"You're going to 8 countries in 7 weeks, alone?! You're crazy Hannah!" People say.
"I know," I reply with an archaic smile.
I know that many other people in this world could do this trip, but would they want to?
I believe that I was meant to go on this trip. One of my favorite, most inspiring mantras is a quote by Swami Rama. He imparts, "You are the architect of your spiritual life. Be brave. The brave alone enjoy the world. Enjoy the world by living in the here and now."
What would your special and unique trip around the world look like?
How do you live in the now?
I'm waiting here at LAX about to embark on the most epic adventure of my life thus far.
I feel calm and confident. I've created my detailed itinerary, packed all the essentials, found coverage for work and a pet sitter for my kitty. I've done my part in preparation, now I'm leaving the rest to the Universe to guide and surprise me.
In yoga hatha philosophy, our will represents the front side of our body and the Divine Universe represents our back. Yoga teaches us to find a balance and listen to our bodies. When we strengthen our core, we support our back as well. Likewise, when we need to find an equal balance between doing our part through willpower and trusting in the Universe for the rest.
I know that I was meant to do this trip. Every trip that I've experienced has lead me to feel prepared for this journey. I know I can handle 19 different flights because I've flown over 4,000 times during my flight attendant career. I know that I don't have to worry about impure water becauce my Life Straw will keep my water clean as it did on the trek to Machu Picchu. I know how to treat the blisters on my feet from the treacherous Trans-Catalina Trail. I know that I can hike for two weeks straight with a heavy backpack because I did almost 250 miles of the Camino de Santiago in 2014. I know that I can scale high altitudes because I reached over 17,000 feet at the Salkantay Pass in Peru and submitted the highest peak in the contiguous U.S., Mt. Whitney.
Like the pyramids of Teotihucan, I'm excited to explore the Pyramids of Giza. I have been exposed to poverty in cities in Mexico, so I hope that will prepare me for New Delhi. I've attended silent buddhist retreats at Mountain Center and that will prepare me for buddhist temples and tea houses. I've lead full weekend yoga retreats, so I feel prepared for teaching at the International Yoga Convention in Amorgos, Greece.
So why 8 countries in 7 weeks?
It started as a journey to India, the yoga mecca and motherland. I want to see how yoga is practiced there, with a spiritual angle verses the athletic style that is mostly taught in the western world. I'm curious about the colors, sounds, chants, and silence. I'm also hungry to meet other yogis from around the world and learn how their styles are different as well. I found that Rishikesh is the yoga capital of India, and therefore the world, as it hosts an annual International Yoga Festival from March 1-8. This city is considered holy, as the Ganges runs through alcohol and meat of any kind are forbidden.
I also want to fly in a few days early to tour some of the historical sites, like the Taj Mahal and film a yoga video at an Ancient India site. A couple of years ago I decided that it was a goal of mine to record and Ancient Civilizations yoga video course on location, so I'm going to start here.
As I was looking into flights and time off, I thought that since I love an intense hiking adventure and I will be so close to the Himalayas, I might as well sign up for the 15-day trek to Everest Base Camp, 19,000 feet! March-May and September-October are the best times to go, so this looks like perfect timing. I joined a group from March 10-25.
Then, I received an invitation to teach at the International Yoga Convention in Amorgos, Greece from April 5-11 I'm so excited to stay at this spiritual island and stunning 5 star resort while making new friends with yogis and learning more about sound healing, subtle bodies, yoga nidra, etc. Learn more at www.elysiaconvention.com (save 50% if you use the code HFELYSIA by March 6th). Then I realized that I can also record another yoga video at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Yes! Two out of the five videos will be done.
At first I thought that maybe this was too much. How can I afford to take this much time off work, 7 weeks? Then I asked the Universe to send me a sign so that I know I'm supposed to do this.
As I started looking into the flights, I noticed that I can have a 15-hour layover in China and 11 hours in Egypt!!! OMG, I might be able to film this entire Ancient World Civilizations Yoga Course in one trip. I felt goosebumps as this concept surfaced. I felt a true alignment with my purpose. Everything is falling into place.
Since I have 10 days in between the trek and the convention, this is an awesome opportunity to check off some more must see destinations on my dream list: explore jungles full of Buddhist temples in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, climb and kayak around the limestone cliff islands at Krabi, and explore the Grand Palace of Bangkok.
After my near death experience running from a train last summer, I decided read Gabby Berstein's book, The Universe Has Your Back. I've been learning the importance of trusting in the divine plan. The Universe puts obstacles in our way to help us grow and become stronger. Every struggle that we face is an assignment. How often do we let go of the ego and choose Love, the divine connection. She declares, "To truly say yes to the love of the Universe means you have to look at your resistance and give up a thought system that you mistakenly identified as safety, security, and the foundation of your life." For me, traveling strengthens this kind of trust as I have to leave behind my home, friends, job, etc.
As Lao Tzu teaches, "Every journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step." This trip is no longer a dream hovering in the future. It is my present. I strive to soak up every moment of now.
I am truly grateful for the amount of savings that I can put towards this trip and the available credit that I have built over the years. If you enjoy reading this blog and you want to hear more, will you help to support this journey? Check out this video at www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/hannah-s-spiritual-experience-in-india-and-nepal
My heart melts from your warm donations!
I write this with love and extreme gratitude for all your prayers and safe wishes. I know the Universe has my back and has yours too when you choose love and trust.
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
My Paintings are now on Yoga Pants!
Fun Yoga in the Park
Travel the world with me through yoga!
These themed lessons are fun for all ages and levels at Mission Bay Park.
See the page, Park Yoga, for more information!
Lessons from Abroad