We’re all yearning for a life that means something. Too many of us are stuck in jobs that drain our emotional and physical energy. We hoard vacation days, dreaming of the next wonderful trip to the next wonderful place. Perhaps you’ve always loved traveling and experiencing new sights, sounds and cultures. Or perhaps you moved around a lot as a kid and still feel the pull of the wide world calling to you. A life that includes all your dream travel destinations is possible, now more than ever before. Living and working abroad is not only attainable but becoming more socially accepted as people continue to strive for work-life balance.
And just because you love to wander, it doesn’t mean you’re not grounded.
Seek Your Bliss
Constantly searching for what makes you happy doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you human. We weren’t put on this planet to suffer. We’re meant to live a life full of joy, friendships, endless adventure, and beautiful experiences. This doesn’t mean there won’t be heartbreak and stress along the way. But it’s all part of the journey to mold us into who we were meant to be.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you always go to the same places and do the same things, the only thing you’ll learn is how to learn to hate the place you once loved. Having favorite places is wonderful and a fun way to relive old memories, but if you never venture any further you won’t know how far you can go. Write down a list of places that you think are fascinating, even intimidating. Think big, then think bigger! If your list doesn’t scare you just a tiny bit, you’re limiting yourself. The bigger you can dream, the more rewarding the experience will be when it arrives. Now take that big destination bucket list and GO!
Put Down (Internal) Roots
Living a nomadic life can be all at once exhilarating and draining. As you embark on your life’s next journey, make sure you have some internal roots established. This can mean a consistent prayer or devotional practice, a grounded yoga practice, or any other means that help you stay centered in our fast-paced world. This groundedness will be tested on your journey. The thing that has always kept you centered may feel like it fails you at one point (or many times). But it will also be the thing that can keep you on track. Coming back to the mat can help you feel at home on the beach, in the jungle, on a boat or in the desert. Setting aside a few moments for prayer or meditation can allow you to create a more open heart to whatever experience comes next. If your internal roots run deep, there is no limit to how tall your spirit can grow into your life.
Learn and Grow
Speaking of growth, you’ll never be the person you thought you set out to be. And this is perfectly ok. Journeys, no matter how far or near, long or short, always teach us about ourselves. You may find the love of your life along the path. You may lose that love. You could end up with your dream job, one that you never imagined having. Whatever the journey brings your way, know that it is all meant for your good. The universe works in ways that conspire to create a more meaningful and fulfilling life for each of us. You’ll do the most evolving you’ve ever experienced on the road, but that evolution will be the greatest experience of your life. It is the experience of life.
Living abroad stops becoming “abroad” if you’re never in one place for too long. You become a true global citizen. You’ll cultivate an appreciation for small luxuries and comforts, but become stronger for the things you’ll learn to live without. You’ll see the world through eyes that aren’t new, but wiser. Seeking the good in every situation, learning the lessons set before you and “earning your stripes” as a wanderer will change the way you look at life. It’s the only one you’ll be given, so if your soul is calling you to go, who are you to stop?
Sara Sherman is a freelance writer, yogi and accidental island girl living on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Contact Sara via her website at www.SaraMSherman.com, and read more about her island adventures at www.IslandersFromIowa.com
After an epic El Niño sunset surf session in Santa Barbara, I decided to wind down with some yoga. Being new to area I ventured to the DiviniTree studio having no expectations. It was there I met the inspiring souls of James and his partner Krista who were in town preparing for Lucidity Festival. James was subbing the class I attended, and in that moment it was just what I needed. Come to find out, we all have a lot in common; enjoying a life of purpose and growth while living nomadically and home free. Grateful for the opportunity to catch up with James as he shares some of his insights, knowledge, and experience as a roaming yoga teacher…
Cover Photo: Setareh Vatan Photography
What life events led you to become a traveling yogi?
I became a traveling yogi out of a desire to participate in creative opportunities and fun adventures that present themselves, from festivals and snowboarding, to workshops and exploring new places. Instead of spending a lot of time working to pay rent and having to say no to invitations to create and engage with life, I chose to open my world and hit the road. It didn’t make sense to be paying rent somewhere I wouldn’t be at half of the time anyway, and I wanted to experience more freedom and availability for projects, people and spontaneity. Living nomadically means following my path and being in the flow. I’ve realized if you give space, have trust and allow, there is so much potential for life to show up for you, things reveal themselves if you give them time.
What has allowed you to continue to live nomadically?
I am able to be a nomad by needing little, being frugal, having lots of community support and continuously developing relationships and skills. There are great resources already in place to experience the world “outside the box”, such as Craigslist rideshare, couch-surfing, Yoga Trade and mostly having a strong network of others who live alternative life-styles, including yogis, festival goers, earth guardians, and those not seduced by the typical American Dream, of consumption or ownership through acquiring debt. After all, it’s all borrowed anyway, the more things you own, the more your things own you.
What are the benefits of being a nomadic yoga teacher?
I am free to follow my intuition and be guided by Spirit because I’m not committed to a job. It’s like having an “open relationship” with employers; we can work together, rather than me working for them. I have more opportunities for collaboration and co-creating events; offerings become more a choice than an “obligation”. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing people show up that I wouldn’t connect with if I was just staying at “home”. I don’t have a boss. I am empowered to share the message my way. I get to spread yoga, particularly yin, in different environments, like at studios and transformational festivals, to out-reach yoga through collaborating with organizations, like teaching yoga in prisons and free yoga in the park. Creating different events and offerings stretches my creative and organizations skills.
Another benefit of being a nomadic yoga teacher is my expenses are low, which allows my life-style to be sustainable; I make decisions based on inspiration, creativity and choice rather than finances. I have the opportunity to enjoy fun free activities and experiences, like going to the beach, park or a hike, and being able to say yes to things that arise. People wonder what they’ll do when they don’t have a job, but consider all the things that show up that you have to say no to because you have to go work. I love the freedom to explore and say yes, to connect and share inspiration.
Any hardships you deal with being a nomadic yoga teacher?
It’s more challenging to create certain types of routine, you have to be more innovative, creative and have foresight with things like food, laundry, showers and basic necessities that are easily provided with a home. Also, like in most industries or careers, it is easier to build students (clients/customers) when you are still and consistent. I have been able to build a student population that appreciates my teachings and respects my life-style choices. Everything takes more work when it is a single offer; creating titles and descriptions, negotiating price and percentages, scheduling and marketing. When you are a teacher that has regular classes it is more of a routine to go to work.
There’s a challenge for me with some people because when they know I am transient, they are less inclined to engage with me, be vulnerable or build relationships. Some people have trouble comprehending where you live when you’re a nomad and there can be judgments from that. On the other hand, I meet a lot of folks who are inspired and interested, they share my excitement and love to be connected to what I’m doing. I’ve learned my quality time with people is often better because I’m either coming or going, there is a recognition the time we spend together is valuable, maybe because of it’s rarity.
How does your partnership with a fellow yoga teacher inspire your teachings and life?
My partnership with KristaLove is inspiring because of the level of accountability we hold. We are committed to honesty, transparency, authenticity and clear communication. We support each other to continue to practice this way of being in our partnership and other realms of life. We are in an Open-Relationship; for us this means rather than denying our thoughts and feelings to ourselves or hiding them from each other, we openly share what we are thinking and feeling, and openly receive the other’s thoughts and feelings without reaction and with compassion.
Our relationship is uplifting because we share similar aspirations, particularly in spreading the power of yoga. We share values of how we want to live in the world, dietary practices and a commitment to enhancing our individual connections to Spirit.
I enjoy witnessing Krista’s growth in her practice and teachings. I love receiving her teachings because I know she has intelligent sequencing and a deep knowing of the practice that comes from years of experience. Krista reinforces my alignment with myself, in my asana practice and in romantic partnership. We create opportunities to unpack life, to be curious together and to teach each other things we’ve learned before we were in partnership; it’s amazing to be a teacher and a student for each other. A perspective we both share of partnership is the chance to have a mirror, someone to hold a clear reflection to receive and integrate feedback. We love having fun, sharing emotional and physical intimacy, and celebrating personal and collective growth. We choose to see relationship as spiritual practice, a space for true presence, a catalyst for healing and growth. Even if there are moments we need space from each other, we give that space to support the Love that is there.
Implementing partner yoga as part of our practice has been a potent avenue to assist and support each other. Our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage goes beyond yoga for both of us; it incorporates the necessity and benefits of touch and affection. Krista’s interest in conscious sexuality and responsible relationships has allowed me to reflect on how little people get touch, particularly outside of family or romantic relationships. As affection advocates, we are inspired to create a culture of affection and connection. We’ve learned platonic and romantic touch and affection support our health and well being, the neurochemistry of affection is fascinating! Check out our blog “Home Free Yogis” to learn more. I love being a Yoga Ambassador with her, co-facilitating workshops, assisting each other’s classes and educating others on how to teach yoga safely, effectively and creatively.
Tell us more about your current projects…
One of my biggest callings and passions is being a Yin Yoga Ambassador, spreading the transformational power of yin yoga, along with teaching many other styles of yoga. I have multiple offerings for sharing yin yoga, from specialty seasonal classes, introductory workshops for those new to yin or wanting to learn more, and teacher trainings that concentrate on sequencing, meridians and creating well-balanced classes.
My partner Krista and I are excited to share our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage. This practice uses the power of yin yoga to open and balance the body and move chi, while applying elements of Thai Yoga Massage to increase stimulation and enhance the practitioner’s experience by supporting their unique shape. An important element of Yin Yoga Massage is sharing touch through teaching people to assist and massage each other with compassion.
I am also thrilled to be a collaborator with YogiTunes, an affordable online resource for yoga teachers and studio owners to play conscious music, with the profits going directly to artists because the rights are owned by the organization (which is becoming more of an issue as far as legality of rights and playing music in classes). I am a YogiTunes DJ with multiple themed playlists made by incredible producers and musicians I find inspiring.
I am the creator of the Sac-Sierra Yoga Pass, a multi-studio passport good for a single drop-in at over 40 studios from the Sacramento area to Lake Tahoe. This was inspired by my desire to create a bridge for the yoga community to share offerings, rather than being competitive or individually business-minded.
Another major collaborative project I’m a part of is Lucidity Festival, a transformational gathering in its 5th year in the hills of Santa Barbara, CA. The folks who produce the event are raising the bar as far as conscious festival production. I am inspired by their integrated way of working together which is highly effective and forward thinking with the systems in place for alternative conflict resolution to help the community thrive. They are moving towards larger aspirations, including and not limited to, supporting artists and artisans, offering alternative education opportunities, acquiring and creating sustainable community and shared land projects. Festivals are a play-ground for experimentation as we move towards re-establishing a village. Lucidity is an incredible experiment I am grateful to be a part of.
And I am always seeking ways to continue to network the yoga highway as a yoga ambassador, through supporting transformational festivals, conscious artists and continuing to share and teach. I’m excited for upcoming creations, like downloadable yoga classes and Yin DVD’s to reach a broader audience and more!
Why do you think we are seeing more wellness events and yoga as an aspect at transformational gatherings?
Transformational gatherings by nature are supporting people’s conscious evolution through personal and collective transformation. This culture is growing because people are acknowledging they want more out of a gathering than just a party. There is a genuine desire to connect and experience community. There are more spaces for elders to come and teach, and for families with children to experience music, art, education and creative expression. This demonstrates a recognition that community means multiple generations and lenses of perspective.
Wellness offerings are increasing at festivals as well as contributions in art, yoga, massage, permaculture & sustainability, do-it-yourself workshops, professional education, and a more holistic understanding of intimacy and relationships through offerings and human relationships. These festivals are a space to re-establish the village, the collective perspective. The stereotypical options we are given by mainstream culture are less attractive to people. We are waking up to the knowing that there are more options than what we’ve been told, rejecting the limited view of ways to be, and awakening to their authentic, unique and creative truths.
Who or what have been your greatest teachers?
Reading the Tao Te Ching has been one of my greatest teachers. This simple yet profound text encourages a contemplative way of being, to be a witness and observer of life. It gives examples of the watery, fluid like quality of existence, and I try to use that example in my life by creating fluidity and freedom.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen monk and international peace activist, revealed to me the Truth behind Buddha’s message on the lack of independent origination, he calls it inter-being, which means nothing arose independently, nothing is isolated. Everything you identify with has been influenced by others or something before you, you are connected to everything in the realm of form: physical, thought energetic, emotion. And we are all one in Spirit.
Finally, my puppy Stitch is one of my favorite teachers because he take nothing personally, is unconditionally loving, is happy to see every living thing he comes into contact with and his natural disposition is to be playful and curious.
Life and its series of trial and error, pitfalls and successes, has taught me that as you move with your own flow, sometimes against the current of “traditional culture”, truth will always support you.
If you could share one sentence that the whole world would see, what would it be…
Trust your Intuition.
Anything else you would like us to share…
Festival culture, collaborating in the yoga world and learning about sustainability, and conscious relating allow me avenues to be a bridge builder and thread weaver, to create a more supported, connected and authentic world. I invite you to step into your unique expression of life and do what you love and are called to. It is through this that you will offer your best to yourself, humanity and our planet.
James Kapicka is a yoga ambassador and event producer with a passion for bringing together community in a way that supports acceptance and forgiveness as we learn to evolve as beings. Through sincere and heartfelt expression, he creates an environment that empowers students to stay in their integrity and trust their intuition. James offers sacred ceremonies intended to facilitate personal growth and healing through the unconditionally giving of authentic self in a way that protects innocence and promotes creative play and expression. His classes, workshops, and events center on profound re-evolutionary change both within and in how we exist in society and in our relationship with Mother Earth.
I first became aware of The Yoga Nomads when I read this super resourceful article for yoga teachers. It is no secret that the nomadic yogi lifestyle is continuing to gain momentum and it is inspiration from people like this that make it just a little bit easier for some of us to take the first step toward following a dream. What is super unique about The Yoga Nomads is that they are able to live this lifestyle together. They have found a balanced flow in a way that compliments each other. Soak up this knowledge, wisdom, and brilliance. Meet Anne and Brandon:
How did you two meet?
We met in corporate sales selling software for Oracle just over 5 years ago! We started our jobs at the same time and ended up in the same training team. One of our very first conversations was about traveling.
What was the catalyst that made you quit your jobs to create a life of travel?
It’s safe to say not ONE thing, but many, helped us to make the shift to a location independent lifestyle. A big catalyst certainly was yoga teacher training. We both completed 9-week programs (not at the same time) that undoubtedly helped us understand more about ourselves and what we were capable of as individuals. Just shortly after Anne graduated from her teacher training program, she lost her job for the third time in a row. Rather than settling for another unfulfilling career in corporate America, we began the conversation of traveling the world. The Yoga Nomads was born one night over pizza and beer and we bought our 1-way tickets to India soon after feeling hopeful and fearless.
How do you practice yoga off the mat?
The beauty of yoga is the ability to practice anywhere, anytime! In the last week I noticed a few great opportunities… staying calm during hour traffic, being fully present while on the phone with our parents, and even mindfully walking the dogs. Staying present and acting with intention is the goal of yoga off the mat.
Can you give us some tips on how to maintain healthy eating habits, sustainability, and personal practice while traveling?
Drinking enough water (with lemon!) is a top priority in maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling. If we aren’t hydrated properly, everything else doesn’t function at it’s maximum potential. On that note, we always travel with our own water bottles so we aren’t contributing to more waste. It’s incredibly easy (and cheap!) to eat local because markets are everywhere you go. This helps us to eat healthy because we fill up on fruits and vegetables for snacks.
Thankfully, all the space we need for a personal practice is our travel yoga mat! Even in crowded accommodations, we are easily able to roll out our mat and practice some asanas. We hold each other accountable to practicing regularly, and always seek out studios in new cities.
Do you have a home base? Or are you always on the road?
Our home base is Minneapolis, MN. It is where we both grew up and where our families still reside. Currently, we are in the process of launching a new venture, Shift_Space, so we are home for the meantime, but will be traveling again soon.
Shift_Space creates temporary communities of remote workers and entrepreneurs who live, work, and play together in exotic places. Essentially we rent out an entire resort, turn it into a modern workspace, and then fill it with like minded people.
When you come back to the U.S. after traveling, do you ever experience challenges integrating back into “regular” life? How do you embrace this?
Absolutely. Reverse culture shock is a very real thing after spending significant time away. We are comforted in knowing we have gained a wider perspective on the greater picture and find solace in having each other for support. Together, we try to maintain habits we’ve adopted from the road and continue to connect with others who have experienced something similar.
Do you think you will be traveling like this 10 years from now?
No doubt in our minds. Travel will always be a part of our lifestyles, however the frequency will ebb and flow depending on life circumstances. But it will always be a priority.
What are you most passionate about right now?
Creating a lifestyle that allows us the flexibility and freedom to live exactly how we want to each and every day. This will come from a place of authenticity and living our highest truth.
Anne and Brandon are an American couple who left their corporate jobs to travel and teach/practice yoga around the world. They run TheYogaNomads.com to help others do the same. They also create temporary communities of entrepreneurs and remote workers who live, work, and play together in exotic locations around the world at Shift_Space.
Follow The Yoga Nomads on:
Have you ever dreamed about living in a van down by the river? Here is a little inspiration to follow that dream. Meet Holly Gable. Holly, her boyfriend Angus, and their dog Jella are ‘Making It Up As We Go Along‘ while living, loving, and learning in their home-on-wheels.
“Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.” – Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Where are you currently? What are you most passionate about today?
How did you and Angus meet?
Tell us about your yoga journey and tips on keeping up personal practice while traveling.
That was in January, and since then we’ve been back on the road in our home-on-wheels. Keeping up a personal practice while traveling has sometimes seemed hard, surrounded by uneven, muddy ground, only enough space in the van for a few seated postures… And sometimes easy, in homes, yurts, forest huts, fields, at river-sides, fire-sides and sea-sides. But the most important lesson I’ve learnt, is that rather than to feel disheartened at not finding space to do a sun salutation without hitting a wall or slipping face-first into a clay-pit, is to instead remind myself that to practice asana is to practice just a part of yoga; When yoga is recognized as a lifestyle, every moment becomes an opportunity for practicing.
How do you practice sustainable living while on the road?
We spend most of our time on work-exchange projects around Europe, exchanging our help for food and living space, and having wonderfully rich, fulfilling experiences in different cultures, communities, natural building and self-sufficient living. We’re trying to discover ways of living that aren’t dominated by money and capitalism, where value is put upon gift and exchange to deepen inter-personal connection and equality. We create objects from recycled materials and waste plastic from the beach, which we sell online a pay-what-you-can-afford basis, and we forage as much food as we can from the wild, and supermarket bins!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Using the inspiration and skills we’ve gained from our journeys, we hope to build a home and to create a space, from natural and recycled materials: a space for sharing what we have learned, for yoga, for creativity, for living surrounded by nature, and hopefully for many other things we don’t yet know! We would like to put emphasis on providing for those with learning difficulties or disabilities and/or past trauma. After working at art workshops for individuals with learning difficulties and disabilities, we feel very strongly about the empowering benefits of creativity, and want to combine this with the quiet yet tremendous healing potential of yoga as a lifestyle.
What inspires you most?