11 Things You Didn't Know About 'Eat Pray Love' Author Elizabeth Gilbert

She's inspired millions of people around the globe with her novels.

September 24, 2015, 2:32 AM

— -- She's inspired millions of people around the globe with her novels.

The New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, 46, put her career on the map with her travel memoir “Eat Pray Love." In that book she chronicled her personal journey to finding true love and happiness.

"Eat Pray Love" sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and became so popular that Time Magazine named Gilbert one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Four years later, her book was turned into a film, starring Julia Roberts as Gilbert.

Now Gilbert is at it again with her first self-help book "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear."

In “Big Magic," Gilbert asks the question, “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures within you?”

Gilbert spoke with ABC News at the Omega Institute’s Being Bold Women and Power retreat, which helps women realize they can be bold, face their fears and tap into their creative potential.

Gilbert said the entire intention of her book is to help people.

"It’s a hope that I can help people move past their fear, so that they can live more creative lives,” Gilbert told ABC News.

“The way I define a creative life is very simply, any life where your choices are made more by curiosity than by fear. Giving people the entitlement and the permission, and maybe even the playfulness, and the courage to start living a more curiosity-driven life,” explained Gilbert.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Gilbert with her mom
Elizabeth Gilbert with her mom
Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert says her inspiration comes from her mother. “My mom came from a world of very limited circumstances and very narrowed horizons where she was told in a million different ways that she did not really matter," said Gilbert.

“The most important thing to my mother was to raise women who were not waiting for somebody to rescue them; who were not waiting for life to hand them something, but who understood it was their own agency that was going to make things happen in the world. I only owe my mother literally everything. She’s my hero,” Gilbert added.

Gilbert admits one of her biggest regrets is wasting too much of her life swooning over men who weren’t as ambitious as she is.

“I was boy crazy and romantic and sort of adventurous in those ways,” Gilbert told ABC news. “Honest to God it’s not so much the sex that I regret but it’s the hours of my life that I gave away. I wish I had given that time to myself or that I had spent that time with people who were kind of on a rocket direction like I was. I could have done a lot more stuff with my life if I had given myself those hours back."

Gilbert offers this career advice: focus less on "passion."

"Follow your curiosity," she said.

Here at 11 things you don't know about Elizabeth Gilbert.

PHOTO: Dede Gardner, left, Ryan Murphy, Elizabeth Gilbert, center, Julia Roberts and Richard Jenkins arrive for the gala premiere of "Eat Pray Love" in London, Sept. 22, 2010.
Dede Gardner, left, Ryan Murphy, Elizabeth Gilbert, center, Julia Roberts and Richard Jenkins arrive for the gala premiere of "Eat Pray Love" in London, Sept. 22, 2010.
Press Association/AP Photo

1. What was the moment like for you when you found out Julia Roberts was going to be playing you in your movie, "Eat, Pray, Love?"

“I still have not processed it,” said Gilbert.

"There’s still nothing in me that has digested that happened so I think I’ll probably live my life and I’ll die and my last thought will be ‘What! Julia Roberts played me in a movie? How did that happen?'" she said.

2. Favorite holiday?

Gilbert grew up on a Christmas tree farm but her favorite holiday is Halloween.

“I’m a giant Halloween head," she said. "I love the spectacle and I love masquerading and I love candy. I organize my entire life around Halloween.”

Gilbert said this year she and a bunch of friends are dressing up as The Muppets. Gilbert plans to be the Swedish Chef.

3. If Gilbert could be any animal, what animal would she want to be?

A cat. Not just any cat, but the grey tabby cat she grew up with named Twilight.

4. The next place in the world she would like to travel.

Iceland. She plans to go there summer of 2016.

5. Favorite food to eat while traveling?

Any food the locals dare her to eat!

6. One sound Gilbert hates?

Her surprising answer was a certain accent she can’t stand from the United States. She wouldn’t reveal which one specifically because she didn’t want to offend anyone.

“I just have to go to the other side of the room whenever I hear it. It’s a terrible prejudice and I can’t seem to get past it."

7. One job Gilbert would never want to have?

She will do anything to avoid any job that has an office culture.

“That just scares me to death,” she said. “No sitting at the desk for me. I’ll baby sit your kids. I’ll clean your toilet. I’ll mow your lawn but please don’t make me go to an office."

8. Gilbert’s biggest fear besides having an office job?

Emotional confrontation with people.

Gilbert admitted she’d rather move to another country and change her phone number than have a really scary, honest conversation with somebody that she didn't want to have.

“There’s nothing in the world that terrifies me more because I’m such a conciliatory person,” she said. “I want everybody to be friends and I want everybody to be sweet, and when all of that fails and you actually have to get down to the rubber on the road and have the real honest conversation with somebody where you tell them a very hard thing to say…it’s very hard for me."

9. Does Gilbert have a daily spiritual practice?


"Meditation is an aid and a help but where it matters is in every interaction that you have with another human being,” Gilbert said.

“I had this realization years ago that I’ve spent my life looking for the light and I finally realized that if you want light wherever you are, you’re going to have to be the one who brings it," she added.

But she tells readers who look to her for spiritual advice to find someone else to learn from because she is still trying to master her technique.

“I have not mastered the art of the rigorous spiritual practices every day," she said. "I’m working on it. I’ve had 17 consecutive days of meditation and I feel like that’s a huge thing for me. I may or may not be able to hold on to it."

10. You’re at the Omega institute. A wellness retreat focused on mind, body and spirit. It's a place where metaphysical gurus from all walks of life come to teach. If you could have one session with a spiritual leader, would you rather have a past life regression with Brian Weiss, meditate with Deepak Chopra or do a shamanic healing with Frauke Rotwein?

Shamanic session with Frauke Rotwein.

“Mysticism is so fascinating to me and my friend Martha Beck, who is also a great spiritual teacher, talks about helping people to uncover their inner mystic,” exclaimed Gilbert.

“Most of my creative journey has been a shamanistic journey; I animate everything in the world. I speak to fear, I speak to my characters, and I summon them forward," she said. "I have all sorts of kind of very voodooy practices when it comes to writing. So yeah, bring on the shaman. I’m all about the magic."

11. Gilbert’s power animal?

A fox. “I see them everywhere," she said.

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