After Eat, Pray, Love: Tourism, Orientalism, and Cartographies of Salvation

Putcha, Rumya
Tourist Studies

This article examines certain kinds of travel and tourism as extensions of colonial and examples of neocolonial forms of Orientalist engagement between the global North and global South. Focusing on areas that border the Indian Ocean, and the South Asian context in particular, I interrogate the gendered, racial, and geopolitical attachments that have historically drawn and continue to draw travelers to the region for tourism. I refer to these attachments as cartographies of salvation. In connecting the history and representations of travel to the area to the forms of leisure and spiritual tourism popularized by the 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, I argue that the Indian Ocean region remains for many a paternalistic endeavor or an exotic playground, where one can project a sense of purpose or indulge in an escapist fantasy. This article combines critical tourism studies, feminist ethnography and theory, and critical race studies.