The Art Of Staying Put: How World Traveler Yogis Can Tap into Their Skills to Survive COVID-19 Confinement

Like a row of dominos you accidentally start, country after country around the world have made decisions we never thought possible: they are urging us to stay home for the good of all and have closed their borders.

For once, those of us who usually have the privilege to travel around the world freely, in search of new experiences, work, and play, have to remain in one place. We have had to make our own decisions and ask, with a new sense of panic, concern, or necessary cold-headedness: Where to now?

For a lot of people, the underlying organization required to set up for a stay at home of an unknown duration at home requires little energy, at least at first. Sure, apparently hoarding on toilet paper was a thing to worry about. In the west, many headed to the supermarket to stock up on basic necessities, picked a friend to spend the confinement with, and even a location where to spend. But the rest was pretty straight-forward as long as you have a roof over your head you call home.

The privileged yogi nomads and travelers of our earth have not had it all that straightforward. We’ve had to ask ourselves what to do if our home countries decided to close its borders—do we go back now? Where to, exactly? We’ve had to ask around if our home countries would offer repatriation, and, considering our options, if it would be okay to refuse a potential offer. Where is home when you’ve been on the road for a while, hopping from country to country in search of work and life experiences? What kind of work can I do now that I’m not allowed to move anymore? Where will I get my income from once my current job ends? Will the owners of the Yoga Farm kick me out?

And do you even have to stay in confinement when the country you’re currently in… doesn’t really have one in place yet?

Feel Your Feelings—Navigating The Grief of Cancelled Travel Plans

Once you’ve somewhat figured out the practical side of things and decided where you’d remain for a bit, reality hits. Airlines have emailed to say your flights were cancelled. The yoga studio you were supposed to work at in your next destination isn’t able to receive you anymore. The friends you were going to take a trip with are heading home. Travel plans are cancelled, and you suddenly have an empty calendar.

I’m a slow traveler myself and prefer to stay in one country for a while before I move on to the next. In the beginning, when confinement rules started popping up here in China, I wasn’t too worried about my next travel plans. The situation would get better, and we’d be able to hop on a train to keep exploring China in no time.

Well, not quite. Next week, friends were supposed to fly in to visit Shanghai, and we were going to take a trip somewhere to the mountains. I have a list of places I’d like to visit around China—Tibet, the “Avatar” mountains (Zhangjiajie), Hong Kong for a Vipassana meditation retreat. Everything is canceled until further notice, and it has come with disappointment.

So right now, it’s okay to be sad, and yes, grieve. We will get used to the new normal, eventually, but it’s okay to take some time to feel the sadness, the disappointment, the anger even. The rest will come when it does.

The Wonderful Skills of A World Traveler Yogi

World traveler yogis have more than one trick up their sleeve. Exploring the globe comes with its set of challenges, and when you’re on the other side of the planet, away from familiarity and comfort, you have no other option but to go with it (with a little help from our friend, our yoga practice). Over time, you build the skill set to face the next challenges that will come—right now is one of these challenges. Let’s see how we can navigate this COVID-19 situation with ease.

Traveler yogis have, without a doubt, an incredible ability to adapt to new situations, places, faces, and atmosphere. Right now, we’re called to adapt to our new normal and to go with the flow. What has our yoga practice to teach us here? How can it support us to navigate new rules, new settings, new obstacles? We’ve done it time and time again—now is as good a time as any to rely on that skill.

Online communication
Some of us have years of experience making long-distance relationships work through video calls, regular emailing, and photo sharing. Some of us might even remember the times when emailing or bad internet connection on Skype were the only options available. Now, with dozens of calling platforms, social media, and an internet connection available in all corners of the world, it’s easier than ever to check in with loved ones, and even play games together, even miles apart from each other. Let’s make the most of that possibility!

If you want to travel the world in search of new experiences, there’s no way you’ll find what you need by staying put and watching time pass by. You have to get out there, reach out to people, make new connections, come up with a plan, find a balance between what the world is saying you do and what your gut is telling you to do. Right now, how can your ability to problem-solve and find a way to get what you most long for help you with your current situation? How can you feel in control rather than like you’ve lost your freedom?

Compassion and empathy
Traveling isn’t just a way to discover new places, you discover new cultures, new ways of life, and learn from the countries that so kindly open their doors to us. For once, we see how it feels to be refused entrance to another country. We also think of the people who spend more of their time outside all over the Asian and African continents, while we are cozied up in our homes. How we cultivate our compassion towards the populations who have it more difficult than we do? And how is this changing our perspective?

All Things Are Temporary

If there’s one thing we learn by traveling the globe and having a yoga practice, it is that things never really last. Emotions come and go, landscapes come and go. Nature reminds us that every time a new season comes and goes, and every yogi will agree that our yoga practice evolves the same way, urging us to respond to our needs and desires in the moment.

May we all remember this right now, and that we can rely on ourselves, our mats and meditation cushions, nature around us, and our loved ones across the globe to go through this. It won’t last forever, and sooner than later, we’ll have to adapt to yet another new normal.

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!




Ely is a slow traveler and location independent entrepreneur. She is a digital content creator and the co-founder of Shut Up & Yoga, an online magazine that aims to bring humor and critical thinking to the worlds of yoga, wellness, and personal development. She is a curious bee and loves to experiment with different outlets and media to explore her mind, move, breathe, learn, and play. If you travel to Shanghai, her current home, you might find her squatting down trying to chat with the local street cats…



Not All Who Wander Are Lost: How To Create A Life of Endless Adventure

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

lynne5If 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 11653243_10200457745023583_1753905419_nourselves. 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.


Never Stop

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, and read more about her island adventures at