The first time I met Eat, Pray, Love was on 28 -hour door-to-door trip from Nepal to New York City. I’ve never related less to a film.
I should have liked it. I saw it after a five-week errand I’d embarked on alone. Just me and the sort of loneliness that comes with “ve been with” strangers, or the sort of solitude that goes with being actually alone.
Julia Roberts’ version of alone was all fun and freedom: lick sauce from her fingertips and yum-ing to herself with pleasure, or praying smugly atop a pillow. Real international alone is more requesting strangers to help you learn how to use the machine that exchanges bus tickets because the instructions don’t make any appreciation and spouting lane too much red-hot sauce on a dish but feeing all of it anyway because you don’t want to be rude.
The movie version of solo tour felt like an affirmation of all matters had been wrong with the world all over the prime persona. My form of alone was affirmation of everything I felt was incorrect with myself. It was like having these kinds of healer whose appointments I’d spend all week dreading.
Before I left for my large-scale trip-up, beings back home teased me–rightfully so–that I was going to pull an Eat, Pray, Love . I’d laugh gamely so as not to betray my cultural Eat, Pray, Love blind spot, since I hadn’t seen or read it. I am, after all, a white-hot female. White girls desire Eat, Pray, Love or they love to shit on Eat, Pray, Love . There’s no in-between. If I’d known how much I’d fucking dislike the movie, I would have been offended.
The other question I ever got asked was ” Are you going to find yourself ?” I don’t know what that makes. It ever seemed like a silly expression to me–find yourself.
As though there’s some form of “you” hidden in Paris or Capetown or Shanghai waiting for you to find them. As though you could walk into a coffeehouse and abruptly, there “you think youre”, speaking the newspaper. The other you, the skinnier, prettier, the most popular, more relaxed form of you, ambles over and tells you that you two are perfect all along and the only rationale you’re not perfect is that literally everything except you was intruding with your intrinsic perfection. You’re not the problem; everything else and everybody else is.
Seems jolly unlikely.
The real rationale I exited was that I hadn’t had much hour or coin to trip after I examined abroad in college. And I’d never traveled alone.
When I was 22, I’d gone to London to visit a young man who wasn’t very nice to me and expended most of my day there feeling sorry for myself.
When I was 27, I’d gone to Mexico City with another, somewhat older young man and wasted most of my time there trying to employ my high school Spanish to understand what his relatives were saying to each other, and participate with child-sentences like” Me gusta la lluvia”( I like the rain .) Which, of course, would bring whole dinner discussions to a screeching halt as his nice pedigree tried to speak slowly enough for me to understand.
At 30, I’d traveled to Peru on the exhort of another man I dated, and I got forestalled with his inability to hike as fast as I was, and he got forestalled with me over my is no way to not plow everything like a game.
” You know the only thing that all your problems have in common is you ,” my shitty imaginary healer said on a date I was feeling proud of myself for obliging it all the mode through a city called Patan armed with merely a guidebook.
The bustle of the Kathmandu Valley hindered my psyche occupied. But after I went into the wilderness, it was harder to stop myself from stroking every emotional hot stave my brain could make. The longer I was out of the city, the more profoundly unpleasant my mental state.
The initial purpose of the journey was to hike to Mt. Everest base camp. Mention that I wasn’t proposing on climbing the mountain. It’s too expensive and more needlessly risky. But as I scheduled the trip-up, I realized that because it takes 28 hours to get from New York City to Kathmandu, I might as well get all of the Nepal out of my system. So I lent an additional hike around part of the Annapurna massif, a couple of epoches in a relaxed reservoir municipality announced Pokhara, and a few days to cap it off in Kathmandu. The first hike was as part of a hiking group. The second hike was exactly me and a got a couple of local guys I’d hired through an busines in Thamel.
On each of the excursion I’d gone on with lovers, I’d had an external entity on which to focus my negativity. But alone in Nepal, all I had was me. I’d wake up at 5 a.m. most mornings in a sleeping bag freezing after a night of totally fucked up altitude-related dreamings. On the mornings I had a roommate I’d make small talk with her. I’d lie there in the meagre consortium of my gathered body heat psyching myself up to get out of bed and put on an ice cold bra, all the while considering my the relations between my siblings, and how I wish I were more present in their own lives. I would go down and sit in the tea house’s common room and prescribe nontraditional breakfast food such as” fried noodles” while studying whether or not I ever will be unselfish enough to want children. I’d watch sherpas and other navigates burst into and out of the room wearing shower moves like the cold didn’t even affect their lives.
By 6 or 7, we’d start step. We’d walk for several hours, up and down slopes( the down is much harder than the up, I determined) through landscape that never stops reminding its inhabitants of their irrelevance. We’d finish by 2 or 3, eat lunch, and then I’d sit around writing or speaking for 3 hour and go to bed at 6, because I’d run out of things to do, or my Kindle was out of artilleries and the tea room didn’t have electric outlet. I’d sometimes use my headlamp to write, but my writing was all overearnest examinations of how I’ve failed everybody who has adored me. A real bum-out.
I’d downloaded about 90 Spotify carols, but was only able to listen to them so many times before they became tauntingly stuck in my chief, and I was impeded awake icing in my sleeping bag with the chorus of Kate Bush’s” The Big Sky” playing obsessively.
My brain would dredge up negative experiences and play them over and over, in highlight reel kind. A love that objective hurriedly for concludes I never understood until, somewhere between Tilicho Lake and Yak Kharka, I realized that I’d been a real asshole. I thought about the time I returned home to an apartment I shared with a being after Christmas and his belongings had been moved out and how the thing I was angriest about at the time was that he hadn’t vexed to clean the flooring.
After about 200 miles of path, I started to feel my form break down. I’ve run three marathons and I never felt as wrinkled as I did the darknes before the last large-hearted push up and through Thorong La Pass, at the hind end of the second largest hike. That night, I continued myself awake are concerns that the hole in my boot, the one I’d patched with a lump of super adhesive I found in a village the working day before, would open up. I was also considering therefore that perhaps my judgmental attitude toward many beings is a thought of my own self-loathing, and I wondered if anybody “wouldve been” absolutely desire me( I had a really nice boyfriend at the time, so at this place my mentality was just acquiring shit up to heckle me ).
The next morning I stumble my limit. It was a spot of ice–maybe four feet long, slick like liquid glass, lounging from one line of the path to the other–that lastly transgressed me. It was too long to step over. The path was up against a steep, slick, snowy mountainside. Below the footpath, the dirt fell away about 50 feet. There was not feasible but through.
I heard my own articulation squeak” I can’t !” at my navigate. It reverberated panicked in the bratty path a spoiled stepmom in a PG-rated family comedy resonates bratty. Like Indiana Jones’ girlfriend from Temple of Doom , the most difficult of the Indiana Jones lovers, the kind of female articulation that would become me holler” Grow up, babe” at the tv from the comfort of my lounge.
I’d been so game for everything until then; my steer and porter who traveled with us had announced me “didi” for much of the expedition. “Didi” entails “sister.” Now, they were laughing at me, because I was being ridiculous. I felt the animal terror of a horse being urged the public jump off a cliff.
One of the men clambered up onto the snowy hillside, angling his feet into the snow. He contacted down and attracted me up behind him. I followed him step for pace, being careful not to reach out and grab him in a panic, and then hop-skip down on the other side.
” You’re not brave enough, didi ,” said my guide. Tough but fair.
Nothing for the rest of the excursion riled me. Not the miles of downhill after the pass. Not the hike down a narrow hollow toward Jomsom where after about 10 am straight line winds whip dust into your eyes, or the fact that Jomsom looks like it’s about a couple miles out for about 10 miles. I wasn’t even that upset when my flight back to Pokhara was canceled due to “clouds” and I go in a Jeep with no exclusion over mountain streets for seven hours with two extremely crabby Czech girlfriends. When I arrived in Pokhara, I sat on a restaurant terrace and told a salad, and eat every foliage independently as it get dark.
When I came back to the states, I had a hard time describing its own experience. Some parties would ask if I had “fun.” Other beings would ask if I’d learned something about myself. Both questions seem wrong. It wasn’t fun, but it was good. And expecting to learn thoughts from walk for pleasure is almost as silly as questioning individual if they learned something from a excursion to an amusement park.
Going away for over a month of strolling around some mountains to which I have no ancestral associate did facilitate allay the popular traveling fantasy that it’s possible to flee oneself. Leaving everything behind is simply impossible. Almost a year on, I still should be considered the people I met, the places I got to see, the meat I got to eat, the crazy plywood lean-to inns I got to sleep in, and I’m grateful for all of them. But I don’t feel guilty about the things I’d been putting off meeting anymore. I anticipate I left the singer in the mountains. I probably could have left it behind long ago, if I’d just let it speak.
Maybe I didn’t have to fly halfway around the world to figure that out, but I’m glad I did.