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пятница, 21 апреля 2017 г.

When Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love, enticed Julia Roberts back on to the big screen, we just had to know all about it.

Julia Roberts plays Elizabeth in Eat, Pray, Love

Here the author shares her journey

It wasn't the first time the topic had come up, but now my sister's words hit home in a way they hadn't before. As she cradled her baby, she joked:
"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo - you need to be certain it's what you want before you commit."
It was a flippant comment, but little did she know that it cut to the heart of the turmoil I was going through. I didn't want to face up to it, but I didn't love my husband any more. I didn't want to be married and I didn't want the baby everyone, including him, was expecting me to have.
Looking back, I had no idea then that this moment of despair would be the start of a journey that would change my life - and with it the lives of hundreds of other women who felt as low as I did. All I knew was that I had to escape.

Julia plays Elizabeth in the film
To outsiders, I had a charmed life. At 31, I was married, living in a beautiful house in the New York suburbs and loving my job as a freelance writer. But inside I felt empty and trapped.
When I met my husband in my early 20s and married at 24, I thought he was The One. No one prepared me for the fact he might not be; that, as the years went by, we'd grow apart.
After seven years of marriage, I plucked up the courage to walk away. The divorce was difficult and, by the time the decree absolute came through, I was 34 and struggling to come to terms with the failure of my marriage.
As the months passed, an idea began to form. I'd always wanted to explore Italy, India and Indonesia, and now I had no ties, it was my chance to get my life back.
Using my savings, I started planning my trip. When I set off in the late summer of 2003 I didn't know what to expect, just that I was going to write down all my experiences and find out what I wanted from life.

Elizabeth fell in love with Felipe in Bali

Arriving in Rome, I only had two plans. To rent an apartment close to the iconic Spanish Steps and enrol in Italian classes. In America I'd lived my life at breakneck speed, juggling work with a frantic social life, never wanting to slow down. I decided to let life run at its own pace.
I knew no one, which I thought would be terrifying, but I soon made lots of vibrant Italian friends who I'd meet for amazing meals in local restaurants where we'd drink limoncello until the small hours. They flirted with me too, especially Giovanni, a 24-year-old brown-eyed Casanova.
But however delicious the thought might be, inviting another man into my bed was not the right way for me to get over my failed marriage.
After Rome, I travelled all over Italy, marvelling at the fact that the woman who always watched what she ate now survived on cheese, pasta, bread and wine.
One night, as I tucked into pizza, I glanced into the mirror and saw a bright-eyed, clear-skinned, healthy face. I'd arrived sad and brittle, but food was healing me. By the time I left Italy I was a stone and a half heavier, but more content.
Spending a lot of time alone made me realise I was the only person responsible for my happiness, or lack of it.

The author healed her mind in India

When I arrived in India, four months after leaving New York, I was ready for my journey to take a new direction. My body was better, now it was time to heal my mind.
I'd arranged to stay at an ashram (a religious retreat) hidden in the heart of rural India. Each day I'd visit a meditation cave, chanting and trying to clear my mind of worries. It was hard at first, as I would think about what everyone was doing back at home. But slowly, I learned to focus and I soon learned to love the simple way of life at the ashram. I realised there was such a thing as being too in control. I had to stop taking myself so seriously.
As I left India for Bali, I felt full of peace in a way I'd never experienced before.

And enjoyed the culture and food in Italy
Arriving on the Indonesian island, I rented a tiny cottage in the mountains, filling my days with walking, cycling, reading and meditation. With every day, the pain of my divorce eased. Instead of sickening heartbreak and failure, I could understand what had gone wrong. My husband wasn't a bad person, we'd just been wrong for each other. But I'd started to wonder if I'd ever find love again.
Then, a few weeks after I arrived on the island, I met Felipe, a 57-year-old Brazilian musician, at a party. He was also travelling and although my defences were still up, as the weeks went by I allowed myself to open up to him. We took road trips, explored sun-soaked beaches and spent lazy afternoons in each other's arms. Slowly, we fell in love. I didn't worry about the age gap, in fact I found it sexy, and the fact he already had kids from a previous relationship meant that there would never be any pressure on me to start a family. Felipe and I were equals, and by the time I had to return to America in 2004, we'd vowed to make a life together.
I decided to write a book about my journey, Eat, Pray, Love - eat for the food in Italy, pray for India and love for finding Felipe in Bali. I was thrilled and bewildered after it was published in 2006. Then I read in an interview with Julia Roberts that she was giving all her girlfriends the book as a Christmas present.
Suddenly, my life went crazy. What had meant to be a journal, charting my travels, became a bestseller. It felt great, but of course, there were downsides. Although friends and family who I'd mentioned in the book were happy with what I'd written, my ex-husband was angry about how I'd spoken about the breakdown of our marriage. He's moved on, remarried and since had children, but he felt I'd been unfair.

Elizabeth with star of the movie Julia Roberts
I'd moved on too. Felipe and I married in 2007 in a simple ceremony. Today we live in a small town in New Jersey. We don't have kids and I've no regrets.
When I heard Julia Roberts was going to play me in the film version of Eat, Pray, Love I was so happy. I visited the set and was introduced to her. She was really sweet.
In some ways my new life isn't so different from my old one - it's me that's changed. I'm calmer, more centred. I'm much more suited to my second husband, and I am a much better second wife." l Eat, Pray, Love opens in cinemas nationwide on September 24.The Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon
Elizabeth Gilbert's travel journal was published in America in February 2006. After talkshow host Oprah Winfrey dedicated two episodes of her show to Eat, Pray, Love, it quickly became a must-read. Only 30,000 hardback copies were released, but it has now sold more than 7 million copies in over 40 languages. Fans can even recreate Elizabeth's trip for themselves, with tour operators offering packages taking in the three countries she visited.

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