Disclaimer: my trip is not based on nor inspired by Eat, Pray, Love. While I liked the book and was satisfied with the movie, my journey is not designed to be anything like Elizabeth Gilbert’s trek from Italy to India to Indonesia.
Considering how much I enjoyed the book, it surprised me to find out how many travel writers I follow were put off after reading it. Many found it to be a whinging, self-indulgent, over-spiritualized melodrama, and some of it was.
Compared to what many travelers sacrifice to see the world, Liz had it easy. She received a sizable advance from her publisher to write a book about her experience and then lived in very comfortable accommodations while she dealt with her personal demons. In the neatly packaged conclusion, Liz found everything she was looking for (solace in food, a dude and her version of God) and ended up making a financial killing in the process. Maybe all that snark was jealousy?
But let’s go back to my reality vs. Liz’s reality. Like Liz, I’m a single gal who left everything behind to travel the world alone. That’s about it for similarities.
Liz bailed on her marriage and traveled to escape conflict. She was confused and lost and needy and sad and lonely and broken.
I just love to travel. That’s it.
Due to the fact that she was already a published writer, Liz had the financial means to live it up in self-financed comfort during her trip. Her spiritual journey ultimately brought her love, a best-selling book and a Julia Roberts rom-com. While I don’t know if I’ll end up with love, a writing career or a movie about my trip (ooh maybe Rachel McAdams could play me!), on the financial side, I saved for years and am footing the bill for most of my experiences.
Liz was trying to figure out all sorts of existential questions… what’s the meaning of life? What’s my purpose on this planet? Why did my marriage fail?
I’m not expressly looking for anything or anyone. I’m not recovering from a divorce or seeking enlightenment or trying to find myself. I don’t have any questions I need to have answered by a guru or a yogi or a healer to feel satisfied with my life. It’s a given that I will learn new things about myself this year and will gain perspective that I didn’t even know I didn’t have, but I’m not actively trying to figure anything out. I am not expecting anything in particular, but I am expectant.
Liz was searching for meaning, grasping at bits of various cultures and religions along the way, looking for answers and fulfillment. On the other hand, I am a Christian, straight up. I’m very grounded in my beliefs.Like Liz, I will be seeking God all along the way, but the difference is I know where to find Him.
Apparently, grand journeys like mine often lead to epiphanies and lifestyle change and whatnot, so who knows what parallels my trip may end up sharing with Eat, Pray, Love. I may ride an elephant, get my yoga on or meet someone hot in Bali. For now though, the only thing I have in common with Liz is a yearlong trip.
One more disclaimer: if Javier Bardem is waiting for me in Bali, then I might have to change the title of this post and just flipping go with it.