3 weeks shy of a year ago, I began on an adventure. Today, I sit here on the last leg of my journey home.
My adventure began in Bali. The place I consider my spiritual home. It took me back to the place where the initiation of a new life had begun the year before. Bali has so many magical secrets to share if you stop and look. It is not a pristine place of beauty. It’s a rough, unrefined diamond. It’s a third world country which has one of the lowest rates of homelessness. It seems the more you have, the more you become scared to share it. Scared that someone will take it all away from you. Scared that it will leave you with nothing. And the less you have, the more you share. You have nothing to lose.
When you’re creating design, it’s an offering, a gift.
It is a place where hand crafted pieces of work; doors, tables, chairs, sculptures, contain intricate details. Whilst I wandered down the streets, taking time to appreciate the beauty of each uniquely created piece, I listened to a podcast where Oprah Winfrey paraphrased Rainn Wilson saying ‘there’s really no difference between art and prayer. That when you’re creating design, it’s an offering, a gift. And in order to do it well, you have to be in alignment with that which is the creator.’ And in that moment it made complete sense. Expression of beauty. Dedication. The time to be fully immersed. Creating a gift to be shared with the world to bring joy to others.
It is a place where locals take the time to lay out offerings to theirs gods several times a day. Who go to the temples with one another. Who live in communities. People who are happy to share their way of life with you if you are patient enough to sit and learn, communicating on a level which transcends language barriers. Where you can sit and watch the surf, or jump in and learn to surf. A place which is littered with litter, because they have no infrastructure to deal with the first world’s problems. But take the time to explore, and you will find the gems.
It is a place where you will find a whole family on a scooter. Where people toot their horn to let people know they are there, not out of aggression. Where if you have no idea what is going on, it looks completely hectic. But if you go with it, the level of awareness of one another is higher than anywhere I’ve been before.
It’s a place where I made a beautiful friendships. People who are scattered across the planet but who happened to be in the same place at the same time, just for a moment. Who I hope to share more magical moments with again in the future.
Wanderlust… a festival named so aptly for the journey I was on.
The adventure led me on to exploring the East Coast of Australia.
Travelling and living in my makeshift camper, Barbie. I started at Wanderlust on the Sunshine Coast, a festival named so aptly for the journey I was on. I spent a week playing, yoga-ing and dancing with more incredible souls. A couple of who, have no idea the extent of their impact on me. I was fully myself, safe to be whatever my heart desired. Hoola hooping covered in glitter and sparkles. Dancing and spinning into the night. Flying high in overhead lifts. Sliding down waterslides after dark. To those there in those moments, thank you.
From there I ventured town to town, beach to beach, waterfall to waterfall. I made memories with my beautiful baby sister and her fiancé. We laughed, barbequed and cursed the small towns of the which shut up shop at 8pm, leaving us hungry from poor planning on several occasions! We snorkelled in the reef, excited by turtles and dolphins. We played in the ocean like we did when we were kids. We giggled like we’d never stopped after a trip to Nimbin.
Living my best life instead.
And I found the place which I’d call home. A little town called Burleigh on the Gold Coast. In a beautiful sliding doors moment, I was where I was always meant to be, only in a completely different capacity. 11 months before my arrival in Burleigh Heads, I had been offered a job as a construction planner on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Luckily for me, several things occurred which meant I didn’t take the role. Yet here I was anyway. Only teaching yoga, living my best life instead.
From the moment I arrived in Burleigh, I knew I was home. And I was surrounded by people who were old friends from days and Games gone by (I worked on the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games). And then I ventured out and made a separate group of friends. People who’d rather spend time on their hands, or on someone else’s feet than their own two feet! A group of people who kept me pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, learning things which on the approach to 30, I definitely thought I was too old to learn. But I really learnt that however old your body is, if your mind is young enough to play, to learn, to expand, then physical limitations are just a figment of your imagination.
What made me think that I was good enough to do such an incredible thing?
Then I hopped on a plane over to Koh Samui, Thailand for an intensive 150 hour training course, furthering and deepening my yoga practice and teachings.
It was a training that broke me in order to make me. My demons were exposed. And I could either let them win or face them in order to move forwards. There’s a fable where a grandfather is telling his grandchildren the story of 2 wolves, The good wolf and the evil wolf, who fight one another. When one of the grandchildren asks who wins the fight, and the grandfather replies, the one which you feed. I was staring at my insecurities head on. Asking myself why on earth I thought I could move to the other side of the world and be a yoga teacher. What made me think that I was good enough to do such an incredible thing? Who was I to teach anybody anything? This was a life that someone really cool, who has all this stuff to share does, not boring, little ol’ me. The rooted belief, that I was not good enough. That no-one cares what I have to say. That I’m not likable, or cool, or fun. So I cried. I cried and cried until there were no tears left.
But I had an angel by my side. She looked at me and said, you have just as much right to do this as anyone else. So I faced my wolves. The one telling me I wasn’t good enough and I should go back to that life I had before because it was safe, I knew what to expect there, go back to being the girl everyone knows and depends on. And then the one telling me that despite not knowing what would happen, I was good enough. That I could make anything happen if I wanted it enough. And I chose to feed the good wolf, not the one filled with fear.
I was grateful to connect with so many people through the power of yoga.
And onwards I went. Back to the Gold Coast to make my fortune as a yoga teacher. My fortune came. Not financially. I had set out and manifested that I wanted to teach enough that I broke even. And I just did that, covering my rent and bills. Somehow, every week, even on the weeks which I thought were going to be lean, somehow, something materialised for me, breaking me even. But my fortune really came in experience. Teaching consistently. Meeting wonderful people who taught me as much as I taught them. Who shared their stories with me. Filling me with love, laughter and joy. Sharing their sadness, grief and hope. I taught pregnancy yoga, and had the privilege of sharing a session with one expectant mother who later went into labour that day. I was grateful to connect with so many people through the power of yoga. Whether they showed up on the mat to work up a sweat, to stretch out tired muscles or to find peace in a busy mind, they all brought a dynamic to my classes which I will always be grateful for.
Life isn’t without it’s bumps though.
I shared love with people who weren’t in a place to return it.
My best friend lost her mum whilst I was away. I knew that the only place I could be was with her. So I dropped everything, to be there. She had absolutely no expectation of me to do so. But there are people who I would do anything for, and she happens to be one of them.
I invested in friendships with people who are lone souls and don’t understand my fierce loyalty.
I returned home again for a wedding. Surrounded by friends who mean the world to me. Surrounded by their love, their friendship, their support.
Time to create space for my next adventure.
I could have stayed in Australia for longer than I ended up choosing to do so. But in a moment, sat in the park, in the sunshine with a dear friend, I knew that I had achieved all that I needed to from this adventure. I was full of a ‘should make the most of’ reasoning, and it dawned on me, that this is something I say so often. Should make the most of a nice day, should make the most of my visa, should make the most of this opportunity… The struggle being that those ‘shoulds’ are all wonderful yet sometimes those ‘shoulds’ feel more like obligations that things which serve us. So this time I looked at what was best for me. It was time to create space for my next adventure, whatever that may be. In order to continue to grow, I needed to let go and surrender.
Find the wonder.
So through it all, here is what stands out for me.
- Every experience is enhanced by the people you share it with. If you’re on a tropical island or in front of the TV, if you are with people who set your soul on fire, it really makes no difference.
- Just because you give someone your all, they don’t need to return it. And if they don’t, it’s not a reflection of you, it’s a reflection of them.
- Don’t be shy to be who you are. Not everyone will love you, and that’s ok. Because those who do are your tribe.
- Take time to slow down. There’s so much beauty you miss out on when you just rush by. There are no prizes for getting to the end faster.
- If you think you can’t, you can. Because if you think it, it already exists in the realm of possibility. It is only fear holding you back from trying.
- Life isn’t smooth sailing. Finding the inner peace whilst the storm is raging on is the real life lesson.
- Have faith that it’ll work out, you don’t need to know all the ins and outs. Plans change all the time, the unknown is half the fun.
- The world is beautiful, go see it. Adventure, always. Even in the mundane, find the wonder.
Preparations for landing are beginning. So here’s to my next adventure. And to yours.
Cheers, A xoxo