6 Months of Eat Pray Love-ing

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Day 183 – Taganga, Colombia

It’s six months and I’m still alive! The post title should really be Eat Drink Dance or Eat Drink Eat More but you get the idea.

Marking this occasion I’m reminded of the Christmas before my travels when my mother gave me Eat Pray Love.

I hadn’t heard of the book but she saw it on Oprah and thought I’d enjoy the travel aspect of it.

Although already an experienced travel, the part that spoke to me was before she left the country.

It was the promise she had made to start trying to have children but not feeling like she was ready.

It was the hesitancy to change her life.

I remember the book fondly, not because the travel stories resonated, but the inner dialogue of feeling lost.

black and white portrait

Who I was a year ago:

I was doing well in a career but didn’t know what I wanted out of it. I felt like I wasn’t learning or contributing and often unhappy that I was wasting my time.

I was in a relationship that was often tumultous and I wasn’t sure if I should stay in it.

There was love between two people too stubborn and afraid to make it work. 

I was starting to feel the fertility walls caving in, constantly recalculating how much time I had before I needed to make a decision of whether I would have children or not.

I wasn’t happy.

I didn’t know the right answers. I had no idea what I wanted and needed someone to tell me what to do.

That wasn’t going to happen.

I was afraid of regret. I needed to escape.

So I left.

And while it may not have been the right thing for everyone. It was right for me. I know it’s selfish and I’m okay with that.

And today:

It’s an odd metaphor but traveling is akin to peeling an onion.

I have been slowly sheding the layers that really don’t matter. Being in another country I no longer need to carry the self-imposed expectations of what I should be or what I should do.

At times it’s been painful, dealing with raw feelings often resulting in tears, but things are slowly becoming clearer.

I’m starting to realize what I want out of life. The need to escape is slowly fading.

I don’t know what the ultimate answer is but I feel like I’m getting closer and this is only 6 months in.

Thanks for sharing in this journey with me.

All of your kind comments and support during my bitching when I have emotional breakdowns about trivial things, like holes in my pants, mean the world to me.

Join the Conversation

  1. ahhhhh, dreaded travel self-reflection. You can avoid this deep thinking with more consumption of alcohol. 😉

  2. Lisa E / ChickyBus says:

    Excellent post! It’s one that I definitely relate to. When I moved to Ecuador back when I turned 30, I wanted to try a more adventurous and less traditional life (I didn’t want children, etc.). Being there was challenging, of course. (It was truly a ‘developing country’ and had a limited infrastructure, etc.) Still, it was so worth it. I grew a lot…. And so, the onion peeling metaphor makes sense to me.

    Sounds like you’re really finding yourself, figuring out what makes you happy and being transformed through travel. And that is, in many ways, what it’s all about (in addition to the amazing moments/experiences–ie, the fun stuff).

    I really look forward to seeing what’s next for you!

  3. ann wellwood says:

    I think taking a step back sometimes and reflecting on your life can be very good!Its funny but, I feel like you and I have connected through this journey more then ever before.I think you are showing us your heart…and we are very lucky to have you in our lives!!!Enjoy the rest of your trip!!We will all be here when you return!!!!

  4. Wonderful post. Going on a long term journey certainly comes from a love of travel, but I’m guessing most people have reasons beneath that – whether career fatigue or just trying to shake things up.

    A friend of mine says I’m on a quest, but haven’t yet figured out what I’m searching for.

  5. Not everyone is brave enough to peel back the layers and your soul searching often brings tears to my eyes because you constantly amaze me……

  6. Oh, I reckon we might stick around a bit longer. 😉

    Funny concept, “selfish”. We see it (or rather, we’ve been taught to see it) as always a negative thing. As if by looking after ourselves, we’re doing a bad thing.

    Successful, happy, motivated, focussed, worldly people are all ‘selfish’. But only a few of them are bad people.

    Experience (other people’s experience, mainly, but also a little of my own) tells me that if you’re travelling and experiencing both highs and lows, wild semi-orgasmic elation and knee-weakening, gut-punching self-doubt, and an ongoing sense of being outside your comfort zone and not completely in control of things…

    Then it’s the kind of travelling that changes you deeply.

    And change is what you wanted.

    So I reckon you’re on the right road. 🙂

  7. 1st off CONGRATS on 6 months of travel & 2nd I am so happy for you, it takes a lot of guts to make a change in life. Most of the time people will talk about it but never walk it. The adventure isnt over yet so keep PEELING that ONION girl!!!

  8. Great post!

    I really identify with a lot of what you’re saying, especially the part about peeling an onion while traveling long term. I’m coming up on the 5 month mark myself and feel that during this trip I’ve got much closer to the core of who I am and what I’m looking for in life than ever before.

    Do I have all the answers? Hell no – if I did, I’d be appearing on Oprah and dispensing my wisdom to the masses instead of wandering around SE Asia looking for cheap beer.

    Do I have some of the answers now? You know what, I reckon I just about do.

  9. I admire that you are honest here. We have a lot in common. And it’s funny, my best friend just took me to see EPL the movie last night. This I began my journey to Charlotte where I prep for my RTW and a full time career in travel. I thought the book was better, but the point is there are def things about liz’s story that resonate with me too.

    Oh, and total LOL at Michael’s comment. Cheers!!

  10. Your Message Congratulations on six months of travel. If travel doesn’t change you nothing will 🙂 (and usually for the better).

  11. Margo Millure says:

    I bow down to your courage. It’s kind of off topic – but not really metaphorically speaking, but in regards to EPL: I know that I would still be in Italy, not knowing I was still lost and ended up with a book named “Eat.” Bravo and congrats on 6 mos. well spent.

  12. Evocative post. Good on ya for getting up and going – and staying – on the road for half a year!

  13. I hear ya, sister! I keep on waiting to get my big self-discovery moment, and after 8 months of travel, I have yet to discover who the heck I am (and the bit I have discovered has been rather, shall we say, unsettling). But I do feel I’m closer to being who I WANT to be. Maybe. And yeah for admitting to being selfish! I am all about being selfish. I think if more people did stuff for themselves and just said, “Hey, I’m going to be selfish,” than there would be a lot less heart attacks & a lot more happy people out there. Selfishness is so underrated sometimes.

  14. Nice post,
    Glad that you are peeling back the onion layers. I recommend (before you find out that there is nothing in the center) throwing yourself into something that interests you, like a voluteer project. I have found that learning about oneself is easier done while being engaged in something completely new and challenging (and outside your comfort zone). In contrast, I’ve found introspection/self-knowledge ironically more difficult with a surplus of time to think about it. Just my 2 cents.
    Congrats on the 6 month mark.
    Jason

  15. Meagan Lopez says:

    Congratulations. This is really a huge thing. I remember those feelings exactly before and during my travels. The trick is not to forget them when you get back. I doubt you will. I just found your blog and will definitely be back for more!

  16. This is lovely, Ayngelina. The onion is a great metaphor, not just to shedding layers that you no longer need, but in discovering layers to yourself that perhaps you didn’t know were there.

  17. I can identify with a lot of this (maybe not the kid part ;)). I think it’s awesome that you pulled yourself out of the fray in order to find your real motivations. Love that strength of spirit.

  18. I saw the movie…not very memorable…and I love to eat…and love! xo

  19. Peeling back the layers of an onion…. not such a good thing sometimes…allows the centre to dry up, or cause the eyes to cry.
    I think we tend to look back on some of the things we have done as mistakes or we wish we hadn’t done them.But from all of those we learn, and become stronger.
    I’d like to read another blog at 12 months..:-)

  20. Your Message I second the comments made by your mother. You are wise beyond your years and I admire how you are living your life.

  21. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler says:

    It takes a lot of guts to go on a solo trip for a year. I think it’s awesome that you are using this time to reflect on your life and get a clearer picture of what you want your future to look like. This can only bring good things. I hope your next 6 months are even better than the first!

  22. Another great post Ayngelina. I’m sure I’m not only speaking for myself when I say that I’m glad you made the decision you did – now we get to read about it.

    I’m traveling for a year with my partner. I love it, but long term travel can be lonely and alienating. I really applaud your courage at doing it alone. You’re one brave cookie!

  23. Lovely. Brovo! Thumbs up!! 🙂 Congrats on your six months RTW. Admire that. I can’t wait to have that on my own.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. South america is always on the top of my list, and I learn so much from your travel. 🙂 Keep on going girl!!

  24. Caz Makepeace says:

    This is what travel is all about. It feels good to peel back that layers and discover what really lives down there. We spend so many years wrapping it up in the layers in the first place.

  25. Love the peeling-an-onion analogy. Great post, Ayngelina!

  26. Ayngelina, I remember I stumbled upon your blog on Stumble Upon the very day you left for your RTW! It’s been six months?! I understand what you mean when you write about shedding layers. It’s probably a good and healthy thing, huh?

  27. Congrats on the six month mark. I really enjoy reflecting on travel and I’m so happy it’s been positive for you. Can’t wait to read more about your journeys!

  28. Way to Go!

  29. Congrats Ayngelina on your six months on the road! how cool! First, I don’t believe following your heart and looking for your own happiness is selfish. If you don’t do it, then who? You’re doing the best for you, to be a better you. Way to go!

    I too consider travel to be like “peeling an onion”. That’s when you realize of the many things that truly matter and that are worth it, and the ones that don’t.

    The best wishes for the rest of your trip! Keep on enjoying life and delivering all these great bits or your journey. 🙂

  30. I also read that book and it was that book that got me to search more about travel and arrive at your site. I’m also at that point in my life where I feel lost. I say what if I take myself out of the context of family and responsibilities, I wouldn’t know who I am or which road to head to. I’m afraid of change yet also afraid of regrets of not walking my own path. I’m beating myself up, wracking my mind over what to do.

  31. Pingback: 6 Months of Eat Pray Love-ing | Bacon is Magic | Today Headlines
  32. Nomadi Chick says:

    I remember the beginning of your blog and trip, not knowing any of this background. It was brave of you to leave what some might label a successful life to figure out what success and happy mean to you. Keep going girl, proud of you!

  33. Where can I thumbs up Michael’s (mobile lawyer) comment?
    Seriously though I heart you! This post is great, good to know your on your way!

  34. Ayngelina Author says:

    @Hogga

    Lindsay you are too funny, @Mobilelawyer is sitting across the table so I’ll be sure to pass it on!

  35. adventureswithben says:

    Anyone who can do what you do is admirable. Congrats.

  36. Awesome post, Ayngelina! So glad you’re getting the experience you needed. I’m inspired.

  37. Sound familiar… being mid-30ish and still looking for your place. Have enjoyed your blog a lot.

  38. Great post Ayngelina

    It is so true that travling alone gives you so much time to really discover yourself. I am happy to know it has worked with you too.

  39. Great post! It’s always good to hear the stories of people so changed and you have so much more yet to come!

  40. Congrats on 6-months of travel!!! You are so brave for breaking out of the mold and following your heart!

  41. Congrats on six months. I wonder where your travels will take you this time next year.

  42. Zablon Mukuba says:

    congratulations for the six months abroad. its awesome after six months you have learnt so much about yourself. i am reading the book eat pray and love i like it

  43. I’m feeling a little bit like you did back then. Pressure to buy a house, to have kids, get stuck in this job that I hate. Not sure if full time travel will be the answer for me, but I sure can relate right now.

  44. Samantha King says:

    Glad you are finding your way 🙂 And on a very fluffy note, your hair looks so darn cute short! I love it!

  45. Expat in Germany by Laurel says:

    I could relate to your post as I’m sure a lot of people can. Kudos to you for having the courage to leave a relationship that you weren’t sure of and embark on this exciting journey. Also, love the analogy of the onion! I think we can learn a lot about ourselves from traveling!

  46. my mom gave the that book too and recently I saw the movie. I´m planning my RTW myself, just need to save up a bit more. I love the onion peeling metaphor – so true. great post!

  47. I felt the same way about Eat Pray Love, even though I read it ages before I decided to leave. So glad you decided to embark on this adventure–it’s been so fun following you–and being jealous of all you’re eating.
    On a side note, I think mine would be called “Eat Pray Eat More” too. Love that 🙂

  48. Claire (Travel Funny Travel Light) says:

    congrats on 6 months. i know that’s an awesome feeling. love the book too. the follow-up, called “committed” is also good, but not quite as resonant (at least for me!)

  49. Pingback: Weekend Intelligence: October 30-31, 2010 « Single Occupancy
  50. Butterfly Jewel says:

    Nice post! I really enjoyed reading about your experience.

  51. Lisa | LLWorldTour says:

    Congrats on 6 months. We have a lot in common as far as feelings before we left. My 3 years traveling was THE best thing I’ve ever done. Not all perfect and dream-like, but amazing all the same.

    I’m just starting reading your blog now. Good stuff.

  52. Devin the Travel Writer says:

    Congrats on 6 months!

  53. Ayngelina Author says:

    @Camels and Chocolate

    Definitely sticking it out, I can only see great things in the next six months.

  54. Camels & Chocolate says:

    I love these photos of you! So do you think you’re in it for another six months?

  55. eat-laugh-love-anon says:

    The “before” is such a familiar story. Not only was I there, but when I’ve mentioned it to others and posted about it, I always get such a strong reaction.
    Nearly four years after I left, I can see that leaving was the best thing I ever did.
    The biological clock doesn’t make these decisions any easier but let me tell you, having a baby with the RIGHT man was also the best thing I ever did. As a not-too-sure-about-kids-but-don’t-want-to-miss-out-er, I don’t know how I would have survived this past year without him.

  56. Okay, so you published this a while ago, but KUDOS on your huge leap of faith!

    It isn’t easy, by any means, but sometimes those leaps of faith turn out to be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in life.

    There are worse kinds of selfishness. 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks for your support Michi. Sometimes we have no idea if things will work out but we just need to take the leap and go for it.

  57. Graham GlobalGrasshopper says:

    Great post, and thank you for being so open! Very inspiring to read, congrats! 🙂

  58. love your website!

    just one question, why did you name it bacon is magic?

    thanks!

  59. Your post takes me back to the inner desires of my life. It takes me to another world, a world i would want to be in. It opens up the cage, even if just for a little while…and fills me with a new energy and enthusiasm…before
    i slip back in to the reality i wished was just a dream.

  60. Think a lot of readers identified with Eat, Pray, Love not so much because of what Elizabeth DID, but rather how she peeled back those layers and let the world see inside. She was vulnerable. Transparent. All of which made people able to relate to her. You’re on the path of doing the same for your readers.

  61. Natalie T. says:

    I like Michael’s comment! But seriously, deep stuff here. It’s been taking me a very long time to figure out what I want and what I DON’T want. I’m glad you’re more confident with yourself. It seems like a day by day process.

  62. Pingback: Q&A with Ayngelina Brogan: A Year and Half of Eat-Pray-Love-ing « Busbud Blog
  63. I am 19 years old. And while most might say that im young…to young…i have been through so much in my life already. More than most adults. Ive always had guidlines to follow, a future to plan, the world to worry about. Well i graduated a year ago and im stuck. Im intelligent and i love learning, but college is not for me, a traditional job is not for me. I need to get out, explore the world, learn about everything i can first hand, not worry about my calories and my weight, not worry about how much money i make and where i work and debt and everything. I just want to go..not as an escape but as a way to learn, to help and experience. This is me. I am a revolutionist, i need to travel to see everything. I think…im going to stop worrying about what everyone says about, stop dealing with this unecessary anxiety and depression because i feel stuck. I think im just going to start…living.

  64. travelforever says:

    Just been directed here by an article in a UK newspaper, and so glad I did, the below just made me feel so calm –

    “I needed to escape.

    So I left.

    And while it may not have been the right thing for everyone. It was right for me. I know it’s selfish and I’m okay with that.”

    Thank you so much, this has just confirmed to me that the plans I’m making for next year are a good thing and I should stop worrying about if I’m upsetting, angering or confusing people by leaving. It’s something I NEED TO DO. I’d rather try and hate it and come back than not try and always wonder ‘What If?’

    Happy Travels Ayngelina 🙂

  65. MrsO Around the Wrold says:

    Congrats for taking the big step…you’ll never regret it. As Hunter S Thompson used to say: “buy the ticket, take the ride”…and never look back, I’d add 🙂

  66. Adam - Tropical Nomad says:

    A great feat taking the step to freedom.. I done the same in December and have never looked back!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Congratulations!

  67. I love your analogy about life being like peeling an onion! isn’t it liberating when you get to shed those old skins and start at a new layer!? rock on sistah!

  68. Wow your story is inspiring and heart-warming. Your story resonates with me, resonates with my decision to leave and now how I feel, six months later, looking back at how I left. Your honesty and bravery in baring your soul to the world is profound and moving! I wish you all the best!

  69. As i am sitting here thinking about how to have my own eat pray love experience i stumbled onto this post and where you listed where you were a year ago is EXACTLY how i feel today. i am having trouble figuring out where to begin to plan this and i was hoping you had some advice or tips on how to just …do it. thanks for the inspiration

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