As the year draws to a close I've finished the incredible Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
You've heard of a mid life crisis? Well, this book is the tale of a mid thirties crisis.
Loving Julia Roberts, but not yet seeing the film, I was intrigued to read the book to see what all the fuss was about. Now, after reading the story, I think Julia Roberts will play this part to perfection.
For me, the abundance of candor running through the story is at the heart of what makes this book so special. I can't speak for every female that ever lived, but the assumed way of doing things is to live our twenties to the max and then, once we hit our thirties, it's time to start thinking about settling down, getting married and having children.
"One woman's search for everything" ... that doesn't even begin to cover it! Who would have the guts to turn their life upside down willingly (and dive head first to get battered in a bitter divorce) in search of themselves? On the surface Gilbert had the perfect life - big house, married, great career, on the verge of starting a family - so why the hell did she throw it all away?
You could read the story and think "Selfish cow" or you could read the story and think "Courageous". There's no way to explain it other than some people just need more in their life and, with the norms becoming chains around the neck, conforming and staying put will eventually cause more harm than good.
Gilbert has an insatiable thirst for learning so she's not just telling a story, but teaching us too, mostly in spiritual things and also with her travels and the people and cultures she encounters. Don't be put off by this (who remembers those good old RE lessons back in secondary school) because she does it in such an endearing, thought provoking way that you can't help but be drawn in.
Starting her journey of self discovery in Rome, she eats her way through the city and socialises the months away. Then it's on to an Ashram in India where she meets a plain speaking, laugh out loud Texan man whilst scrubbing temple floors - and does a lot of meditating. Finally she ends up in Indonesia, sitting at the feet of a medicine man and helping another laugh out loud character, this time in the form of a Balinese woman called Wayan, buy a house amidst all of the traditions, superstitions and ceremonies of Balinese culture. She even meets a Brazilian and falls in love, but they vow to one another never to marry again, happy to just be in each others company as survivors of horrible divorces... until the bottom falls out of that plan, but that my friends is the sequel...
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.