When Jenny suggested spending her birthday in Spain, I had no idea how we would afford such a trip, given our financial facts which included my decision to leave the business community and teach yoga for the last several years and Jenny’s continuing education, pursuing her doctorate in education, with an emphasis in Organization Change, our spending was reduced to necessities (what we need, not what we want). We were already living a simplified life with minimal income and expenses. We were not planning a vacation. We wanted a different way of living congruent with our core values.
It occurred to me that we could do volunteer work that might make travel affordable, trading our time for a bed and food. My first and only search was on Yoga Trade: Suryalila Yoga Retreat Centre in Andalucía, Spain. Within a short week or so, we heard back, Skype interview, and we’re in. We spent the most incredible three months doing so much more than we expected. The Suryalila job stated dish washing and clean up with general help in areas we may have experience.
We discovered an interest in sharing the Yoga Retreat Centre experience with the local community – a small town of 6,000 – Prado del Rey. Starting with 2 classes a week, one at the centre and one in town Jenny and I got local town people to translate and negotiate free space for the first community yoga class. Sundays in town and Wednesday evenings at the Centre with sunset and picnic options after. The first class was a huge success with over 30 at the Centre – many new to yoga!
While at Suryalila, we also provided a no cost yoga teacher training, coaching and support to individuals and Jenny provided business support and team leadership coaching to the Centre while helping to evaluate and install a new booking automated booking system.
Our efforts are over, for now, in Spain (90 day visa max) and we are working our way towards the Andaman Islands, India, (Thank you again Yoga Trade) sharing our knowledge of yoga, mindfulness and personal and business coaching with those who may benefit. Today, we are in Morocco teaching yoga at SurfMaroc (a Google search and several emails) and then the Andaman’s beginning November 1st pending work visa applications.
We left our home, our friends and families, to volunteer our time, experience and knowledge with others. We gave our possessions to family and friends who could make use, sold the car, and packed lightly with what was left. Clothing – mostly yoga. Although the days have been long, and the ambiguity of how we can keep this going longer is challenging, the experiences are incredible. Seeing the joy outside the United States that yoga and mindfulness training can bring to others is well beyond our initial beliefs.
Teaching others and teaching others to teach means more people will find moments of peacefulness in their lives – and the friendships we have developed will continue to spread this way of being around the world. We now have global relationships with too many to list, and invitations to keep up our efforts wherever we go including London, Dublin, Barcelona, Seville, Denmark, Washington DC, Italy, Austria and more. Traveling by foot, bus, rides from friends (Thank you* Javi), car loans (*Daniel, Harry, Thea & Gemma), travels to towns (*Emilio & Montse) to learn about local cultures, and by boat to Morocco – we are aware of our spending more than ever as getting from place to place is our major expense. We successfully launched a YouCaring fund raiser and are grateful to the friends that understand.
We have enjoyed the generosity and hospitably of many (*AJ, Lidiya & Paddy, David & Maria, Javi & his parents and many more) in efforts to keep sharing our mission to live a simpler life of service.
The road is our home for now.
Some of the unexpected: Warren did not plan on wearing out a pair of shoes in 3 months; riding the grape picker at sundown in the vineyard (*Mila!) Javi’s dog eating a kilo of the best Granada chorizo – tin foil and all – that we received as a gift (*Angel); Warren almost blowing up the truck teaching *Emma how to drive a manual transmission (*apologies Suryalila), 30 people showing up for the 1st community class from the town of Prado del Rey and then other towns (Villamartin, El Bosque joining in); the generosity of so many (*Spanish people and immigrants); translation from so many including *Anja Dibbert, Academia Pradoventura Language School and her introductions to new yogi’s from around the world!! Jenny dancing like she was meant to . . . and so much more.
Sharing his personal experience with individuals & groups, Warren teaches yoga & meditation. His role with Sersano Wellness delivers Stress Management Programs to businesses promoting a Whole Person Approach: Meet people where they are & begin from there.