With the release of the highly anticipated film Eat, Pray, Love just around the corner, Budget Travel Magazine recently sat down for a Q&A with travel guru and best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert. She discusses how to get the most out of any trip—even if you’ve only got a week. Here is an excerpt of advice given by the seasoned traveler:
How do you break from the tourist mold and immerse yourself in a destination?
Stay put. I’ve certainly done that exuberant, I-just-want-to-see-everything travel, where it’s two days in Bologna, two days in Milan. But those kinds of experiences never made it into Eat, Pray, Love, mostly because I never met anybody. The memories that really stick with me involve making friends. I did that in Rome, where I got to know people over the course of months and really became part of their lives. But you could just as easily spend your week’s vacation in one village. It’s amazing how quickly you can become integrated if you try.
Is it possible to find an exotic escape without flying halfway around the world?
Sure. I’ve recently become a huge fan of Atlantic City. Step a block from the boardwalk and there are all of these incredible restaurants and stores run by the immigrants who staff the city. My husband and I live about two hours away, and we visit once a month to buy spices and goat meat from this Pakistani guy. When you’re in his shop, you sort of think to yourself, What country am I in? But you’re right behind the Trump Taj Mahal.