Eat Pray Love just hit theaters this week, seducing viewers with colourful images of Italy, India and Indonesia. Tour companies are already lining up to create itineraries that mimic Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey, aimed at the hopefuls who want to recreate want the same dreamy results.
Companies like Gap Adventures offer tours through those exact areas visited by Gilbert, while Spirit Quest takes on a more obvious approach with a full week in Bali to re-create the author’s experiences. Their website has this disclaimer:
“This tour is not affiliated with or endorsed by Penguin Books or Sony Pictures. Elizabeth Gilbert will not be leading this trip. Julie [sic] Roberts has probably never even heard of Spirit Quest Tours. Javier Bardem will not marry you. Richard from Texas will not give you advice. James Franco will definitely not make out with you. Still, you should come on this trip.”
We’ve seen the same sort of phenomenon happen when Sex and the City 3 was released: tourism in Abu Dhabi and the UAE increased, despite the film actually being shot in Morocco. Will Italy, India and Indonesia experience the same kind of gain?
What Eat Pray Love does inspire, however, is the notion that long-term travel is possible, and so are those extraordinary experiences. Perhaps the film will motivate people to set out on their journey far sooner than imagined.