Please note: To my horror, when I checked this post this morning, I realized I named it: “Eat, Pay, Love … ” I should stop posting at 2 a.m. since the intended name was “Eat, Pray, Love … ” The spelling and grammatical errors have been corrected for my sanity.

It’s not the most unique idea

But it’ll be enlightening.

When novellist Elizabeth Gilbert divorced, she went on a travelling buffet of self-discovery. Gorging on lasagna and spumoni in Italy, worshipping in an Indian temple, and finding love in Indonesia.

Since I’m heading down the same path as Gilbert, I want to do my own self-discovery project. However, more of a Canadian-style and gluten free “Eat, Pray, Love on a Budget.” Let’s face it, I won’t have the 200K publishing advance Gilbert did for a novel. Plus, this isn’t for a novel.

It’s for me.
First, I shall eat. Since Winnipeg has a limited amount of gluten free restaurants (sorry, but you do) and I promised to treat myself to at least two trips this year, I decided to go to Celiac Central: Edmonton.

My tastebuds are salivating for burgers from Soda Jerks and DeLuxe Burger. Milestones’ Mediterranean chicken. Britts Fish and Chips onion rings, Crave Cupcakes, cupcakes, etc., etc. Edmonton’s also the home of Kinnikinnick. Kinni-wah? The best bread, pizza and pancake mixes, French bread. They have an in-store bakery with nanaimo bar, cupcakes, bagels, doughnuts that taste like doughnuts, and tons muffins and cakes and squares – including matrimonial cake (date square) and nanaimo. And this morning I remembered the year-round farmer’s market. Perogies, lasagna, nanaimo, cherry, blueberry, and date square. Even samosas.

Carrying an extra 10 lbs, I’ll waddle back to the airport. And there’s the other hurdle I need to conquer. Travelling by plane.

I loathe flying. I’m the person who stares at the television in front of them. How much further? When are we landing? Why are we stuck over Saskatchewan? Turbulence? It’s not that great. On my third flight, the seatbelt sign flashed like the my family’s cameras at a reunion. Then the captain’s voice: Hello Passengers, we seem to be experiencing some turbulence. You don’t say. If you could please refasten your seatbelts, because we’re in for a few bumps. Ha, ha. Don’t make jokes, oh Captain, my, Captain. That’s airplane code for “This is bad, this is bad!”

I’m a billion feet off the ground in a flying sardine can full of compressed air. With bacteria and other yuckies. And security? Four flights, three random security checks. However, they’re just doing their job. And I don’t blame them last time – since I did set off the alarm after forgetting to take off my boots. Tip: I don’t care if it’s uncomfortable, choose the pat down. I went into that microwave thingy, and I could feel my hand burning.

Okay, so that was “complain.”

As for pray? I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness – non-active and confusing – until I was about 14. Christmas lights on our house, but we didn’t stand for O’Canada. No birthday party, but my dad would slide a $20 bill under my door. It was as awesome, but it was bizarre.

Maybe that explains why I’m fascinated by religion, and why I ask a billion questions. Just ask the JW’s that used to come here. When I interned for the Winnipeg Free Press, I spend over an hour discussing religion with the Reverend of an Anglican church. I’m not sure if the 100th anniversary commemorative manifest she gave me was a gift, or to sidetrack me from asking further questions.

I’m not the type of person who’s content sitting in a church, Buddhist temple, or any house of worship unless I’m taking notes with the intention of badgering the Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, Volkhvy, Elder, Dalai Lama – you get the picture.

Where do I go to discover religion? Not far, because Winnipeg has the religious map covered. From the Shalom Temple to Orthodox Ukrainian Catholic Churches to Mosques to Indigenous Summer Solstice celebrations. Up for debate, the Jehovah’s Witness Memorial. I haven’t been to the hall since 1990.

As for love, I’m looking deeper. I can eat my way through Edmonton and pray my way through Winnipeg. Food and religion are different forms of comfort, and both have healing properties, just as love can be comforting.

But my end goal is discovering self-love. I need to learn about myself. Accept my faults. Let go of years of guilt and shame, and learn how to let go of the past – both figuratively and materially, because I literally carry it with me in boxes, and it’s a heavy load.

If I gain self-love, I’d consider my three-part mission a success.

Otherwise, I will have only gained 10 lbs.