My yoga retreat to Thailand departs Philadelphia airport tomorrow evening for a fabulous top to tour the country of Thailand. We will visit many Buddhist temples, do service work at a school for 650 orphaned/hill-tribe children, do yoga asana classes in the park, and partake of all things Thailand. I'm enamored with the people of Thailand, and their joyful spirit. My father introduced me to this wonderful country and it has become like a second home to me - where I feel immediately welcome upon arrival.
The way that I travel today is a far cry from the way that I used to. I remember the first time I had an international trip, I crammed it in with so much stuff and was hell-bent on seeing it all and doing it all in one trip because I said, "I might never get back!" Well, some places I haven't gotten back to, but other places I like to go to over and over again because of the beauty that they possess - inside and out.
As a yoga teacher, I try to travel as mindfully as possible. I remember in my younger days being in a national park where it was prohibited to take any of the beautiful colored rocks. So, I packed my bag full of them, of course! Today, I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing. Regardless of any postings, I take a moment to ask permission from the land to take the rock, and in meditation, I listen for the answer. I am always mindful of the customs and spiritual traditions of where I travel too. I want to experience the country in the way that it was intended to be and not by forcing my own agendas on it. And although my father completely makes fun of me for doing so, I try to speak clearly and articulate my words, sometimes with a slight accent bent to the country's own speak, so that I am more easily understood. I guess that you can say I go out of the way to be mindful!
So back to the packing situation. I just started throwing some clothes in a bag this time. I haven't even counted the number of shirts or pants. I'll be gone for three weeks but I am not worrying about what I have. I'm going to wash my clothes this time and, of course, I always buy a few new ones too to support local markets and vendors. I also want to travel light and not be weighed down. I am not dressing to impress anyone - I just want to be comfortable and respectful of traditions there.
I think it is also ultra important to have some down time - time where nothing is planned. So, if you want to just sit on a bench and people watch, converse, or have an ice cream cone or whatever the local treat is, you can. Often times I have found that the best days of traveling are the ones that I had no plans, went with the flow, and ran into some really cool things!
So, as I get ready to embark on my next Sacred Journey, help send us off with a little prayer and good blessings for safe and easy-going travel! And I hope that maybe next time that you might consider traveling with me!
In Love & Light
|One of the ancient cities we will visit outside of Bangkok is Ayuttaya, a little section of shown here.|