Millions of people have read Elizabeth Gilbert’s travel memoir Eat, Pray, Love and millions more have seen the movie adaptation. The novel covers Elizabeth Gilbert’s year long journey around the world on her quest to find peace and happiness through food, spirituality, and romance. If you feel like you could use a year or maybe just a few months of peaceful, reflective travel experiences, check out our guide to planning your own DIY version of this trip.
Flying around the world is not cheap and this could easily be the most expensive part of your trip. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to cut down on the cost. First, of course is to try and book head. Airlines run sales throughout the year and if you are flexible with dates, you might score a bargain. They other option is to look into specialized flight deals, like that from STA, which based on the destinations in the book offer a RTW ticket to all three destinations for an estimated $1995.
Last, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to travel to the exact places Elizabeth Gilbert did. Yes, she flew into Rome but perhaps you would feel more in love with the food and culture of Paris? Give yourself permission to adjust the trip because afterall, it is your own journey of discovery.
There are many packaged tours in Italy now that offer to give you the “authentic” movie experience of Elizabeth’s EAT portion of her trip. In reality though, there tours don’t go anywhere you can’t get to alone and it is very easy to DIY the experience.
If you are taking a few months for your journey like Elizabeth Gilbert did, you’ll first want to rent a place in Rome. Look on home exchange sites like Airbnb or even on online forums for sublets. Once in Rome, eat! Specifically, visit Il Gelato di San Crispino for the same gelato seen in the movie. Eventually, if you are following in the footsteps on the Eat, Pray, Love author, you will also need to head down to Naples to taste pizza in the very place it was created. The pizza shop seen in the movie was L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele where author Elizabeth Gilbert recommends the double mozzarella.
The Pray portion of Elizabeth Gilbert’s trip took place in an Indian ashram, a holy place for devotees to live, work, and pray. While the specific ashram Liz visited does not take in the casual tourist, the ashram where the movie was filmed, Ashram Hari Mandir, can be visited. You can visit for the day or opt to stay at the onsite hostel. Other ashrams can also be visited for a few weeks or months at a time but it is best to plan this out before you trip as most are particular about who, when, and why people visit.
Another option for India, if you aren’t as interested in the bare basic living conditions of an ashram, is to look into yoga or mediation programs that can also give you a chance to grow spiritually.
No matter where you end up in India, to complete your experience, spend some time visiting the holy city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges River and at the symbol of love and devotion, the Taj Mahal.
Most visitors to Bali spend the majority of their trip in or around the main city of Ubud. Here you can find everything from $1,000 luxury hotel rooms to super affordable hostels. You can also sign up for yoga classes, meditation groups, tour religious sites, or just eat delicious local food for next to nothing.
A must in Bali, if you are in search of the same Eat, Pray, Love experiences as Elizabeth Gilbert, is to visit a healer. If you are hoping to see Liz’s own healer and spiritual man Ketut Liyer, I’m afraid you might be out of luck. The nearly 100 year old man really only sees visitors now as part of tours, like the Four Seasons’ Eat, Pray, Love package which costs over $700 a night. Thankfully though, there are a number of local healers who still see visitors without an appointment and for a much more affordable price.