The film version of Elizabeth Gilbert's 2006 best-selling memoir "Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia" may do more than just woo women to the box office. This Julia Roberts-starring "chick flick," which hit U.S. movie theaters in August, very well may inspire some of them to hit the road just as the newly divorced Gilbert did during her year of self-discovery.
Witness the smorgasbord of "Eat Pray Love" travel tours spawned by the film, encouraging women to pack their passports and head off in search of life-changing adventures.
But why have "Eat Pray Love" and best-selling author Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun" struck such a chord with so many women?
"It's partly escape from responsibility as you know it and wanting a bigger life to make a change and take a risk," said Mayes, whose book kick-started the American-reinventing-her-life-by-moving-abroad memoir craze in 1996. "It's the idea you can be in charge of your life, make changes you want to make and be the hero of the story."
"Adventure provides the opportunity to replenish on many levels," said Patti Mangan, co-founder ofTangoDiva.com, which encourages women to confidently travel solo. "We may think we are heading to Rome for the food, wine and romance of it all, but on arrival we discover the slow pace allows us to relax and reflect. We come home happy, filled with fresh ideas and renewed energy."
In a huge way, the film version of "Under the Tuscan Sun" helped inspire me to make the leap, giving me the confidence to leave my corporate job in 2004 and move to Florence, Italy, as a freelance writer.
If a Hollywood film-as-travelogue can serve as a compass, those hours at the multiplex are time well spent.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun