Happy October! Six months have passed since I quit my job and started traveling. I owe many thanks to everyone who helped make the last six months possible. Thank you for your couches, spare rooms, homemade meals, and glasses of wine….for all your generosity that collectively made my adventure possible. I learned that life’s best pleasures are the simple ones: friends, authentic conversation, and the occasional circus trick 🙂
My trip started with four days in Istanbul, Turkey. I stayed with a young couple and their 9-month old baby. They fed me so well I hardly needed a second let alone third meal most days. I loved playing with their son, Şan, a pure delight.
Thank you, Amanda and Stefan for hosting me in Zurich, Switzerland where I received their full support both before and after sitting for 10 days in silence. Your love and support have always helped me through life’s challenges.
I shared a three-week French adventure with my college friend, Julie. We met another Gettysburg grad, Brittany, in southern France and had a wonderful stay with her and the family she works for as an au pair. In northern France we had delicious meals, plenty fleur de sel, and a crazy dance party with Cedric and Amelie. In Paris and Bordeaux we stayed with friends of friends who love to travel and gave great advice—thanks Hannah and Mahaut.
After France, I nested with my favorite people in Madrid, Spain: Carmen and Raquel. Days included siestas and nights of yoga followed by tapas, cañas, and live music. A perfect place to celebrate my birthday and the beginning of a 200 mile pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago!
Then I trekked for 14 days through Galicia, Spain and northern Portugal where I met dozens of new faces every day on the Camino de Santiago. To everyone I met: thank you for the company, conversations, Band-Aids, and encouragement.
After a few more cañas in Madrid I flew to Rome, Italy where I was met by friends and family including the lovely woman and friend who created and manages this site for me! I loved our endless wine and pasta nights Cecilia, Lyana, Mom, and Betsey.
Keeping in mind EU visa rules, I left Europe for Tel Aviv where I reunited with Marcela and Yair, friends I met in Guatemala. Though times were tense, they helped make sure I got to see both Israel and Palestine. In Israel I had the pleasure of spending a week at the kibbutz where Yair grew up. A huge thanks to Yair’s mom and brother who made me feel at home there.
A week in Jerusalem introduced me to even more people and places. I met a comedian/law-student and we tried a famous hummus shop. I shared conversation, a meal, and yoga with Yaara and her friends. I stayed with a family in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter where I learned new recipes and ate amazing food. I joined a group of travelers to hike Masada at sunrise and bathe in the Dead Sea at noon. I met many new friends during my time in Jerusalem which helped me see the city in different ways.
Then I went to Ramallah, Palestine for the last week of Ramadan. The first night my new housemates and I waited for the sun to set before making the biggest burger I’ve ever eaten! I have so many special memories from my time there including long conversations with Hadeel sharing experiences living in our respective countries, dating, and art and architecture.
I found my late-night friends at Ramzi’s house and even when he left for Europe his friends kept coming over, hanging out at La Grotta, and teaching me circus tricks. Thank you Maria for welcoming mi corazon latino to Ramallah. Thank you Marlane and Koaibah your enthusiasm for yoga and sharing it with your community. Thank you Jackson and Kevin, for trusting me and for coming to Ramallah to share the experience with me.
Back in the USA, the gifts continued on couch after couch in northern California, Highway 1, southern California, Boston and NYC. Thank you Natalie, Dan, Lydia, Jacob, Brian, Carbone’s Bar and Kitchen, Trevor, Ali and housemates, Hilary, Binh, Sarah, Reza, Jamie, Erick, Danielle, and Sam for sharing this journey with me and making it possible.
I often ask my students to dedicate their practice to something they are grateful for. When we call on gratitude we remember all we already have is enough. When I remember what I’m grateful for whatever issues I brought to the mat are left there and replaced with thankfulness and a new desire to give back.
I will return to DC in mid-October and continue to share yoga with others, giving back what the practice has given me.