This is Mia. We were each other's +1's for the wedding weekend. We had so much fun together as she is wonderful and the best hostess ever. Along with Erin--the lovely bride--she was the closest volunteer to me in the Peace Corps. Hanging out with her brings back so many memories of a very poignant and odd chapter of my life. Living and working in Peru was deeply humbling for me and my heart often aches for the experience of living there, even though other parts of me would never really choose it again. Traveling together and celebrating this momentous occasion for our friend reconnected me to my spirit in some cool ways.
Travel tip #1: As often as you can, visit old friends. Important conversations and real connections come out over an extended period of time. Take a long car ride together, watch a sunset in a beautiful local, say the thing you haven't been able to say to anyone else. You're hanging out with them and you're also hanging out with those parts of yourself that may have taken the backseat in your life lately. Enjoy that and then seal it all in with a dynamite selfie.
After a long flight, I woke up on Friday morning in Santa Cruz at Mia's lovely apartment. I was on East Coast time so was up early to tongue scrape, drink warm water, meditate. Then she made us poached eggs and greens and single-origin coffee with coconut/hemp milk. We talked about her trip to Africa and my coaching business and played each other our newest favorite songs. After we walked along the coastline, watching seabirds and drinking in the salty air. By the time we got in the car to to drive to Yosemite we were relaxed, taken care of, ready.
Travel tip #2: As much as you can, replicate your daily routines on vacation. They will be shorter, funnier, more social but they will also make you feel balanced. Exercise is important so walk when you can. Also deviate a little bit. I don't drink much coffee in DC but love to indulge when I travel. This makes me life feel less rigid and the travel times feel more special.
My friend Erin and her now hubby Garrett were married in Yosemite. El Capitan was the backdrop. So amazing! The bridge and groom asked us to not photograph the ceremony, which I loved. I've taken photographs for so long (many of them at weddings) and feel that it really does take me away from a moment. And sometimes it takes me deeper into a moment as I look for the most beautiful part of a scene. It depends.
Travel tip #3: Notice how you are using photography when you travel. Are you escaping the moment or going deeper into it? I think a lot of overuse of cell phone cameras comes from people not knowing what to do with the big awesome energy of a great concert or beautiful vista or touching wedding. If you are reaching for your camera by reflex, first take a few moments to just be present and see, feel, hear without agenda. Then take a few pictures if you like. My guess is that they'll turn out better.
Gorgeous wedding table set-up. Mia and I showed up in Yosemite without much of a plan. After early morning pre-wedding yoga with the bride, we were given coffee and put to work on arranging the wedding bouquets. I've never arranged a bouquet like that before but it was fun, collaborative and made me feel like a definite part of the festivities.
Travel tip #4: Stay open and look for opportunities to help. Traveling means change which brings up the vata element (which can make us feel anxious and insecure when it goes out of balance). Keeping some kind of morning routine, unpacking my bags right away and staying hydrated all help me to keep calm and grounded. What really helps is feeling a part of a community, especially when I can be of service. I love helping in the kitchen, serving food and now arranging flowers. It's helpful to my hosts but also way helpful to soothe my own jangling travel nerves.
This is my current travel day outfit. A long black dress that my mom wore when she was in her 20's, a scarf from the George Ave Thrift and a jean jacket (another gift from my mom). It's layered and comfy and doesn't bunch or wrinkle. Also I feel nice it in and the repetition of wearing the same comfy outfit when I travel helps to calm my vata. I also have a killer backpack these days which is saving my shoulders from laptop weight. I highly recommend.
Travel tip #5: Especially for a weekend outing, plan out every outfit you'll wear as you pack. Make sure they are clothes that you love and are weather appropriate. Ask yourself "what if I get cold?" "could I do yoga in this?" "what if the dinner is fancy?". Consider shoes, jewelry, make-up. Force yourself to make decisions and commit to your choices. Then pack extra underwear. This sounds "duh" but I didn't do it for a long time and never felt great upon arrival. Having my clothing set helps me to relax and even feel a little cute in the process.
Bonus tip: Have fun. Do yoga poses where you are feeling them. Spend time in the elements. Treat yourself and your travel buddies. Feel grateful to be able to move around in this beautiful world in so many cool ways amidst so many great people.