It’s no shock to most of you here that I’m a yoga teacher. You also probably know that I started practicing yoga at 12-years-old, because my mom is a teacher, too.
I say this, because when I say that travel is my greatest teacher, people are usually shocked.
“Isn’t yoga your greatest teacher?”
Is the most common response I get.
Here’s the thing, yoga IS one of my greatest teachers. But the truth is, travel came first- even though it actually (chronologically) came second.
Yes, I did start practicing yoga with my mom at 12-years-old. And no, I didn’t go on my first big solo trip until I was 21-years-old. That’s a big gap in time between the two!
I guess the difference is that yoga was more of a lighthearted hobby for me at the time. It wasn’t my lifestyle, nor my philosophy. Let’s just say, I only practiced ON THE MAT, if you will. In other words, it was purely physical.
Travel, on the other hand, travel is the practice that took over my entire being: mind, body, and spirit. It’s the practice that made me feel alive, while also bringing me to my knees at time.
Travel lit up all my senses, and showed me parts of myself that I didn’t know existed. Or, more painfully so, the parts I didn’t know I was avoiding, or running from.
Travel taught me the age old saying, “wherever you go, there you are.”
What Does Travel Teach You?
For the sake of not making this post a bazillion pages long, I’ll just share a few of the biggest ones. Also, let me disclaim by saying that I know travel comes with immense privilege (particularly financially). For those of you who aren’t in a place to travel now for whatever reason, you can still get outside of your comfort zone by going to new places locally!
Or, my second favorite kind of travel is mind travel. Aka, read a good international book. I have my favorites in my storefront library. Go nuts.
This is undoubtedly the greatest gift from traveling the world solo for so many years. Ugh, I remember the first time I went abroad on my own, and I cried like a baby because I was so scared.
PSA: nothing wrong with crying, and nothing wrong with being scared. However it’s also really cool to see how the things that scared me back then (which was pretty much just the unknown, and discomfort of a place so different than I’d ever known), I can now navigate and handle with ease.
Look, I don’t care if you’re traveling with a full on bougie budget, there’s still inevitably going to be the weird things that “just happen” when you’re on the road.
Whether it’s a tire blowing out, a plane losing your bags, or getting on the wrong train- travel forces you to exercise your patience muscle in a way that regular, everyday life just can’t provide.
We all think we’re the center of the universe, because we ARE the center of our own universe. The same thing can happen on a more external level, when we think the culture, belief system or language of our region is “just how people do things.”
Getting outside of your bubble, no matter how far you go (because even just hopping over to the next town can sometimes show you the same thing!), has this way of expanding your perspective to see the WHOLE universe, instead of just your own.
This one goes hand-in-hand with patience, as you’re forced to roll with the punches real quick. Going to a new environment (again, this doesn’t even have to be far) requires adaptability in order to find enjoyment where you are.
Sometimes this means doing things, or wearing clothes, that you wouldn’t necessarily do or wear- but you adapt to your surroundings out of respect, or even just ease.
To sum up all of the above points, travel promotes growth. It pushes your comfort zone in so many ways. It has this way of rubbing right up against your sticky spots, and showing you where your own resistance is.
Even if you decide that you’re more of a homebody, and travel isn’t for you- it’s still pushed your edges, and brought you closer to YOU in that realization.
My call of action for you this month is to go somewhere new. Even if it just means switching up your regular routine, and going to a new coffee shop, or a different yoga class. Just try something NEW this month.
Sure, if you can go for a trip, or a weekend getaway- that’s great.
But remember, you can find confidence, patience, perspective, adaptability, and growth simply by stepping outside of your comfort zone at all.
And if you’re craving a bigger adventure, you can always meet up with me on my international retreats. That’s why I started them. To inspire, encourage, and facilitate travel around the world.
Happy travel, friends.