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At 32 years old, Elizabeth Gilbert was educated, had a home, a husband, and a successful career as a writer. However, she was unhappy in her marriage and often spent the night crying on her bathroom floor. After separating from her husband and initiating a divorce, which he contested, she embarked on a rebound relationship which continued for some time but did not work out, leaving her devastated and alone.
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Afterwards, while writing an article on yoga vacations in Bali, Gilbert met a ninth-generation medicine man who told her she would one day come back and study with him. After finalizing her difficult divorce, Gilbert spent the next year traveling around the world. The trip was paid for in advance with a book deal from the publisher.
She spent four months in Italy, eating and enjoying life ("Eat"). She spent four months in India, finding her spirituality ("Pray"). She ended the year in Bali, Indonesia, looking for "balance" of the two and found love ("Love") in the form of a dashing Brazilian factory owner