Most of my life has been transient. We moved houses three, or four times, before I was five, I went to three elementary schools and my parents divorced when I was fifteen which meant I had to be in different homes, often.
Besides that, I was born into a family, on both sides, who were adventurous and nomadic. It wasn’t uncommon to come home from school on a Friday afternoon to my mother’s insistence that we pack our bags because we were off to see some relatives; five hours away. Or, one year, she declared that we were going to spend Xmas (which was a week away) with my grandparents, and we would drive five days through the outback; tomorrow.
My father was more of an outdoors man. I spent many weekends camping with him and his friends, or going on weekend ski trips, day hikes, or sailing. My grandparents often moved states, my uncle & aunt spent more than a year driving around Australia. My uncle, by marriage, was an indigenous man and when we would visit my cousins in the Northern Territory we would spend many days out on wild adventures with the little tin boat, catching fish and watching out for crocodiles. I’ll admit, I hated the outdoor adventure stuff but I always appreciated it later.
Suffice to say, discovering the world outside my comfort zone was written in my manual for life. Many other things were omitted, but travel was not.
I’m currently traveling through South America. Mostly for my business, Love Nomadic, but it is, without a doubt, for my soul too.
Travel I understand, more than anything about my life, is my yoga.
I realized this again when I received an email from my best friend in Australia. We have known each other since birth; 38 years! I had sent her an email with a brief rundown of my first week and she replied “you sound like you are really relaxing into it and letting it all unfold”
I replied “I am most myself when I am traveling”
For me, the practice of yoga has been all about finding the place in my life where I feel most myself.
The same place which is different for us all.
Yesterday I found myself climbing a mountain. Before I started walking, I was secretly afraid. I was taken back to my adolescence when I was a scout (oh yes, I wore an uniform and all!) and I would have to hike for five days at a time through the mountains. I never felt fit or prepared for the kind of physical exhaustion because I was not a sporty teenager; I was unfit and clumsy. But, yesterday I simply had to trust that my years of yoga practice had to have changed me a little bit.
As we started the ascent, I was surprised at how good I felt. I was moving and climbing and things got steep, really steep. I mean, nose to the ground, hands in the mud steep. The track narrowed, and hid at times, but my legs felt strong and my breathing….well….I understood how to breath….and my spirit felt alive. I kept going, waiting for that part of me to show up that wanted to give up. I kept wondering when I would start reaching for the past, believing that I wasn’t strong enough, or fit enough and I should go back down. But, that person, or feeling didn’t come.
What came was the thought that I was so much stronger than I thought I was.
This is one reason why travel is my yoga. It places me in situations I might otherwise dismiss to comfort, or familiarity, and avoid. It alerts me to what I forget about myself when I have routine and move on autopilot. But, most importantly it occasionally forces me to return to something familiar only to show me how much I’ve changed and grown and what I’ve learnt.
I am not immune to fear. I am not immune to expectation inflicted upon me, or self-inflicted. I am not immune to feeling confusion, or doubt, or failure, or of disappointment. All of these qualities of being creep upon me from time to time, perhaps more than that, but I’ve learnt to live with them. I’ve come to understand that they are a collision, of sorts, of familiarity, inertness and overwhelm.
And, to keep them at bay, I must keep moving.
How often do we assume that because it happened before, it will happen again? How many of us are afraid of love because we’ve been heartbroken before? How many aren’t doing art because one teacher, or parent, said it wasn’t good enough? When you fall, does it cost you more time practicing because you are afraid to fall again? How many don’t start another business because one failed?
When I was nineteen I sat in a pub in London with a friend who was 30 years my senior. He wasn’t a particularly verbose man but when he spoke, I listened. This one night we talked about living and about what to do in life – I was naturally very confused and wanted to live my life all in one year. He listened and then, after he took a mouthful from his pint, he looked at me and said “Don’t stop moving, Lyn. In your head, in your heart, in your body and in the world. Just don’t stop moving.”
I guess I can say I’ve been doing my best.
If you would like to travel with me, come to India in January. I promise you a good, soulful, ridiculously good time.