Soul - Searching Journeys

April 22, 2013

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela

Every woman I know, let me rephrase that, every person I know dreams of taking off on a round-the-world journey to “find themselves.”

When we are unhappy or struggling in our lives we tend to reach out to the universe in hopes that she will light the way. It’s that innate desire in all of us to soul search, to experience something so profound that it will bring about the kind of self-awareness that changes us forever.

The truth is that the answers already reside in our heart. It’s that inner voice calling you towards your destiny, trying to veer you onto the path of true happiness, but it is only through action and unwavering courage to face our truth that we will unearth the wealth of knowledge that lies within us.

What if you had the courage to pursue your dreams and follow your heart? Would you discover that those that matter don’t care and those who care don’t matter? What if you finally stopped living someone else’s life and started living the life YOU want? Imagine being liberated from all the fears that have held you back. Envision the life you could have, the love you could experience. It’s there, waiting for you to let go of your fears and embrace it.

That is what happened to one courageous woman on her journey of self-discovery. Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir - Eat Pray Love - echoed such a truth in others that millions of people from around the world ran out to buy her memoir and booked trips to Italy, India and Bali in hopes that they too could indulge, meditate, and find happiness. That they too would be privy to the divine secrets of the universe to find the courage to escape the ties that bind them to a life and love they no longer want, to free themselves and explore the endless possibilities called life.

I was so captivated by her story that I read her book 3 times, wondering if I too would ever have such a profound experience. I’ve often thought, “Where would I go to soul search? And would happen to our world if every being opened up their heart, soul and mind to the possibility of change?” I imagine that we would live in a constant state of love and light, but until then, let us experience some of the wonders Elizabeth Gilbert experienced on her quest to finding her true destiny.


As everyone knows, you could eat your way through Italy and enjoy every single moment of it. Lord knows I have! But since Gilbert spent most of her time in Rome, I’ll share some of my favorite places to eat in Rome. No visit to Rome is complete for me without dinner at Clemente alla Maddalena located in ‘Piazza della Maddalena,’ a few steps from the Pantheon. The food is always prepared using quality ingredients and the atmosphere enchanting.

If you’re in Italy to eat your way to heavenly bliss then you have to eat at the city's only three-Michelin-starred restaurant - La Pergola – with breathtaking views of the Vatican. On summer evenings, out on the candlelit terrace, the city shimmers like stars fallen to earth and the Dome of St. Peter's seems close enough to touch.

You can’t be in Italy and not eat gelato! Il Gelato di San Crispino has some the best ice cream in all of Italy, so eat to your heart’s content.

No Italian epicurean adventure would be complete without pizza, so like Elizabeth, hop on a train to Naples and visit the legendary L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele that many have described as the “Scared Temple of Pizza.”


If the ashrams of India seem too hardcore for you, as they would be for me, try a more luxurious approach at destination wellness by staying at one of the many 'ashram-meets-boutique-hotel' where you can take yoga classes and meditation to re-connect with your inner core.

One of my dreams is to visit the Taj Mahal, India's most iconic and romantic sight. Built by the heartbroken Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife who died during childbirth, it took 22 years of meticulous work by 20,000 workers to complete this monument to love. For a hopeless romantic like me, this is the love story to end all love stories.

Udaipur in Rajasthan is unarguably India's most romantic city. Known as the City of Lakes, its bodies of water provide a picturesque backdrop to the city's palaces. Stay at the magical Oberoi Udaivilas, which sits in regal style on the banks of Lake Pichola.


Like Gilbert, set up base in Ubud in the centre of the island and experience peace and tranquility.

Spirituality and religion is the life-blood of Bali. One of the oldest temple complexes in Bali and just north of Ubud, Gunung Kawi will take your breath away. Its 10 rock cut shrines each stand eight meters tall in sheltered coves, with an 11th further down the valley, and all date back to the 11th century.

If you don’t find the love of your life in the shape of an attractive Brazilian expat like Gilbert did, Bali still has plenty of scope for romance. Besides, the most important love of all is the love you have for yourself!

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