Today, Liz shares her life with her husband, Felipe, in an old Presbyterian church built in 1792 in West Central New Jersey. "I think it's great, the idea that I went from being on a spiritual journey to living in a church," she says.
Liz and Felipe's home is decorated with memories of their travels around the world, but Liz says her favorite part of the house is her reading area, which is in the church's old choir loft. "This answers a childhood dream of mine to have a tiny little cave-like spot that was only for reading," she says.
Liz says her next book is about what happened after Eat, Pray, Love, including her marriage. To help her write, Liz always fixes herself a cup of tea. "Celestial Seasons Bengal Spice, which is the tea that reminds me the most of the chai that they make in India," she says.
When she needs a break, Liz loves to walk to the Delaware River Canal bike path near her home. "It's awesome because you get to be in this really beautiful setting and it's just peaceful and a really nice place to walk. I didn't have time for stuff like this, and that was kind of the crisis of my life."
Liz says she loves her simple life. "Toward the end of my first marriage, I just kept saying, I want a bigger smaller life. What I meant by that was smaller materially. Bigger spiritually. Bigger emotionally. Bigger full of pleasure. Bigger full of family, friends, joy, time, space, books. I am my best person when I have less on my plate," she says.
Thirty-seven-year-old Kristin says she used to struggle with pride before reading Liz's book. "I don't say the things that are bothering me or the things that I want because it can be embarrassing sometimes when you've got everything, but what you really want, you don't have," she says.
Liz's story inspired her to journey to Bali to find Ketut. After 32 hours of traveling, it took Kristin only seven minutes to find someone who knew where he lived, and another 15 minutes to actually meet him! Kristin says she doesn't usually like to travel alone. "But I did it and I loved it. It was pretty great because I was on a mission. I wanted to be there and I wanted to meet him," she says.
Kristin also got to meet another one of Liz's friends—Wayan, the holistic healer Liz helped buy a home. "It was just incredible, but really the best part was coming home and telling people I did it. They were so blown away that these people actually exist," she says.
The journey was eye-opening, Kristin says. "It just made me feel like you can do anything. Then when I got home, I realized I didn't need to go there. The work I need to do has to be done here. I need to say out loud what my problems are and what I want, because I don't do that."
Liz's book touched millions of women, but her insight also hit very close to home! Her mom, Carole, says she learned a lot about her daughter when reading the book. "Her journey was our journey. My journey," she says. "I've learned so much about her…this girl had pride. She didn't share everything. We didn't know how painful it was for her. As she grew and got the courage to share, she shared it with us."
Carole says she's not surprised that Liz has become a guru of sorts. "This girl was the guru in fourth grade and ninth grade and twelfth grade. She has always touched people," Carole says.
"That's why I've never made a single mistake with my entire life," Liz jokes. "Even in fourth grade, I knew everything!"
When Lisa came into her 30s, she says she felt pressured to get married and have a family. "So I moved across the country to follow that path. When I got there, I realized I was in the wrong place with the wrong person, and I had many, many nights on the bathroom floor," she says. "So I made the decision to leave. I came back and have watched countless friends get married and have babies, and I've always wondered if I made the right decision."
That is, until she found Eat, Pray, Love. "I felt free," she says. "I felt free of that burden and I felt like I knew that I made the right decision. I felt inspired to live a better life."
In the book, Liz enrolls in Italian language classes. That inspired Lisa to also expand her horizons. "Before I even got all the way through Italy [in the book], I enrolled in a Spanish immersion program at Dartmouth for 10 days," Lisa says.
Liz says she's delighted, honored, humbled and amazed that her book has affected so many lives. "I wrote this book to kind of create a word ladder to pull myself out of a very deep hole," she says. "I don't need that ladder anymore, so it's just sitting there in book form. To think that other people are now using it to tip it up against their dreams and kind of climb on up there is just incredibly touching." Find more pleasure in your life!
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