post (see "Archives" for August 2015) to learn how this all began.

2 Comments

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