Check out Jackie’s Yoga Journey for the origins of this dramatic path to becoming a yogini, and how I'm in the best shape of my life at the age of 40.
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
- Lewis Carroll
Life changing event #6: Becoming a working nomad.
So desperate I was to escape my situation, I moved to a new communal home and began living as a nomad. In hindsight, nomadic life is a fancy way of saying “homeless.” So I lived with a vague sense of home for years as I extended my work trips to Asia longer and longer. Working from home at the top of the Santa Barbara mountains, while watching the cherry blossoms bloom in Japan, and from the beachside in Singapore - I curated a little space for myself that soothed my soul. I even spent extended time with family back in my hometown.
Bit by bit the crust of constant guarding broke free. I got my groove back. I made friends - lots of friends - when I traveled alone. Always open for an adventure, I watched the sun rise and set on coasts, riverbanks and mountaintops in Taiwan, China, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore. My favorite place to lay my nomad head: a hand-built treehouse on a private property that borders the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara. With wifi in the nearby home, I was able to work from my yoga mat while watching the morning ocean mist roll through the mountains.
I studied and practiced yoga more diligently than ever, with sights set on channeling more of my energy into the physical movement of yoga than the stagnation of online teaching. Exploring new classes while traveling abroad became one of my favorite ways to connect with new people. I shared my yoga practice with friends, family, strangers in a park, kids who wandered to my mat, lost dogs who joined the flow...anyone and everyone!
A simple act, most certainly. And one I had longingly wanted to do - just free, uninhibited dancing, without my body feeling like a bucket of rust. My dearly departed best friend and I painted the town of Taipei together on so many hot, sticky summer nights. We danced in the endless rain, cried in the rain, shared secrets in the rain. One foot followed another, moving with the joy of freedom for the first time in years.
Like the autumn leaves falling from a tree, each chance to dance freely left an empty spot where the stem broke from that branch. That little tree had some very cold, empty winters. Over time, all of those empty spots began to bloom with the new life that unfolded as gently as a typhoon.
Outside of yoga, my life became utter chaos. I lived many secret lives as I “serial dated,” testing scenarios that might save me from the hell I had been enduring (spoiler alert: I had to do it myself). I prayed for a “knight in shining armor” to come save me so many times. Instead, I got a samurai in silk robes who charmed me beyond anything I had even dreamed at the time.
...I also got a sultan in shining silks, an African prince in fine prints, a czar in a fancy car.. Hah! The list could go on. I was seeking refuge, plain and simple.
The rollercoaster became a free fall of quick-fix gratifications. Amidst the chaos, I returned to yoga. Yoga was one of the few stable, healthy forces in my life. When I sat myself down, regulated my breath, and began to move to the beat of my own heart, everything fell into place.
Inhale, expand. Exhale, release.
My little nomadic heart was full when I flowed with nature in new places. I found peace.
...check in next week to find out what happens in the next chapter!