Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” has been an extremely inspiring novel for me, especially after reading it for the second time. I think that Gilbert has led a fascinating life and her choices have been drastic, but commendable. I think the reason why I had so much trouble accepting her decisions at first was because her choices were something that I had trouble imagining myself doing. Picking up in the middle of my life and leaving everything that I know and am comfortable with sounds too scary for me, but the more I consider it and look at how she handled the situations she encountered, makes me see her in a different light.
I personally struggle with dealing with “fear of the unknown”. I get nervous thinking about what could possibly happen in the future when I begin to embark on a new experience because I am unsure of what lies ahead. I always hope for the best and try and live my life so that the best outcome in every situation occurs, but it still frightens me to not know the definite ending to every journey. In this respect, I admire Gilbert. She was certainly nervous and unsure of what her life could be like throughout her year of traveling, but it did not stop her in any way. I think that is absolutely amazing, and after reading not only her journey, but also her thoughts, make me truly respect her.
Gilbert’s traveling and adventures inspired me as I read. It did not inspire me to get up and leave my life at any point, but it did make me think about experiencing other cultures and the beauty that can be found in life when you step out of your comfort zone. By not only traveling, but living in three entirely different countries, Gilbert truly broke out of her “traditional” shell and was able to live the life she always wanted to lead. I think she is commenting on something that is similar to what Rushdie discusses in his works. They both say that it is up to us to make our own decisions, and we can live whatever life we choose. If we want to live in an ashram in India, we can absolutely do it and create a sense of home in that environment. Another comment that both Rushdie and Gilbert are making is that where you are originally from does not define yourself. Gilbert was able to remove herself from her home, and create a life traveling. Her home did not define her, but instead allowed her to grow and live a more full and beautiful life. I think that Gilbert is living her life to the fullest the way that she wants to, and I think that is exactly how Rushdie would agree life should be lived.