So…it’s like Eat, Pray, Love, right?

Since the announcement of my Around the World trip I’ve had many responses –most of them really positive.  Then there are some others:

“Are you scared?”

“You better be careful out there, especially in India…”

“How are you going to be gone for so long?”

“So this is like Eat Pray Love, right?”

I’ve had an interesting time responding to each reaction especially when I feel as though, America, my own country, could use some travel to wisen up in the ways of the world (I’m including myself in this).

It’s hard to respond to concerns about my safety considering that in Chicago alone there have been a total of 232 homicides and 1,214 shootings THIS YEAR (as of July 15, 2013).  We don’t live in a safe place – emotionally, mentally or physically and it’s time we expanded our horizons and perspectives to improve ourselves and the world around us.  That demands personal and societal evolution – but you can’t start with the we without starting with the I.

Truth be told: I’m more concerned about the toilets and bug bites in India than I am about my safety.

It all comes down to choice.  Personal evolution isn’t easy.  It’s called “comfort zone” for a reason – stepping outside isn’t comfortable!

It’s not always easy to stare at faces your don’t know, be spoken to in a language you don’t speak, live without air conditioning, get into crazy yoga poses, start your own business with nothing in the bank, take a leap of faith, love after a broken heart, be vulnerable or open your eyes to painful realities on the other side of the city.  The very things that test us define us – not to others, but to ourselves.  It’s easy not to steal food when your belly is full, but what are your ideals and values when it’s not.  When you begin to see truth, it demands things of you.  It demands you put down those bags that you keep carrying around with you that hold what you perceive to be your “identity.”  It demands that you deal with something very ugly that exists within you that allows this reality we’ve all collectively created to be permissible.  It commands you to have the courage to stick it out and face your demons.  Truth demands you to change; to evolve.

You know what they say about change: it’s the only constant in life and the one thing we humans, the pesky creatures of habit as we are, have the hardest time with.

I guess it’s totally like Eat, Pray, Love minus me going through a divorce or having an intense life crisis and a nice advance on a book deal.  Deciding to travel has been a calculated decision that has taken focus, sacrifice and hard work to see through.  That being said, I hope to have an adventure as soul fulfilling as Elizabeth Gilbert.  Also, just in case the universe is listening, I’d be quite happy to write as beautifully and poignantly as she does too.  :)

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  1. leftblink - July 18, 2013

    best of luck in India! I spent 3 months there and absolutely loved it despite the chaos. I’m sure you will too! I especially loved South India– people are so, so friendly and helpful. And, as long as you’re aware of the scams, North India will be manageable :) Looking forward to following you on your adventures.

  2. Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER - July 19, 2013

    oh wait, you’re doing a RTW trip? I might suggest something larger than a carryon… As I Tweeted, North India (towards Dharamsala/Ladakh) is cool (to freezing cold) and I was there in Spring to the start of summer. South India is hot. Ultimately you can pack light, take throwaway clothes and buy local clothes when you get there , then mail them home. I took one light sports jacket, did layers & legwarmsers. Also took a silk liner AND a sleeping bag (the latter for the cold), which I only experienced in India.

    Actually a carryon might be doable if you just mail excess home or give them away.;-)

  3. jennifervera - July 23, 2013

    Thank you so much everyone for the tips and encouragement! Keep them coming!

  4. Candis Oakley - September 15, 2013

    Jen! I absolutely love your essays and poems :)