Saturday, July 31, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

3 star
In the book Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert chronicles her journey to find herself after a long divorce. She decided to take a year and spent it in three different places for three different purposes. The book is divided into three books. In Book I Gilbert describes her time in Italy for which she hoped to speak Italian and eat Italian food. In book two Gilbert travels to India to pray at an ashram. In book three Gilbert would return to Indonesia where at first she had no plans what she would do during her stay but a palm reader 2 years before told her she would be back and would stay with him, so in the attempt to experience something different she went on a whim hoping he would remember her.

This book can be read in a few different ways; a memoir of a difficult period in Gilbert’s life and how she overcame it, a guide for divorced women and how they can deal with life after divorce or a travel memoir. I am sure other ways to read the book but what drew me to the book was the promise of the travel memoir. So often it is hard to find a great book about travel. Either it will read as too much of a guidebook (i.e. “Go see this, then go do this”) or it will read as a personal memoir with little travel description in it. Eat, Pray, Love falls somewhere in between. It is neither a guidebook nor is it really overly memoir (except for the very beginning and at times in the Indonesia section).  There was much I appreciated about this book. I appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed Book I. So many descriptions of Rome, Naples and the food! After reading book one I said to myself, “I want to go to Rome!”  This is why I bought the book the travel and there was a great deal of it in Book One, so much so that I could ignore the things I did not buy the book for (the divorce drama and the somewhat pathetic need for men that Gilbert relays to the reader early on). Excited about the prospect of more travel I moved on to Book II, which again I thoroughly loved. The descriptions of the ashram, the mediation sessions and the chanting all made me want to experience something similar. The language become more beautiful in this book the more comfortable Gilbert become with mediating and the less she obsessed about her lost relationships, it was a great book.

So I can hear you asking at this point, “Why did you only give it 3 out of 5 stars it sounds like you really liked this book?” Well mainly Book III. It started off promising and I loved it when she actually learned from Ketut Liyer, but then we lost the travel spirit and she began to just live there. The excitement in the writing that existed in the first two books had gone. Don’t get me wrong there were moments when I said to myself “I want to go to Bali” but this part of the book did not read the same as the others. And the real thing that brought this book all the way down to a 3 out of making it just okay was the ending. In order not to spoil anything  for my fellow readers who have yet to pick this book up I just want to say this… it was not expected and somewhat uneventful considering the build up from the universe that we were feed throughout the book. It was a hurried afterthought of an ending. All in all though I am glad I read this book and if you have not read it I recommend it to readers who want a travel memoir or a book about relationships, both readers will be satisfied in the end.

Novel Moments:
“To find the balance you want, […] this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.” (Kindle Location 647)

“Parla come magni.” He knows this is one of my favorite expressions in Roman dialect. It means, “Speak the way you eat,” or, in my personal translation: “Say it like you eat it.” It’s a reminder- when you’re searching for the right words- to keep your language as simple and direct as Roman food. (Kindle Location 1764)

Book Citation: Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything across Italy, India and Indonesia . Viking. Kindle edition.

Want to know what the rating in this post means? Check out the Ratings Key.

Andrews Bald Smoky Mountains TN





The above video is from the Andrew's Bald Trail in the Smoky Mountains near Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg TN. The hike is moderate and about 4 miles round trip. It is located at the base of Clingmans Dome and is less populated than the trek up to Clingmans Dome. For RVers there are many campgrounds in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and there are primitive campsites in the Smoky Mountain National Park. If you are an RPI member the closest one is Mill Creek Campground and Resort. It is a popular campground in the summer and there are not many RPI sites available. The charge an additional $4.95 a night ($14.95 a night total) for cable and wifi. They have a 35 foot restriction on their campsites for RPI (they are pretty tight even for our 30 foot fifth wheel).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Walking Partners

It is great to have this community to go to... both for being cheered on and to get motivation. Last year when I first start training for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon I started by myself walking around the neighborhood and I found that even with music I become bored and unmotivated easily but then I persuaded my husband and Maverick to join me and since then I look forward to getting up each morning and getting out for our “miles.” My two boys are the best walking partners. With their help I achieved one of my best times on a mile Monday (12:21). READ MORE

Campground Profile Submission Guidelines

If you have been to a Thousand Trails, Naco, Leisure Time, Outdoor World, Mid Atlantic or RPI (Resort Parks International) resort or campground in 2010 and would like to write a profile for the campground/resort please send your submission along with photos (link to photos) or links to You Tube videos to Amanda at amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com. Campgrounds or Resorts that are not TTNLT OW MA or RPI may also be considered. Please be sure to include all the information about the campground (i.e. Is a membership needed to use the campground? Are there RV restrictions such as no tents? Etc…)

All submissions must follow the below guidelines or they will not be published:

Submission Guidelines:
• No profanity or obscene language, photos or videos
• Written in Weekly Zen format
• Park you are talking about is clear (Title of the submission, email, and photos)
• Directions , Fees, and Park information are up to date
• NO advertisements in the profile
• All content must be original to you
• Profile is submitted with your name and the username you would like published with submission on the site along with contact email (will not be published)


Weekly Zen Format: 
Where is “Resort Name”? Includes name of resort, directions, GPS coordinates, address and phone number of the resort. You can also include here what members have access to this park (for example; Outdoor World parks are open to TT members with Elite Connections and Outdoor World Members)

How many campsites does “Resort Name” have? This is the actual number of campsites you saw available at the park (not including cabins/trailer rentals). If it differs from the number on the Thousand Trails website please note this.

What amenities does “Resort Name” offer? The actual amenities offered at the park. If something is under construction, in disrepair or differs from the Thousand Trails website please list that information here.

Things to do near “Resort Name”: Sites to see or activities you can do near (within 40 miles or less) of the resort. Include directions, distance and contact information if available. You may also include pictures or video for this section. Please include at least one thing to do.

Photos of “Resort Name” and surrounding area : Links to photo albums or a couple (1 or 2) photos with captions. MUST BE YOUR OWN PHOTOS

A Few Words on “Resort Name”: Here you are free to add your own personal experience at the resort. Things people should consider before going to the resort or any other special information that people need to know before visiting the resort (i.e. if it is an RPI park and they have an additional fee per night for use or restrictions on RV length). Please keep this as informational and constructive as possible.

Send submission to Amanda at amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com

Moody Beach Outdoor World (Wells Maine)



Help me win a prize by commenting on this video HERE

The above video is a walk from Moody Beach to Wells Beach in Wells Maine. Thousand Trails members who have access to Outdoor World parks will find the Moody Beach Campground is located 1.25 miles from Moody Beach (a private beach) and about 2.25 miles from the public access with parking to Moody Beach. It is 4 miles from Ogunquit. This is a popular park in the summer and the spots go fast. It is a small park in a great location. For those who enjoy large spots you may reconsider this campground. Many of the campsites are "parallel parking" type sites (neighbors in front, back and on both sides in some cases). Those with smoke related allergies might also reconsider this campground.

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Alum Cave Trail Smoky Mountains TN



Above is a recent hike we did in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It is about a 6 hour hike, 11 miles and it is marked as strenuous. If you have a fear of heights you may skip this one there are some steep drop offs in places, but the views are worth it. I recommend you take a day pack with water, food, rain gear and plastic bag for your camera.

Comment on this video here to help me win a cool prize.

Thousand Trails Members: There are a few parks that are within driving distance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park but the best location is an RPI park in Pigeon Forge... Mill Creek Resort & Campground. They have a restriction of 35 foot RVs (with our fifth wheel it was tight and we are at 30ft). They also charge an additional 4.95 per night (14.95 per night) for cable and Wifi (available only at the club house. There are only a few spots for RPI members (about 5). In addition to being near the Smoky Mountains this is also just down the road from Dollywood and Gatlinburg.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Good Posture

Long distance travel has ended for awhile because next month school will start again so we have ventured back to FL and decided to keep our trips within the state. It was great to get out and see much of the east coast which I had never seen before but there is something special about FL, even in the oppressive summer heat. Being back I have more time to work on speed and distance because most of our walks talk place on sidewalks and streets while we are in FL. READ MORE

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From Maine to Tennessee

This last week has been a crazy one for us. We went from Maine all the down to Tennessee… from ocean side to mountain side. My internet connection was sporadic at best when we were on the road but thanks to the email your daily workout summaries from my Active Training plan I knew what I needed to do each day just by checking my email on my Kindle. It is a fantastic feature of the plan. This week’s training will be done in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. READ MORE

Monday, July 05, 2010

Miles or Steps?

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend. We had a great weekend in which many miles were involved. We explored the neighborhoods and spent some time on the beach. READ MORE

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Happy July

Hope all your training is going well. Training is going awesome for me. I am a fan of Active on Facebook and yesterday they posted a link to a free cross training program so I went ahead and downloaded one to go with my nifty little walking training program. All I can say about the new cross training program is… Burpees are HARD! I love the new challenge added onto my 8 week training for my 5k, which by the way thanks to the help of the awesome support staff of Team GOsmart I have narrowed down to two really great races. READ MORE