Twenty-something Pearl Swinton is on walkabout for a year across Southeast Asia with her boyfriend, Finn. Pearl is a travel writer and encounters a host of dynamic characters, from a boat boy in the Philippines, to a penitent in Nepal, to a rickshaw driver in India, each challenging her world view. In search of her life purpose, Pearl is being pulled more deeply away from all that is familiar on this journey, a path that began when she moved to Tokyo from the U.S. years earlier. Who is the self behind cultural conditioning? Who is she when no one is telling her who to be? What is her calling? The couple ends up in London, where Pearl finds some semblance of home, while Finn struggles to belong in a place he left behind years before. Pearl ultimately realizes that before she can go upward and understand this illusory "purpose", she must journey down into the self and heal. In the end, she is faced with a decision that could reduce to ashes the life she has built, and destroy all that she holds dear.