Italy, India, Indonesia—A Voyage of Self-Discovery

When I bought a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love I didn’t know it was a non-fiction book. I came to the bookstore that day not really having any book to purchase in mind and I saw this book with Julia Roberts on the cover and I got curious. I think I’ve also seen trailers of the film on the television then. And like many times I’ve gone to the bookstore not really knowing what to buy, I got curious with the title on the cover and bought it. It was only after I left the bookstore on the way home that I got to read the back cover of the book and read that the “main character” of the book was the author herself.

To be honest, I didn’t read the book right after. It took me around two or three years after I bought it to actually start reading it. I have a habit of collecting books, you see. My to-read usually keeps piling up especially when I started working. Right now I have more than twenty books at home waiting to be read.

This year I decided to create a Goodreads 2012 reading challenge for myself which is to be able to finish reading at least 50 books this year. Right after I finished reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, I decided to steer away a bit from picking up another classic and decided to pick up Eat Pray Love. I figured I could use a change in themes and genre. I also felt like the book might give me some inspiration which it did.

Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love, like the title of this blog entry says, is a voyage of self-discovery for the author. A journey to three I‘s to find pleasure, divinity, and a balance between the two.

“I want to explore the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India and, in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two. It was only later, after admitting this dream, that I noticed the happy coincidence that all these countries begin with the letter I. A fairly auspicious sign, it seemed, on a voyage of self-discovery.”

In some weird way I was able to relate and sympathize with Elizabeth Gilbert in most parts of the book. Weird because I wasn’t exactly a divorcee and thirty-four years old. For one thing, I get how it is to overthink. To be anxious of things that shouldn’t even worry me. To cry at night not really knowing the exact reason or cause of the pain I’m feeling.

I also know how it is to want a lasting experience of God, the feeling of being closer to Him and wanting to find that sense of divinity. To yearn to know how it is to balance pleasure and spiritual divinity. I wanted all of those things too and this book brought me some enlightenment.

Somehow I didn’t feel alone anymore knowing here is a successful author, able to travel the world without much of any financial hindrance to go travelling for a year, and yet she feels utterly depressed, worrisome, perhaps feeling more lonely than I have ever felt my entire life. Here was a woman who cried while sitting on her bathroom floor searching for God in the midst of darkness. Here was a woman who talked to herself at times of existential crisis telling herself to go on and that she’ll take care of herself because she loves herself.

Honestly, there were times I would ask myself, “Did this really happen to her when she was in Ital/India/Indonesia?” I wondered if all of the things narrated in the book were actual events in her life. I’d be a bit skeptic especially during her experiences during her meditations in India. But to say that I didn’t feel a bit light hearted after reading the book would be a lie.

Somehow, reading the book made me feel a bit better about myself. It helped me cope with the loneliness I feel from time to time. It made me realize that there are a lot of beautiful things to explore than being cooped up at home and feeling miserable. It helped me dream bigger, and dared me to move and make my own voyage to self-discovery. It is one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read to date and would definitely recommend if you’re looking for adventure in the confines of your own room.

Until the next chapter of my own life, attraversiamo. 😉

“And when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt—this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful within life no matter how slight.”

2 thoughts on “Italy, India, Indonesia—A Voyage of Self-Discovery”

  • Hee. I also bought the same book about two to three years ago and I still have not picked it up. I wanted to read Gilbert’s travel accounts, especially her journey in Italy (as you know, I’m dying to get there). And her spiritual journey, of course. Seems interesting.

    My office mate borrowed it so I lent it to her bc I know she needs it more right now. 🙂 I’ll be reading it soon.

  • I never read this book, even thought it was extremely popular when I worked at the bookstore here. I did see the movie. Obviously they covered the more intimate details that you mention here but I didn’t feel the same effect of the emotion. She definitely went through a lot to have lived that journey.

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