This is Holly Corbett, photographed here for yesterday's Page Six Magazine. She read the book Eat, Pray Love — and it ruined her life! After Elizabeth Gilbert's bestseller about soothing her malaise in Italy, Indonesia and India inspired Holly to take a year off, she bought a round-the-world ticket — and came back to "depression, a breakup, and $10,000 of debt." You mean a bestselling Oprah-endorsed self-help regimen didn't save her life? Amazingly, claims the title: "My year-long trip changed my life — FOR THE WORSE." How could it be? As you may know, we read Eat, Pray, Love — but based on Holly's experience, we're wondering if Holly did. After the jump we'll explain some places we think Holly went wrong — besides this mystifying choice of trench coat!
- Actually be convincingly depressed Holly says she got the idea to travel the world while reading a "galley" of the book — she's a women's magazine writer, natch! — and was struck by a scene in the beginning where Elizabeth Gilbert cries in the bathroom and thinks about killing herself. Holly likens that scene to a scene in her own life wherein she crosses the Williamsburg Bridge and gets weepy. There are a few crucial differences between Holly and Liz Gilbert's stories, however: namely, Holly is a 26-year-old unmarried magazine editor who lives in Brooklyn, and Lizzie is a 35-year-old writer who lives in the middle of nowhere in a loveless marriage. Also, Liz has a knife in her hand with which she intends to cut herself; I don't think it's even possible to jump off the Williamsburg Bridge — and you'd probably totally live anyway. During this experience, Holly thinks of Eat, Pray, Love, and her career. Liz prays to God. Which brings us to our second area Holly doesn't seem to take seriously enough.
- Involve God You say, "Unlike in Eat, Pray, Love, not everyone is going to find God in an ashram. I got red-eye virus." Um, Holly, ever read the Book Of Job? Elizabeth Gilbert's time at her ashram didn't sound so hot either — getting up at 4 a.m. to meditate every day and eating nothing but non-root vegetables? Nevertheless, God — and enduring shitty, repetitive routines that require waking up at ungodly hours — are two mainstays of Middle America. Otherwise known as "your market." Oh, you just did it for the spiritual growth and self-actualization, you say? Whatever, I saw your blog.
- Don't be a "backpacker." Where Elizabeth Gilbert settles down for four months at a time in Italy, India, and Indonesia, Holly's trip knows no such cute first-initial limitations. She goes to Indonesia and India, sure, but also Thailand, Cambodia, the United Arab Emirates, Peru, Brazil, Kenya, Myanmar, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia. We know, we know, you're just another New York gal trying to "have it all"— but the one thing we've found in our travels is that a lot of times the most-traveled people we know, the "backpacker" types, are also the least satisfied. They're always looking for the next undiscovered beach, the cheapest hole-in-the-wall Thai food, the coolest dive bar/prettiest whores/weirdest extreme sport whatevs. Yeah, Vietnam's okayyyy, Laos is charming, but Bhutan is where you really have to go...blah blah blah. Not only do none of these people actually stay long enough to learn anything about the country they're inhabiting, but they're also too busy "getting stranded in the desert in Peru at high noon with the condors flying overhead or sleeping in a bed infested with cockroaches in Kenya" to have much downtime to think about their destructive patterns and/or poor choices and all the other instrospective shit that makes up the bulk of Eat, Pray, Love, right? Which brings me to:
- Don't bring your friends. Hello! There's a reason Elizabeth Gilbert didn't bring her two besties. Traveling anywhere with other Manhattan media people is just a 24-hour-a-day exercise in "Hell Is Other People." Surely at Self you went on junkets and experienced this. How are you supposed to "find yourself" when you're constantly finding out new hateful things about your best friends?
- When your little journey of self-promotion comes to an end and you return to life in Manhattan only to find yourself depressed, don't expect anyone to give a shit. Seriously, so you return to a club in the Meatpacking District and find it suddenly meaningless? That is your big takeaway? What about explaining how you managed not to find it meaningless before? Moreover, your relationship was obviously going to fall apart. Who takes a year to explore the world and returns back to their boyfriend in Brooklyn STILL MADLY IN LOVE? No one does, because no one fucking does that if they still love their boyfriend. And oh, you've met another guy you "totally click with" named Bryant? I bet he's toured the world too, maybe with his private equity firm? Well congrats, but that makes it even harder to feel sorry for you. And listen, I hope your blog about the adventures of turning 30 works out better, I really do. But even if it doesn't...
- Liz Gilbert was a whole nine or so years older than you when she took on all this stuff. So don't despair! You have decades left to turn your life into a bestseller.