Eat Pray Love by Liz Gilbert is a book I return to often. I think a lot of travelers read it. Each time I read it I re-discover and reflect. Of course, there is the Eat Pray Love movie too!
Books like Eat Pray Love can have a profound effect and I thought I would take a moment to share five things that Eat Pray Love taught (or in some cases reminded) me about life, how my version of Eat Pray Love changed my life, and what my version of Eat Pray Love would look like.
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
 Life is about Pleasure.
There is a saying that goes: work to live not live to work. I thought it was a French saying, but my husband doesn't think so. I know I heard it many times while working in Switzerland. My office was very international with people from all over Europe, so it is hard to say who to attribute it to.
When I tried to do some research about it online, I ran into many posts about this saying being attributed to Generation Y. I wasn't exposed to the whole generational differences debate while living in Europe, so I still think that its source is European. The point is that this is something that the Eat Pray Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert, observed while she was in Rome.
French and Italians are very similar in their attitudes about life and where work fits in. Pleasure is of utmost importance and is considered a priority in life. I think too often this is overlooked by the simple act of living.
Life is full of stresses and we often miss out on taking pleasure in the small things. It is important to sit still and allow contentment.
As small as a beautiful apple, the sun on your face, or the smell of the paper on the pages of the book you are reading. Taking a moment to remind ourselves to do this is critical. Oddly enough it is a reminder that most French or Italians don't need it, it is ingrained in their DNA.
 It is never too late to find yourself, or reinvent yourself.
(I can't find the specific chapter where this idea grabbed my attention, sorry!)
30, 40, 50. It does not matter. You are not stuck. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
I am still baking, I am not done, and still have lots of time to be “complete.” In the meantime, I can change directions 10 more times before I die. There are no rules that say the person I am at 40 is who I have to be at 50. Don't corner yourself, continue to innovate!
 Food can replenish more than your stomach.
I think food is life. It is more than what is merely on your plate. It is passion, it is sustenance for your body and your soul. I share about how food changed my life below and I honestly believe that it can restore you (when not used as compensation for something else) nourishment by eating is real!
I loved this part of the book. Elizabeth went to a farmer's market in Rome and carefully selected food items to make a simple lunch in her apartment. When she returned and prepared her meal she eats it on the floor drenched in sunlight. She wrote that it was one of the happiest moments of her life and I totally believe it.
The pleasure of nourishment was simple and absolute. Eating in Italy will do that to you!
 Happiness is all a state of mind.
Elizabeth Gilbert called it Diligent Joy. Purposeful appreciation of the simple joys in life [see #1!]. She also quoted a friend who stated that “all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people.” (One of my favorite quotes from Eat Pray Love!) We are a body or emotions after all.
The only person who really has control over how you feel is yourself. You can be slaves to your thoughts or a slave to your emotions. But you can choose to be happy. Choosing happiness over suffering even when things are not going your way. Very Pollyanna, I know, but very powerful.
 You find love when you least expect it. And love is always complicated.
Ain't that the truth! When you stop focusing on something and open yourself up to the possibilities of just being and controlling your own life you would be amazed who gets drawn into your path.
Once “found,” there are no fairy tale stories and all love must be tended to. And it is never easy, ever. But..it is so worth it!
How My Version of Eat Pray Love Changed My Life
Eat Pray Love details the journey (through Italy, India, and Indonesia) that Elizabeth Gilbert took to discover just exactly who she was. For as long as she could remember, her life had become melded with those of the men she shared her life with. Somewhere along the way she lost track of who she really was and decided to embark on a mission to reclaim her life.
Whereas I don't think I had quite lost myself to the depths that Elizabeth Gilbert had. The similarities to Eat Pray Love were there. When my first husband asked for a divorce I was thrown into a tailspin.
I had never had a long period of time without a boyfriend when a relationship ended, it was usually me who was doing it. To have been dumped in such a fashion was a huge wake-up call.
I was a miserable person and therefore made the people around me miserable. Suddenly I had to spend a lot of time with myself and it gave me pause to reflect on what my life had become.
At first, I can't say I was thrilled to have the time, but gradually I really relished the alone time as I discovered, or re-discovered who I was, what I liked, and why I was so unhappy.
I began to travel. Alone. I was lucky enough to be working in a position that afforded me a lot of business trips. I started extending them and exploring Europe and Asia. And what I discovered was the passion that many cultures had for food.
Eating was not just a utility, an exercise to get you from Point A to Point B, but rather an experience. I brought the experiences home with me. Gone were the microwave dinners eaten in five minutes over the sink.
I started buying cheeses and wines and gourmet food products. I started setting myself a spot on the bar and enjoying either a meal I made or one that I had carefully selected. I stopped eating fast food and started thinking about my meals and enjoying the tastes and textures and pleasure.
I enjoyed life and I became happier. I decided that if I could change my life with food, I could change other parts of my life as well. I decided to be happier. Consciously making the decision to be happy opened me up to the Universe and let good things come to me. And I have not ever looked back.
If I ever found myself in the position of being alone again I would travel to where people embrace life and celebrate it. Through food, through wine, through everything in life and I know that I would be okay.
When I read the book Eat Pray Love I was reminded of that, it was something I had not thought about in many years. I am thankful that Elizabeth Gilbert shared her experience in a way that teaches other women that they can rediscover themselves as well.
When I watch Eat Pray Love or rather Julia Roberts' Eat Pray Love I am grateful her story was able to reach a broader audience and inspire more female travelers to get out and explore.
My Version of Eat Pray Love
I read Eat Pray Love late. It had already been out for quite a while when I read it. I liked the book but didn't care too much for the “pray” chapters. I read them, and they were okay, but the topic didn't interest me.
It made me contemplate what would my version of the book have been.
Don't get me wrong. Everything is peachy-keen with Mr. Misadventures, but if I HAD to put myself into Elizabeth Gilbert's shoes. My version would be Eat Love. See, I very nicely erased the “pray” from my version.
So the Misadventures with Andi version would look like this:
- Two months in Japan. One month in Tokyo eating every type of sushi, udon, teriyaki, and tempura item that I could get my hands on. Taking a million photos of all the incredible eye candy that is on the city streets by day and by night. The second month I would take the train through the countryside and visit Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, Nagasaki, etc. I would return to Tokyo for one last night of sushi before I headed off.
- Two weeks in Hong Kong gorging myself on dim sum and noodles. Visiting the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island and shopping in the night markets.
- Two weeks in Thailand. I would stay out of Bangkok, spending only a day or two there, and would spend the rest of the time exploring less touristy parts and eating my way through many of the wonderful regional delicacies that Thailand has to offer.
- Two weeks in Vietnam. A repeat of Thailand. I would spend only a few days in Hanoi and then eat my way through the countryside.
- Two weeks in South Korea. I could stay the entire time in Seoul and eat in the night markets every night! I would visit one of my favorite museums, the Leeum (Samsung) Museum of Art. Then I would shop. I found the best-fitting clothes while staying in Korea. I never have to worry about pants being too long!
That is four months in Asia and now I am ready to hit Europe!
- I would start out in Portugal and move my way west and north.
- One month in Portugal including a trip to the Azores. I would try to find very local restaurants so that I may have a chance to have some of the dishes that my grandparents used to cook. I would kayak through the wine country (at a very leisurely pace) and then eventually end up in the north of the country where I would pop over to Bilbao.
- One month in Spain. Starting in Bilbao where I would spend a week soaking in the amazing architecture and then moving to Barcelona where I would spend the remaining three weeks indulging in tapas and paella to my heart's content.
With my remaining six months I would spend three months in France and three months in Italy.
- Three months in Italy including one month in Rome, one month in Florence/Tuscany, two weeks on the Amalfi Coast, and two weeks in Venice.
- Three months in France. I would end my trip here. The country that has my heart. I would spend one month touring the highlights of France (Toulouse, Normandy, etc.) and the last two months in Paris eating my way through every arrondissement. I would wander the street without a real plan just soaking everything that is the city I love most in the world.
And that is how my journey would go. But what about the Love you ask? Well, have you ever seen a Barcelonian man? A Roman god? And Paris is the City of Love (and Light). I am sure that my healthy lust for food would not fail to attract either a Spaniard, Italian, or Frenchman. That is the easy part…
More from Liz Gilbert
The author of Eat Pray Love has written a few other books you might want to look into. For non-fiction, there is Big Magic, The Last American Man, and Committed, And she has some wonderful novels as well: City of Girls, The Signature of All Things, Stern Men, and Pilgrims.
Did Eat Pray Love teach you something about life? Did you watch the movie Eat Pray Love or read the Eat Pray Love book? What would your version of Eat Pray Love be? What would your version of “Eat” be? Have any favorite Eat Pray Love quotes?
Like it? PIN it!