“I think I deserve something beautiful.”

—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Although it has been a few years since the release of Eat, Pray, Love and 7 years since Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller was published, the allure of taking a break from our demanding lives to travel, explore new cultures, and find ourselves is still very appealing.

We all dream of quitting our jobs, leaving our apartments behind, and going on an adventure. These three women did just that – they traded in their suits for shorts and flip-flops, the subway for surfboards, and clients for elephants. And they say they are all better for it.

Jenny Leonard: Leaving Heartbreak for Adventure

In 2010, I ended things with my boyfriend, sold everything, gave up my dogs, and left to travel the world indefinitely while working from my laptop. I was going through a lot of tough times at the time and saw this as an opportunity not only to find myself but also to build the life of my dreams. Over the past few years, it’s been one heck of a journey – from heartbreak and pain to love and inspiration.

I met an Italian man in the market while living in Thailand and fell head-over-heels in love. He was working on a cruise ship at the time, but after doing the long-distance thing for a while and following the ship around Asia, he decided to quit his job, burn the bridge behind him, and come join me on my travel adventure. We are building a future together and creating our dream lifestyle as we speak; we’ve been dating for eight months now and things couldn’t be going better between us!

Diana Edelman: 30-Life Crisis to a New World (That Now Includes Elephants)

In 2010, I took an “Eat, Pray, Love” year. I quit my job in public relations—after nearly a decade in the industry—to travel solo through Europe and parts of Africa for seven months. During this time (and still), I ran a successful blog that documented my 30-life crisis, my experiences, and revelations through traveling. I made it home with an entirely different goal in life—to see the world and write about it. I moved back to Las Vegas, got a part-time job, and started freelance travel writing. A little more than a year after returning to America, I left again. I am now an ex-pat living in Chiang Mai, running my blog, and doing public relations and social media for an elephant rescue organization.

You can learn more about Diana on her blog.

Helena Fogarty: Trading New York Fashion for Surfing in Costa Rica

I have fifteen years of experience in the high fashion industry, having worked for luxury brands such as Chanel and Ferragamo. I also hold an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. My last relationship ended six months ago after my partner had an affair with someone within our community.

After I graduated from business school, I picked up surfing and quickly became addicted to it. Given that I live in New York City, this was an excellent way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

After working 14-hour days during a tough budget season, I expected a promotion but got laid off instead. My career and personal life had imploded, so I left NYC and moved to Costa Rica to surf and reassess my life.

I swapped my luxurious, high-maintenance lifestyle for a simple one in nature. I traded in my Chanel heels and fashionable clothing for more casual attire like flip-flops. I went from living in a big city to a small town where the only mode of transportation was walking.

I refer to this as my “Eat, Sleep, Surf” period of recharging or re-humanization. After spending 15 years in the fast-paced city of Manhattan, I learned to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. Being surrounded by so many people all the time also taught me the importance of being kind to others.

I met my husband – now surfing in Costa Rica – and we have a two-year-old. I’m the founder of Mi Ola, a producer of sexy bikinis that stay on, and I spend my time between Pura Vida, Costa Rica, and NYC.

Kei Miller: Corporate Drone to World Traveler

My friend and I took a 61-day trip to 11 different cities in six countries ( Spain, Greece, Italy, France, UK, and Ireland). We decided to quit our corporate jobs so that we could fully immerse ourselves in the delicious cultures of these countries—from their food and architecture to their overall ‘electricity.’

What we initially thought was that we could figure out every element of our lives while on this sabbatical. What we actually learned is that you cannot plan for every minute detail, but instead should live freely and soak up each moment. And that’s exactly what we did. We were lucky to have the chance to seize this opportunity, which doesn’t come around often, and allowed us to both mentally and physically relax as saw places such as Stonehenge, the Acropolis, Santorini’s volcano and hot springs, and Tuscany’s picturesque countryside. We have returned to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and feel recharged and prepared to take on anything life throw at us. Well, maybe not quite everything but we are feeling open to whatever the next phase of our lives has in store for us.

If you’re considering planning your own journey, similar to “Eat, Pray, Love”, but don’t know where to start, let us know in the comments! We would love to help you out and provide some advice.

If you’re looking for suggestions on how to plan the most relaxing vacation- whether close or far from home, ask Levo Mentor Dorothy McGiveny! She’s the founder and publisher of Jauntsetter, an NYC travel site.

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