“Eat, Pray, Love” is an inspiring story about a woman who travels the world to find peace and learn to love herself. The book has enjoyed its time at the top of many bestsellers lists and has even inspired a Hollywood movie, starring Julia Roberts in the title role. The author of the book and protagonist, Elizabeth Gilbert, travels to Italy, India and Bali. She learns different lessons in each country she travels to. In Italy she learns how to eat, in India she learns how to pray and in Bali she learns how to love. This story has appealed to millions and with plenty of good reason, too. People everywhere desire inner transformation and to see the world, perhaps both at the same time. The good news is: both are readily available!
Decide the Where
Gilbert had her own reasons for choosing her three destinations. She loved the Italian language, had already began to transform with India’s art of yoga and a previous visit to Bali initiated this entire journey. These reasons prompted her to visit those three countries in particular. Tourism has spiked dramatically in all of these locations, showing that people are attempting to replicate the experience she had. While they are all great vacation destinations – if you truly want to transform, find your own destinations!
If you wish to capture some of the transformational magic that Gilbert experienced, you must do as she did. Ask yourself some tough questions. What countries have called out to you throughout your life? Has there been a particular language you find incredible? Do your interests have a “motherland” where you can further explore them? What natural scenery would most catalyze your deepest and perhaps most spiritual side? If you end up still wanting to visit the same countries, go for it! Just make sure that you are going for your reasons and not simply to emulate Gilbert.
Figure out the How
Travel requires a fair amount of planning. Ensure that you have an up-to-date passport, all required visas and a general idea about how long you want to stay in each country. Save up enough money to fund the entire trip – there is nothing worse than running out of money in a foreign country. Consider how much hotel accommodations will be, the average price of a meal and how much you’d like to spend on other activities.
Investigate vacation packages for the places you’ll be going. Thanks to this book and movie, there are some incredible Bali holiday packages that are very affordable. These packages generally put together airfare, accommodations and meal plans. However, be careful when planning. You don’t want to be rushing around each destination, adhering to a strict schedule. If your true purpose for this journey is inner transformation, you have to be open to things going a different way than you may have expected. Be flexible; plan a rough outline and nothing more.
Experience the Why
It is highly unlikely you will have the exact transformations in the exact destinations that you are visiting. You may have thoughts like, “I’ll travel to China to get over my heartbreak, then go to England to learn how to love again.” That’s usually not how it works. Each destination will teach you its own lessons. Discover these lessons by embodying an adventurous spirit. Every day when you wake up in your country of choice: experience it! Don’t plan and don’t analyze, simply head out into the streets and let your intuition guide you.
A great lesson that Gilbert epitomized is being open to new experiences. Try the local cuisine, enjoy conversing with whomever crosses your path and be ready to embark on adventures. These are the seemingly random occurrences that will help create inner transformation. Check your ego, your likes/dislikes and your fears at the gate when you step on the plane: be fully prepared for whatever your journey may bring.
Write About It!
Elizabeth Gilbert was a writer by trade and was naturally inclined to write as she traveled. As her goal was inner transformation, it’s possible she wrote just for herself to help process her thoughts and emotions. It’s unlikely she was planning to make a book out of it. Do the same thing, even if you consider yourself a bad writer. Don’t write for others; don’t write with the expectation of publishing a book, simply keep a journal, which is a proven therapeutic exercise. Documenting your actions, experiences and emotions will help you handle any emotional rollercoasters that are possibly triggered by this journey.
Your writing will also be a very enjoyable read once you return to your normal life.
Enjoy the Journey
Whether you simply want to see the world or you’re seeking a radical spiritual awakening: enjoy the journey. The destinations are ultimately unimportant; they merely act as a canvass for your pending inner transformation.
This article was provided by Susie Newland, who is currently planning out her own transformative journey.
(Image provided by Steve Jurvetson from Flickr’s Creative Commons)