Tag Archives: Travel

Books that will change you life: “Eat, Pray, Love”

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I wasn’t sure about writing on Eat, Pray, Love, seeing that the entire world has already read it – or so it seems – or so they should, because it’s so awsomely good that they made a film adaptation with Julia Roberts. But I recently met a few friends who hadn’t read it yet, so here goes and I hope to convince you to pick up a copy.

 

The book

This is the memoir of American 30-something author Liz Gilbert, as she takes a year off to travel to Italy, India and Bali to reconnect with herself following a nasty divorce and disastrous rebound relationship. Hence the title – hers is a story of eating delicious foods of Italy, praying and meditating in an Ashram in India, and finally enjoying a balanced life and finding love in Bali. All the while discovering new cultures, making awsome friends and going on mini-adventures.

The big idea

The reason I love this book is that it is a honest, hide-nothing account of a woman falling apart, experiencing depression, loneliness and despair, and finally coming through to the other side through spiritual seeking and a good dose of courage.

As well as being authentic, it is also tremedously funny and very clever. It is not only about introspection, but also about beautiful people and gorgeous places – it takes you from the best pizza restaurant in the back streets of Naples to stunning Indonesian beaches – all embraced with great enthusiasm and curiosity. The friends she makes along the way are wonderful and it altogether makes for a really fun, refreshing read.

Why it will change your life

Wherever you’re at in your life (and well, most especially if you are female), you will be touched by at least some of this story. Those 12 months in the company of Liz will make you want to follow in her footsteps and live life to the full. You will find (or reawaken) an urge to travel, to find God, to cherish your friends old and new, to explore and to grow.

You will be reminded of how the simplest things can make you tremendously happy, if you know to appreciate them. 

I can pretty much guarantee you will love yourself and the world more. And you will feel as though you have made a new best friend, in the person the amazing Liz.

I, for one, have read it twice. Are you convinced yet? Let me know what you think.

 

READ ON View my booshelf

Moving on: New life in an old country

P1100155 low resA good friend of mine is moving back to the continent after almost 10 years in London, and I find myself strangely affected.

Not only because I will miss her – she’s one of those rare friends who never seems to find my crazy plans crazy – but also because of the possibilities the thought of going home opens up in my own life.

In the last 12 years I have lived away from France in various countries, I have found that being an expat is a bit like having two lives – there’s the cosmopolitan, stressed-out urban me, who works for a celebrity and does stuff like blogging and yoga. And the small town French me, a daughter/ grand-daughter of several generation of small-towners, who still enjoys spending days in the countryside in the middle of nowhere and the slow pace of everything.

I suspect we all feel a similar divide between where we came from and where we are now, whether we live far away from our families, or whether they are on the other side of town. But living in another country, albeit a neighbouring one, only makes it more obvious.

Just as we compare ourselves to others (even though we know we shouldn’t), it is also tempting to compare ourselves to our “other me”.

What if I had studied nearer my parents and settled to live locally? Would I still have been the same person? Would I have settled sooner, have had children earlier? Would I have somewhat become a copy of my parents?

What if I went back now ? Would I be going forwards, or going back in time?

This is what my friend and I pondered during our last dinner together. We both came to London years ago and embraced the city life as if our lives depended on it. Would we be somehow “giving up” the dream by going back home? Would we be judged as failures, or more importantly, would we see ourselves to have failed? Would we be settling down happily, or just settling?

As I think about it now, it strikes me that this is all part of growing up- letting go of the many roads we might have taken, and learning to embrace the one we are on. Realising that the different “me” are all me. There is no “other me”. Or rather, “other me” is still me.

It strikes me that learning to embrace the paradox is the way to live fully. It’s okay to love the excitement city life, and still dream of the calm countryside. To have a modern life and yet honour tradition. We can break the mould and still love the families we grew up in.

We all, as they say, have both roots and wings. 

And as I watch my friend go, it occurs to me that happiness is knowing just that. Whichever country we might go to, we will still be ourselves. Fully, and beautifully.

 

READ ON Other similar posts you might like:
Time travelling at no cost
Going round in circles
“Finding our own North Star” by Martha Beck