venezia, 1998

i’ve been listening to the audiobook “eat. pray. love.” by elizabeth gilbert in my car lately. it’s about a woman who went through some traumatic experiences, basically hitting rock-bottom, and then spent a year traveling around the world in order to discover herself. i immediately connected with this book, and have only grown more and more attached to it as i have listened on.

elizabeth divided the book into three parts; hence the three-part title, in deference to the three countries she visited on her year-long exploration. i recently finished the first third of the book, her experience living in italy (and therefore the first part of the title “eat.”) mike and i went to italy ten years ago this summer on our honeymoon, so i have been intently trying to relate to her saga.

it’s funny how, even though i feel so happy to have traveled to a lot of unique, fascinating, amazing places around the world, i also constantly feel like i missed something, or didn’t fully appreciate this or that aspect, and wish i could go back and see it again. perhaps it’s my perfectionist, control-freak nature coming out again? i don’t just want to take a light, whirlwind tour, i want to experience everything!!!!

elizabeth’s stories and descriptions of what she has found while living in italy really brought out that feeling more than i’ve felt in quite awhile. on one hand, she didn’t feel the need to do many of the things that mike and i wanted to do in italy, such as visit the museums — !?!!?!!?!! on the other, she found indescribably amazing cuisine, some of the best food in the world. (however, france may have my partly-unenlightened vote on that one.)

for some reason, our lack of travel experience and unfamiliarity with europe and foreign countries in general meant that we didn’t spend a lot of time searching out amazing italian food while on our first trip alone together out of the country. (well, technically our second trip, after our crazy spring break in mexico — but that didn’t count because of it’s generic tourist nature.) we just sort of fell into whatever we found in italy and dealt with it. i remember being hungry there a lot, and slightly disappointed with the food (crappy “tourist menus!”) and sometimes wish i could have another chance at that part of it again, especially after reading this book.

needless to say, i want to tell everyone to READ THIS BOOK. it’s AMAZING!