I remember the first time I returned back to the States after being away for an extended period of time.
I had been gone for 2 years before I came back to try to settle back into a “normal” work and home life.
It was excruciating.
In the two years that I was gone, I’d lived in both Kenya and Indonesia.
Wifi was’t readily available in that era, so other than the once a week trip to the shoddy internet cafe in town (which was 45 minutes away, mind you)- I had also been disconnected virtually, as well.
As you can imagine, my inner world changed immensely during this time.
And, when I came back to the States and saw that everyone and everything was more or less the same- I felt completely isolated and had a really hard time adjusting back to a pace and way of life that I’d since forgotten.
Integrating back into “real” life post Ayahuasca is kind of like this.
Although I can say without a doubt that my Aya retreat at Nimea Kaya has changed my life for the better- I also think it’s important to paint the entire picture of the experience, rather than romanticizing it into something it’s not.
My ceremonies untangled deep traumas, and offered an abundance of wisdom, truth, and downloads- which was insanely liberating.
However, integrating these new realizations into my regular, 3D human experience was another task altogether.
I’ve met a lot of people who are nervous to try Aya, not because of the trip or purge- but because of the aftermath.
I’ve had friends tell me they were afraid that they’d find out their partner wasn’t the right one for them, their job wasn’t a good fit, or that they weren’t living into their purpose.
All in all, most people who confided in me told me they were simply afraid to KNOW- and that they were quite content in their unknowing state, instead.
To be honest, this wasn’t something I put a ton of thought into myself.
Which makes sense given my personality.
I’d much rather know the truth, even if it’s painful.
Plus, I WANTED change.
I WANTED understanding.
I didn’t think these things would complicate my life, but rather compliment it.
Boy, was I wrong.
I mean, c’mon, there’s a reason for the saying: “ignorance is bliss.”
Here’s the thing, when you’re in the altered state- everything is coming to you at lightening speed.
What you receive is often described as a “download,” because that’s truly how it feels.
It’s like someone just plugged a hard drive into your heart, and all of the sudden you just KNOW all these grand, universal concepts on a cellular level.
Which is why, when you’re no longer in that altered state- you can’t really just go and UNKNOW all that was revealed.
So, suddenly you’re walking around with what feels like the golden ticket- the meaning of life, human existence, purpose- it’s all clear, and seems to OBVIOUS.
But guess what?
Everyone else is still existing in their forgotten state- that mindset of unknowing, disconnection, and distraction.
I was lucky that I had a few weeks of breathing room after my retreat.
I stayed in Peru, marinating in the Sacred Valley at the most healing center I’ve ever stumbled upon.
Although it was beautiful to remain immersed in nature with like-minded people, it essentially kept me in a protective bubble, as well.
And, when I finally left the country to go on and teach my own retreat- it was jarring to say the least.
When I arrived in Morocco, I stayed at a riad which (apparently) is quite well known in the blogging world.
It was beautiful, no doubt.
But, it was also full of people living through their screens, rather than real time.
My friend and I would sit on the rooftop during meals, soaking up the rich desert sunshine, watching the world go by in the bustling city beneath us, while enjoying conversation and delicious food, alike.
Then, we’d look around, and see that everyone around us was taking photos of their food instead of eating it.
They weren’t talking to each other without a phone or a camera in front of their faces.
My insides were screaming, “None of this shit matters!”
But on the outside, I was silent.
After all, I was (and still am) just as active of a participant in this way of life.
Hell, I was staying at this hotel for free in exchange for posting a few photos about it.
I was a major player in this Twilight Zone episode, but I also felt completely removed from it, as well.
The next few weeks, I continued to spiral down that rabbit hole of “none of this shit matters.”
I didn’t see the point of perfectly curated captures anymore, which was somewhat startling given that a good chunk of my income relied on platform I suddenly despised.
Fortunately, a good friend I’d made at my Aya retreat served as a sounding board for me through this process.
I vented to him about feeling fraudulent for participating in something I so strongly disagreed with.
I questioned my purpose.
Was I unaligned?
Was I straying from my path by being a part of all this noise?
Should I just delete everything and hide in a cave?
Luckily, he talked me off the edge, helped put all of my angst into perspective.
He reminded me that social media is just another tool we’ve been given, and how we use it is up to us.
If I want to use it for good- for fundraising, connection, and growth- then I can.
No one is stopping me.
It’s up to me to check in, to be intentional, to remain aware, rather than numb.
It was an uncomfortable few weeks as my relationship with social media changed.
However, I will say that since then- I’ve come out the other side with a healthier outlook and use of a tool that allows me to live my life in such a way that it is aligned with my greater purpose.
Perspective is everything.
Intention is key.
And support along the way is imperative.
The thing is, a social media crisis is hardly the end of the world, right?
But, a large part of why I’m using this example is because it isn’t super personal.
As I don’t think it would be respectful to share the deeper wedges of disconnect I’ve experienced with both friends and family- but I can tell you that they’re there.
Another one was about 2 months post retreat.
I was walking back to my room in the tail end of an acid trip, and watching all of the people around me.
It was summer in Europe, and the beach was packed.
The walk was about 40 minutes, so I saw A LOT in that time.
I felt like I wasn’t just watching people, but like I could really SEE them, if you know what I mean.
It broke my heart to notice the light extinguished behind so many adult eyes.
It seemed like most people were merely existing, rather than actually LIVING.
Like they were moving on autopilot in an eerie, almost zombie-like fashion.
I wanted to wave my arms and shout, “WAKE UP!” to startle them back into presence.
But then I’d see the sparkle of knowing in just one passer-byer’s eyes, and be reminded that everyone’s process is their own, not mine to speed up.
The most I can do is my best.
To live so authentically and lovingly that I become magnetic simply by being me.
That magnetism will undoubtedly evoke curiosity in others.
And I believe that curiosity is the entry point for a pathway of change.
This journey can be isolating, difficult, and is nowhere near linear.
And, in some ways, I’ve found the gifts from the ceremonies to be both a blessing and a curse.
Liberation seems to come at a cost of alienation.
As I prepare to enter into my second retreat, I can’t ignore the sadness I have in understanding the gap between myself and loved ones will inevitably broaden.
I’m not saying that I’m one step closer to enlightenment, and everyone else is stuck in some measly human mindset.
All I’m saying is that there’s a level of inevitability here.
After all, an Aya retreat is no different to any other life-altering experience, which completely broadens or shifts one’s perspective.
The question you need to ask yourself before entering this voyage is not so much about being ready- because are we ever really ready for anything?
No, the questions you need to ask yourself is: are you willing?
Willing to be uncomfortable, to feel lonely sometimes, and most of all- willing to change.
Because the thing is that this is where the real work is.
Although sitting in ceremony isn’t exactly easy, it’s still not the hardest part.
Applying all that you learn in this alternative universe is the point.
It would be easy to live in an altered state conversing with aliens, and flying through different dimensions of time.
It would be easy to run away, hide in a cave, and meditate the pain away.
But, then Aya becomes the same as any other substance- one that encourages escapism, avoidance, or numbing- rather than connection, introspection, and understanding.
This plant is used to dive into our problems, traumas, and wounds- rather than to run from them.
We take what we learn during these deep dives, and sprinkle that knowing into our every day lives.
We’ll start to notice how even the smallest, seemingly mundane moments have lessons hidden beneath the surface, and with the new tools we accumulated in the altered state- everything has more meaning.
It’s the same as any healing practice- talk therapy, meditation, energy work, etc- you can go until your blue in the face.
But just going to the sessions simply isn’t enough for real change to occur.
Integrating what you learn is how growth actually happens.
As I continue to navigate through what feels like a new life post-Ayahuasca, I’ve realized that even when I feel totally alone in this process, I never really am.
After all, one of the greatest takeaways from any of my psychedelic experiences has been the notion of oneness.
Our innate connection to Source ensures that even if we feel lonely, we’re never actually alone.
We’re in this together.
And, as the beloved, late Ram Dass said:
“We’re all just walking each other home.”
As I’m getting ready to embark on my second Ayahuasca Retreat at Nimea Kaya in Peru, I thought I’d share my preparation process this time around.
Because this ancient plant medicine is one that works on every level of your being (physical, mental, spiritual), I believe it’s important to cleanse and connect to each of these layers beforehand.
It’s important to note that everyone’s process if different.
Meaning, what works for me, might not feel effective for you.
Although there are, of course, some purifying recommendations/requirements for everyone (especially when it comes to diet, prescription and recreational drug use)- the rest of these practices are simply ones I’ve adopted for ME.
Try what works, and leave the rest.
Create your own based on your needs.
Above all, enjoy the journey.
It will undoubtedly be a wild one that’s about to change your life.
1.Food and Drink Dieta:
Regardless of where you decide to do your retreat and/or single ceremony, you’ll likely be asked to alter your food and drink consumption from the shaman/leader of the experience. The Ayahuasca diet is essentially how I eat anyways, so I don’t change much personally.
Below is a variation of Nimea Kaya’s advice on the matter:
-Start adjusting your diet at least 2 weeks prior to your retreat start date in order to effectively cleanse the body.
-Definitely eliminate pork and red meat in this time. If you eat meat, fish and chicken are okay.
-Definitely eliminate alcohol in this time.
-Do your best to cut back or fully eliminate: processed foods, fried food, refined sugars, highly salted foods (small amounts of mineral salt is okay), gluten, caffeine and dairy.
If this sounds nearly impossible to you, and you don’t know what the hell to eat once all of this is eliminated- check out some of my recipes for nourishment AND satisfaction.
2.Prescription and Recreational Drugs:
I do not take any prescription drugs, so I cannot comment on this directly.
PLEASE make sure to tell your shaman/retreat leader EVERYTHING you are taking to ensure a safe experience.
I’d also advise that you speak to your healthcare professional about your prescriptions, as well.
Both the retreat leader and the healthcare professional should be the ones to inform you what you need to wean off, and how to do so safely.
It’s suggested to stop all recreational drug use at least 2 weeks prior to the retreat.
This includes cannabis (even if you use it medicinally) and psilocybin (even if used medicinally).
It’s important to remember that both cannabis and psilocybin are also powerful plant medicines with intelligence of their own.
Letting go of all other plant medicines prior will help to create proper energetic space for Ayahuasca.
It’s generally suggested to abstain from sex and masturbation at least one week prior, AND one week after your ceremonies.
Realistically, this won’t be an issue for me (sad face)- but, it’s important to note, nonetheless.
People often question this one, and I get it.
I suppose the best way to think about it is a preservation of vital energy that can be used towards your healing process, rather than pleasure.
4.Trauma and Violence:
Nimea Kaya suggested we avoid watching, listening to, or reading about traumatic and violent events.
I haven’t seen many other retreat centers make this suggestion, but I figured I’d stick to it before my first retreat.
I’m really happy that I did for a variety of reasons.
The biggest one being that it revealed to me just how much these things are/were present in my life- especially in the form of entertainment.
Cutting out these forms of entertainment (movies, shows, music, and podcasts) showed me the true impact they have/had my psyche.
And, to be honest, this cleanse has now changed my taste (especially in movies and shows) completely.
This is an incredibly sacred journey, therefore it’s VITAL to enter into it with intention.
Because the line between intention and expectation can often be blurred, I usually sit with a variety of intentions in my daily meditation for days/weeks before boiling it down to just ONE that feels the most “right” in my body and heart.
What the heck does that even mean?
Well, I think it means something different for everyone as your intuitive hits might feel different than mine.
Think of your intuition as a muscle.
Use your meditation time (or simply moments of stillness) to use that muscle.
The more you use it, the stronger it will get.
This means that you have, say, 3-5 possible intentions for your retreat.
Sit with each one individually- repeating it, visualizing it, understanding the WHY behind it, and then noticing how you FEEL in response to it.
Keep in mind, the sensations indicating “yes” or “no” might be very subtle, which is why I’d suggest sitting with each one more than just one time.
If none of this makes sense at all (I don’t blame you), then the best way to come up with an intention for your retreat is to close your eyes, tune in to your breath, place a hand on your heart, and notice what it’s asking for.
Observe your heart’s reason for wanting to do this retreat.
Understanding that your heart’s wisdom will likely be different than your mind’s intellect.
For example, the intention for my first retreat was to return home.
The intention for my second retreat is forgiveness and acceptance.
Personally, I prefer to work with an intention that is somewhat vague- so that Ayahuasca can show me whatever I need to know along the way.
I find that when I get TOO specific, then I start getting into that expectation mindset.
However, I know plenty of people who have gone into ceremonies with super specific intentions and/or questions about their lives- and they were given exactly what they needed.
Feel into what your needs are, and go with that.
Although I have a pretty regular meditation practice already, I prefer do my best to increase the volume and length of my stillness leading up to the retreat.
If you’re brand new to meditation, and the word alone intimidates you- no worries.
You’re not alone.
Like I mentioned before, just take a few moments of each day to close your eyes, slow down and even out your breath, and listen to your heart.
This can range from 30 seconds, to 30 minutes.
Whatever you’re comfortable with, and have time for.
You can also find guided meditations on Calm, AloMoves, 1GiantMind, and Youtube.
I find that the more I meditate, the more connected I am both to myself and to something greater (Source, God, Divine, whatever you believe in).
Plus, I feel more grounded and clear.
These are all qualities I personally need to ramp up before skyrocketing off into the cosmos with Ayahuasca.
I don’t have a regular journal practice.
Sometimes I write every day, multiple times a day, and sometimes weeks or months go by before I jot down my thoughts.
Leading up to my first retreat, I made a point to journal at least once a week.
I also made a point to write letters to Ayahuasca herself as my journal entries.
Sounds pretty hippy dippy, I know.
But, for me, I found it soothing.
I also found that it helped me connect to her in a more grounded way, as I wasn’t only in communication with her while I was tits deep in a crazy trip.
I'm committing to these same journaling practices this second time around, as well.
8. Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable:
This is something that I’m choosing to consciously incorporate before my second retreat.
Now that I have the experience of the first one under my belt, I know just how intense the ceremonies can be.
And, to be honest, I’m more afraid going into this second round than I was the first BECAUSE of my previous experiences.
That being said, I’m choosing to face my fears and/or sit in discomfort a little longer than I normally would in everyday situations.
What does this mean exactly?
Well, this might be something as small as staying in a difficult yoga posture for a few breaths longer than I want to.
Or, it might be something bigger like abandoning my plans and dedicating a month to really training/learning how to surf in Nicaragua- even though it scares the shit out of me.
I’m making the choice to say YES to things that I’d rather say NO to (obviously still prioritizing my worth while doing so), and to observe how discomfort lands in my body, mind and heart.
Breathing through hardship more mindfully, surrendering to what is as opposed to what I want it to be.
All things that, for me, are a lot easier said than done.
Which is how I know I need to keep doing them.
9.Less Social Media:
This one is a little difficult for me simply because social media is a huge part of my job.
However, I also believe it can also be a source of distraction and disconnection (don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s nice/necessary to numb out and scroll) for me, as well.
Leading up to the retreat (meaning about 2 – 4 weeks before), I start minimizing my time scrolling- and really just use it for work-related purposes.
Post and ghost, ya know?
And, during the retreat itself, I don’t use social media at all.
10.Communication and Relationships:
The same way that we cleanse our bodies through diet, and our minds through meditation- I believe it’s important to cleanse energetically by tuning into how we communicate (to ourselves and others), and who we currently have in our lives.
I do my best to notice my inner dialogue during this time, and redirect negative self-talk to more empowering language, instead.
I also do my best to notice what and how I’m speaking to others about- working to avoid gossip and violent language altogether.
Please know that I am nowhere near perfect at this.
But I do believe awareness is the first step.
Plus, this has proven to be a super useful practice I've carried with me well beyond ceremony prep.
As far as relationships go- there are some people in my life who I love dearly, but who also drain the hell out of me.
I press the pause button on these relationships leading up to the retreat so that I can preserve the energy I'd have otherwise spent on them, to use for my own healing process, instead.
Before my last retreat, I let go of a few people.
Most of those people ended up circling back to me.
And, when they did, our relationship was healthier and more balanced than ever.
However, there are others who have remained on the outskirts- as I now realize that our season of friendship has expired.
Although the loss and letting go can certainly be painful, it’s also necessary for growth.
I found that total transparency in releasing these relationships is what allowed me to feel really good about moving forward.
Honest, but compassionate language- letting them know why I needed a break, but also letting them know that I love them.
Best of luck on your journey, my friends.
You've got this.
A large part of my “Return Home” process was getting rid of the Candida overgrowth which was giving me chronic yeast infections for the first half of the year.
One of the most common questions I get from you all is asking HOW I overcame this horribly pesky fungus that so many of us suffer from.
I’ve been hesitant about writing about this for several reasons.
Some of it is too personal to share & I don’t want to violate other people’s privacy, nor my own.
Also, I want to be clear that by sharing what worked for me does NOT make me an expert.
It also does NOT mean these same practices will work for YOU.
I’d also like to point out that most of my healing strategies are a reflection of my privilege.
Not only were some of these treatments quite costly, but they also became a full-time job, as well.
What I can say with certainty is this:
I needed to clear out physically as much as I did mentally & energetically one order to full get rid of it.
Yes, I changed my diet by cutting out all processed sugar (I still ate fruit despite everyone saying it was “bad”), alcohol & gluten.
I also did a 10-day water fast with twice daily colonics & IR sauna treatments.
I sought out weekly acupuncture & used the herbs recommended by my TCM doctor.
This was mostly all physical cleansing.
Mentally, emotionally & energetically- I started talk therapy, EMDR & ended relationships that felt like empty wells.
I upped my meditation practice- committing to stillness DAILY, no matter what.
Regardless of ALL THIS, the yeast infections persisted until my Ayahuasca Retreat at Nimea Kaya in Peru.
This is where things start to sound a little crazy.
Without going into too much detail, what I will say is that there was a lot of work done on my womb during my first ceremony.
It became very clear that shame from past sexual traumas had manifested into physical illness and discomfort for most of my adult life.
The yeast infections were the final straw in forcing me to look at the area in a more holistic manner.
That ceremony showed me that although I thought I’d long since moved past these traumas- my body clearly hadn’t.
Time becomes pretty fuzzy (and completely non-linear) in this state of mind, so I have no idea how long the womb repair took.
What I do know is that it felt like days.
It was incredibly painful.
And, in the end, I felt my uterus clenching and contracting as if I were giving birth.
This went on until I literally felt too weak to even sit up for a drink of water.
I felt as if I had devoted every last ounce of energy left to clearing out my physical and energetic body.
I was depleted.
But somehow also lighter than ever before.
That ceremony was brutal for me.
It lasted from 8 pm through to 10 am.
I felt as if my soul had been ripped in half, and every energy center within me was open to the point of pain.
I didn’t sleep at all.
I was exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically.
All I could do was cry for the entire next day.
And I had to do it all over again the following evening.
I was terrified to enter that same depth on my second trip- especially after no sleep.
But I trusted.
I drank again.
And this time, Mother Aya held me a lot more compassionately than the first time around.
However, the point of this post isn’t to go into detail about all of my ceremonies.
The point is to tell you how I overcame Candida overgrowth.
After my Ayahuasca Retreat, I didn’t expect to have some sort of magical healing occur.
And maybe it was from my lack of expectations that that somewhat radical cure was able to happen at all.
I used to always get the yeast infection during the time of the month when I was ovulating.
My following cycle after the retreat, I noticed that an infection didn’t pop up.
I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I just kept it to myself.
A week after ovulating, and still no infection- this was officially the longest I’d ever gone without one.
At this point, I was just happy to reach that mark- so I excitedly shared with my mom and a few of my closest friends.
Another week passed- nothing.
And another, and another, and another.
Here I am today, six months later- and still no yeast infection to date.
Maybe I didn’t want to write about it, because I was afraid that I might “jinx” it or something.
What I do know is that the healing which occurred in my ceremonies was something that came from another world.
Something that I couldn’t access with my human brain alone.
Yes, it was terrifying at times.
Sure, it was painful and sad and scary and dark.
But, hot damn it was worth ten million times over.
And not just because I don’t get freaking yeast infections anymore.
But because my mind and heart are centered and peaceful in a way that I didn’t even know I was lacking.
Look, if you have Candida overgrowth, I’m not saying that you should drink Ayahuasca and POOF- it will magically disappear.
I think we all know that it’s a lot more complex than that.
All I’m saying is that this was what ended up being the solution for me.
Does that mean I wouldn’t have been able to clear it up without the retreat?
I’m confident that I’d have gotten through it all one way or another.
What I’m saying is that this certainly sped up the process.
And it also showed me how much deeper it was than just an excess of fungus and microbiome imbalances.
Our bodies are intelligent beyond our comprehension.
And every single encounter, relationship, and experience- no matter how seemingly big or small- impacts us.
It’s fascinating, really.
How grateful I am to have had the opportunity to witness this firsthand.
Wishing each and every one of you all the best on your journey home back to yourself.
Don’t give up.
You’re almost there.
I get a lot of questions about how to stay healthy with such a globe trotting lifestyle.
I also get a lot of questions of how the heck I manage to eat vegan when I’m traveling to countries that most people assume have NO options.
Before I dive into answering both of these questions with more specific tips- I think it’s important to note (once again) that I’m not a health care professional nor nutritionist.
These are examples of what works for ME.
Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for YOU.
I’d also like to add that this blog isn’t about pushing veganism on anyone.
Because, once again, although this way of life allows my body to thrive- maybe it doesn’t work for you in that same way.
The point here is really to offer general tips of total well being- some of which include what I eat in order to cater to my plant-based diet in a fulfilling and nutritious way.
Essentially- you can take what works for you from this piece, and leave the rest.
Trial and error through your personal experience, and cultivating a more in-tune relationship with YOUR body is going to be a helluva a lot more valuable than any advice from me (or anyone else for that matter).
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1.Echinacea and Zinc:
Because airplanes can be a breeding ground for illness, I start smashing these two supplements 1 – 2 days prior to my departure.
For me, these have been the most effective in warding off any unwanted colds that tend of happen on long, international flights.
2.Healthy Travel Snacks:
I’m not a fan of plane food.
Even when I order the “special” vegan options- they’re usually pretty dismal.
This means I always come armed with my own goods to ensure I’m sustained with NUTRITIOUS fuel, rather than empty carbs and highly processed options.
Unfortunately, when traveling internationally- you often can’t take fresh fruit and veg with you (every country is different).
So this means I opt for roasted veggies and dried fruit (with no added sugar), instead.
I’m also a hummus fanatic, so I tend to bring a little jar with me for the veggies- which is a great option for protein.
It’s important that the hummus is unopened, and in a marked 100 ml container- because otherwise they might confiscate it (again, every country is different here).
Again, for more sustenance- nuts or nut butter are perfect (note that nut butter should also be sealed and in a marked 100 ml container, as well).
This last trip, I brought some of my homemade Juice Pulp Crackers and Autumn in Oz Cookies.
If you don’t have time to make something like these- then quinoa cakes, or raw vegetable crackers are great munchies.
If you’d rather have more of a full meal- then something like a simple Soul Bowl would be a nourishing option.
Regardless of how long you’re flying, you can’t go wrong with a short 15-minute stretch session prior to boarding.
This is especially helpful if you tend to get pain/soreness in any particular part of the body.
I tend to focus on hips to alleviate any tension in the low back.
This is more applicable for international travel with different time zones.
I’ve found my digestion has been one of the biggest contributors to jet lag, because when the body is used to eating on a certain sort of schedule- then it becomes more awake or more tired accordingly.
I’ve found that it helps me to start eating in accordance with my destination’s time zone while on the flight.
2.Echinacea and Zinc…again:
Yep, keep downing these two magic makers.
Even if you don’t feel so much as a tickle in your throat- they’ll both help to boost your immune system, so you can’t really go wrong.
3.Feel Good Practices and Topical Applications:
I tend to get really dry on planes, so I always pack a small thing of Jojoba or Rosehip oil for my face, as well as some sort of hand cream.
If I have a super long flight, sometimes I even use a cucumber face sheet to rehydrate (which feels freaking amazing).
I’m also a fan of aromatherapy, as I find it incredibly soothing even when I’m tired, irritable, and feel pretty dang gross.
My go-to on flights in lavender oil.
Just a little dab on the wrists, or on the soles of my feet if I’m trying to sleep.
I also find music to be a big contributor to my mood.
I love listening to calming tunes when I’m traveling, because I find it just chills me out a bit more.
And the more relaxed my mind is, the more relaxed my body will become- which is crucial when you’re scrunched up for hours on end.
Which leads me to the last one- and that’s back to stretching.
Whether it’s in my seat, or getting up and hanging in a rag doll forward fold in the back of the plane- just getting my circulation going, and my joints unwound feels like heaven.
These are all just little examples of what makes me feel a little more human (especially on LONG trips), but I’m sure you’ll find your own.
All of these are also awesome because they don’t take up a ton (or any) space as far as packing goes.
Meditation and/or breath work is also a great option here, especially if you battle with anxiety in the air.
1.Full or Half Day Fast:
Alright, I know this might not be for everyone- but this has really changed my jet lag.
Like I said before, I’ve personally found that digestion is a big contributor to my mind and body getting out of whack when constantly changing time zones.
I started doing half day fasts upon arrival, and have recently gone to 24-36 hours, instead.
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, because fasting can be super challenging.
Especially if you’re going some place that’s known for its cuisine!
But, I’ve found this has really helped to recharge and energize me for the duration of my trip, as I don’t battle with jet lag for as long, or at all.
If water fasting feels like it’s out of the question- then go for a juice or coconut water cleanse.
As long as you’re on liquid only, it gives your digestion a chance to rest and reset.
If you're interested in learning more about my personal fasting journey/practice, click here.
Because travel literally uproots us and transports us somewhere else, this means that Vata (or qualities of the Air Element) are increased.
An excess of Vata can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and general feelings of flightiness.
This means it’s important to ground down wherever you are.
What does any of that mean?
Well, grounding means we’re turning up qualities of the Earth Element.
One of my favorite parts of the Earth Element that I like to focus on is the idea of HOME.
This means, I pack a few things that allow me to feel at home no matter where I am in the world.
As you guys know, I love my SuperFeast tinctures and teas- so these come with me around the world.
Something as simple as maintaining my tea-making ritual in the morning gives me that sense of routine that pulls me back down from the clouds and onto the Earth.
As I mentioned before, I love aromatherapy.
This means I always travel with incense, Palo Santo and White Sage (yeah, I’m THAT chick).
All of these evoke a sense of peace and comfort, and give me the same cozy feeling of my own living room.
Any other practices that I’d typically do at home (for me it’s usually to do with my morning routine) I continue to do when I travel.
A few examples are morning meditation, journaling, and gratitude.
Do what works for you here.
Maybe this means packing a super old, comfy shirt that makes you feel like you’re being hugged.
Maybe it’s a crystal, or a specific essential oil.
Figure out what gives you that feeling of HOME, and bring that with you abroad.
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with getting grounded.
And I think you guys will know what I’m going to say here:
Yoga, meditation, breath work, journaling.
These are my go-to’s, because they’re simply a part of me, and when they fall to the wayside- I can feel the shifts mentally any physically.
These are also great, because you don’t need a whole lot of space.
Even when I’ve stayed in the shittiest, smallest hotels rooms- I still always managed to find enough space to roll out my mat.
Another thing I often do is go for long walks every day.
This is a great way to get acquainted with wherever you are, and also to get some exercise.
Unfortunately this isn’t always possible everywhere I go due to safety, bad pollution, non-pedestrian friendly roads.
I just work with what I got.
You practices might be different, and that’s okay.
Do what feels best for you in order to come back to yourself even if you’re away.
4.Supplements and Tinctures:
Clearly you’ve realized I’m an advocate for Echinacea and Zinc.
I keep downing those for the first few days after arrival just to make extra sure I don’t get anything nasty from the plane.
Everyone’s supplements are going to be different, so I’d just say keep taking whatever you’re taking at home.
I’m not going to share all that I’m taking, because they might not be relevant for YOU and your needs.
If you’re in a country that has unclean water, or is notorious for bad food poisoning- activated charcoal tablets are always my favorite option for funny tummy syndrome.
As mentioned above, SuperFeast offers a great variety of herbs, tonics, and mushroom blends.
Check them out to see if any of their products are suitable for your needs.
Apple Cider Vinegar is also a lifesaver.
I drink it before every meal.
Same with lemon water (hot or room temp).
Both of these support liver function, and alkalinity in the body.
Colloidal silver has also been an awesome addition in supporting my immune system.
I’ve also fallen in love with YourSuperFoods, as they have quite a large variety of superfood blends that come in TRAVEL SACHETS!
This is wonderful, because they don’t take up hardly any space, and there’s no risk of the powders getting everywhere in your bag.
These are great additions to any drink if you need an extra boost of nutrition.
At this point, you’ve burned through your healthy plane food/snacks- and you’re ready to eat locally.
As someone who’s vegan, and often travels to places where people have never even heard this word- I actually find this challenge more fun than I do frustrating.
Let’s just jump to the worst-case scenario:
Everything is super meaty or fried.
I can just about guarantee you that there will be produce stands wherever you are.
Even in the most remote, desolate places- I’ve managed to get my hands on fresh produce coming straight from the farm.
Obviously, some areas are more plentiful that others- so you just gotta work with what you got.
Go for fruits and vegetables that are LOCAL to the region you’re in, rather than imported.
This is great, because it also means you might be trying something brand new, too.
Fruits with peels are easy as far as contamination goes, but if you’re eating something raw without a peel- make sure to clean with filtered water before consuming.
Vegetables can actually be super dangerous to eat raw (depending where you are), so either thoroughly clean with filtered water, or cook them.
If you don’t have cookware or a stove- no worries.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought my own produce, and then brought it back to my guesthouse and asked them to cook it for me (usually only places where vegetarian options are scarce to none).
This works out for everyone- because they still get paid, rather than me eating out- and I get to have something that serves my body’s needs.
Another great resource here for my fellow plant eaters is the Happy Cow app, which lists restaurants and eateries with veg options and reviews from customers.
Here’s the thing- you might be going some place that you don’t have to HUNT for your meals, which is always a bit of a relief.
If that’s the case, the best advice I can offer is sticking closely to whole foods.
It’s always fun to try local cuisine- which isn’t always the healthiest thing.
I say everything in moderation is key.
For me personally, I’m strictly vegan- so I don’t actually make exceptions for local food that has meat or dairy.
However, this is also because I haven’t had meat or dairy in SO LONG that it actually makes me sick.
And who wants to be sick on the road?!
The most I can do is my best, but at the end of the day- when other people are preparing you food, you can never be 100% certain what goes into it.
This is especially true when you’re also dealing with a language barrier.
Like when I go to India and ask for no ghee in my curries and dhal, do I really think they don’t put it in every time?
Not at all.
Did I do my best?
Yeah, I did.
If you’re someone who isn’t as fussed about staying within a certain boundary- then eat what feels right to you.
Maybe that means trying something fried, or an especially yummy sugary desert.
Just know that if you usually eat clean, and then you binge hard on holiday- then it might make you feel shitty.
Take it all in stride, rather than going balls to the wall.
Let yourself enjoy your travel in every sense (including the yummy food), but also honor your body at the same time.
If feel you’ve overdone it at any point, a great way to reset is a half or full day of fasting (water, coconut water, or juice).
I feel this deserves a separate category, because I’m a major snacker.
My brother says I rarely eat a whole meal, because I’m constantly grazing- which is pretty accurate.
This is even more accurate after my 10-day fast in Thailand, as my stomach shrunk so much that there’s just not space for full meals.
And I hate wasting food- so lately I tend to have one full meal, and small snacks in between.
My advice here is similar to that of above:
Stick to whole foods as closely as possible.
Sure, it’s often easy to find a produce stand and stock up on your favorite fruits.
But what about if you want something else?
I’ve been especially surprised how challenging it can be to find yummy snacks without sugar, palm/corn oil, or preservatives.
I’ve been a lot more anal about checking labels since dealing with this Candida crisis, and I’ve been shocked at the way in which even seemingly whole foods still have a bunch of bull shit in them.
If there’s a label, read it.
If not, ask the shop keeper.
Some of my favorites that I’ve been able to find just about everywhere are:
Nuts, nut butter, rice cakes/quinoa cakes, dried beans/peas, dried fruit.
Again, most of these manage to sneak in nonsense (especially sugar), so check before you buy.
I’ve found the best bet is usually going to a small roadside shop, rather than a big super market (well, at least in some countries).
The larger shops tend to have more processed food.
However, depending where you are- the larger shops might also have a health food section, so it’s worth a look nonetheless.
Just a quick example of this would be on my most recent trip to Thailand.
I went to one of the largest stores on the island, and I walked out empty handed because even the packaged nuts had sugar and palm oil.
I stopped at a shack on the side of the road to get more dragon fruit, and noticed some of her other goods.
She had fresh peanuts from her farm for about 5 cents a pack.
And, look, eating a bit of sugar or palm oil isn’t going to kill you.
You don’t want to get to the point that you’re stressed about not knowing exactly what you’re about to consume, because stress is a heck of a lot more detrimental than one not-so-healthy snack.
Just do your best.
Trust your body’s ability.
And ALLOW the food you put in to be the fuel and nourishment you need.
I hope these tips and tricks contribute to the value of your next trip.
Happy travels, my fellow nomads! XO
I often get requests to share all of my tattoos and their meanings.
But the truth is, I’ve never really been drawn to do so for a variety of reasons.
First of all- I have 19, so it would take awhile.
Second of all- I guess there’s just a larger part of me that likes to have those conversations in person.
However, the story behind one of my most recent tats is one that I’m inspired to share here because I think it’s an important message to spread.
Last month I was lucky enough to spend a few days at The Cove Bali at Balian Beach.
I’m holding GLOW Yoga Retreats 7 Chakras in Bali Retreat there in October- so I wanted to have a good feel it prior to the retreat.
I actually shared at the time how Balian means “healer” in Balinese.
This hit home for me at the time given that I was in the depth of a horrible depression & battling with ongoing illnesses.
Their angel of a driver, Putu, asked me if I was interested in visiting the local healer during my stay.
I’ll be honest, I’m especially skeptical about “healers” in Bali after the whole Eat, Pray, Love movement.
Although it wasn’t on the top of my to-do list, I agreed to check her out simply so I could make a credible recommendation to my retreaters in the fall.
He told me all about her, and even reassured me that she was his family’s personal healer- but I remained indifferent.
On the morning I was meant to see her, Putu came to me and said:
“I have some news, it’s either going to be good or bad- I don’t know yet.”
I simply said, “ok, what is it?”
“The healer called me this morning, and she said she can’t see you,” he began.
“That’s ok, I didn’t even really care too much about going-“ I started to explain.
“No,” he cut me off.
“She told me to tell you not to come because she said it’s very important you realize something. She wants you to know that you don’t need to see her, because you can heal yourself.”
With tears in my eyes, I just laughed.
He felt bad, and continued: “I don’t know what this means. She’s never said this before! I’m so sorry. I’m sure we can still go if you want.”
I stopped him, and said, “no. This is more than enough. This was just the reminder I needed.”
And it was.
That was the beginning of my true healing journey.
Let me be clear in saying that this woman didn't "heal" me with her words.
Nor did the sacred island of Bali.
Just like she said, I COULD HEAL MYSELF.
It just took some time opening my eyes and my heart to tap into the tools I already had to do so.
Don't get me wrong, trusting in outside sources played a HUGE role in helping to pull me out of this depression.
As most of you know, I started seeing a therapist.
I also see an acupuncturist at least once a week.
I've gone to multiple allopathic and naturopathic doctors, alike.
And, I also seek out therapies like infrared saunas, colon hydrotherapy, fasting, etc- all of which are not within the comfort of my own home.
Although these practices and these people have been instrumental in my progress- it really wasn't until this same week in Bali that I had what felt like a light switch just flip ON in my brain.
What did it turn on?
It turned on gratitude.
It turned on positivity.
It turned on rationale.
And it turned on this strong sense of confidence in KNOWING I could, and I WOULD get myself back to full health again.
It was only a few days after this instance with the healer that I watched the documentary Heal on Netflix.
I've already written about this briefly on my Instagram, so you've probably already read how deeply this film effected me (if you didn't catch it, you can read the post here).
What I didn't mention was how some of the last words of the documentary are:
YOU CAN HEAL YOURSELF.
The reminder hit home.
I know a lot of people will roll their eyes at this whole post.
I mean, c'mon- here I am saying how a healer in Bali told me I could heal myself, and then I watched a documentary that said the same thing- and now POOF I'm cured!
But, it wasn't as simple as that.
One movie and one shaman didn't fix me.
My mindset did.
My choice to believe wholeheartedly in my own capability again.
My choice to not give my power away to people in white coats, or ANY professional- but to trust my relationship with my mind and my body first and foremost.
My choice to be GRATEFUL for hardships and blessings, alike.
My choice to have faith in all of this darkness.
Faith in being caught by something greater when the time was right.
I know it's not easy to simply tell someone to "be positive" when they're depressed or anxious.
In fact, if you're anything like me, that's the last thing you want to hear.
Because it's SO much easier said than done, right?
But the truth is, our minds our so incredibly powerful- that when we are able to get to that place of being thankful for ALL that comes our way, and get to that place of seeing silver linings- then we're able to thrive again.
I've had so many people tell me that I look like I'm glowing.
That my voice sounds brighter, my skin is radiant, and my eyes are shining again.
They ask me what my secret is?
How did I not only get back to a good place, but what appears to be an even BETTER place than I was in before?
When I think of the answer to that question- I come back to this week in Bali.
I come back to these women's words:
She can heal herself.
This moment was the first of many that propelled me forward into a new direction of gratitude, faith, and confidence.
There were, and continue to be, a million micro-moments in between that continue to push me onto this path- but this was certainly the catalyst.
Which is why I got these words tattooed permanently on my skin in traditional Hanacaraka (Balinese) writing.
I know I will probably lose sight of this reminder again at some point in my life.
And, seeing it on my body will help me keep it in the forefront of my mind.
Plus, this tattoo is not only an homage to my ability of overcome a very dark few months, but also a symbol of recognition and gratitude for the darkness itself.
Without the pain, the loss, the heartbreak- I wouldn't be where I am today.
How could I not be grateful for that?
Expectation versus intention.
This was my biggest takeaway during my 9-day fast in Thailand.
I went into the cleanse with what I thought was an intention, but I realized about halfway through that it was actually an expectation.
One that wasn’t lived up to- causing frustration, angst, and disappointment in its wake.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t extremely tough to sit with such emotions in the middle of a very physically intense fasting experience- because it was.
But it was also exactly what I needed in order to fine-tune my awareness of the difference between entering into something with an intention, rather than with an expectation.
Let me be more specific:
I thought that my detox would evoke a sense of clarity both mentally and physically.
I went into it anticipating the desire to WANT to be disconnected from the outside world- whether it was social media, or just simply text messages between friends and family- I assumed that I would relish in my introspection.
Why did I think all of this?
Well, based on previous extended fasts I’d recently done (one was 4 days, and one was 3 days), this was exactly how I felt.
I would be buzzing with this really pure, clean energy that inspired new ideas for growth (both business and personal).
And in that time, I wasn’t interested in what felt like the pettiness of social media- or the small talk chatter of random texts.
It was like being on this other plane of consciousness that only craved really soul stirring connection.
So, I figured if I felt this day after only 3 or 4 days- then I was FOR SURE going to be on another level after 10 days.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was going to be difficult.
However, I still had this vision in my head that although it would be tough- I’d still be in this overall blissful state of total creative abundance.
Boy, was a I wrong.
You’ll find out soon why that just simply didn’t happen.
But before I go into a recap of my day-today, I just wanted to circle back to my initial point of differentiating expectation versus intention.
Do you see how the lines can easily blurred there?
I really believed I was entering in with the INTENTION of clarity and inspiration, but I was actually going into it EXPECTING to feel that was a result of what I was about to experience.
I had attachment to those beliefs.
So, when my mind and my body didn’t act according to those attachments- I was really disappointed in myself.
Luckily, I was able to catch myself in this process before falling too far down the rabbit hole.
Once it became clear to me the difference between the two- I was able to acknowledge when I was acting and/or reacting from a place for intention or expectation.
I was also able to get clear about what my intention for the fast ACTUALLY was.
This became really useful for me to lean into when the going got rough.
Because even in those moments, hours, and DAYS of pain- I was able to look at the pain as a source of healing.
It gave the entire experience more meaning, rather than it simply being something that I suffered through for.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the details of the fast itself.
Where it was, the approach, and what my day to day looked like.
After a lot of research, I did my fast at The Spa in Koh Chang, Thailand.
I paid full price for this experience, this is not sponsored AT ALL.
In fact, I wouldn’t even necessarily recommend this place.
However, rather than leaving a full review of the resort here, I’ll just share my review on TripAdvisor in case you want to learn more about the place itself.
Other fasts that I’ve done have been with only water, coconut water, or juice.
I’ve never coupled a water fast with any other detox methods before this.
This was an AGGRESSIVE approach to detox.
We drank Benzonite Clay and Psyllium Husk with lemon water 5 times a day, every 3 hours (from 7 am to 7 pm).
This particular combination is a detoxification drink in and of itself- helping to actually PULL toxins out of you.
An hour and a half after the drinks, we’d take 2 different kinds of supplements.
3 Liver Booster tablets that contain: Garlic, Reishi, Cinnamon, Laurel Clockvine, Goji Berry, and Phyllanthus amarus.
3 Colon Cleanser tablets that contain: Turmeric, India Gooseberry, Cherbulic Myrobalans, Senna Alexandrina, Ginger and Cumin.
1 shot of Grape Seed and Milk Thistle in liquid form.
In the evenings before bed, we’d take a probiotic to help rebuild the flora in our intestines.
In addition to all this, we had self-administered colonic treatments twice a day.
The morning would be coffee and water (17 L).
And the afternoon would be garlic and water (17 L).
Again, these is a detoxification method all on it’s own.
Coupling it with the drinks, and with the fast was brutal- but also very effective.
The package I got also included a green drink every day (which I didn’t take), and also a special Thai stomach massage daily.
The massage really helped soothe my stomach in between colonic treatments, and kept things flowing well.
You can also have a clear mineral broth twice a day if you need, as well as coconut water as needed.
I had the mineral broth once (I’ll share below), and it definitely helped bring me back to life.
However, I wanted to stick to water as closely as I could for the duration.
Every morning would start at 7 am, where we’d be weighed and our blood pressure was checked.
My focus was NOT to lose weight.
This was used more as a way to monitor general health.
It’s really important to prepare your body AND your mind before you embark on an extended detox.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t.
But, your body will probably have a more violent reaction to the detoxification process once it starts.
Although I already eat pretty clean, I really tightened the reigns on my diet to really only eat whole foods.
I cut out ALL processed food and ALL refined sugar.
I’m already caffeine-free, but if you’re not- then this would be a big one to cut back on so you don’t get withdrawals.
I was also a lot more diligent about my intermittent fasting, and even did several mini-fasts in preparation.
The three days prior to the cleanse, they recommend to eat all raw.
Since I was already at the resort, I essentially just had papaya salad multiple times a day (they used apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and cayenne pepper in leui of fish sauce and sugar) and fruit.
On the last day, I decided just to juice as this always helps me enter a water fast more smoothly.
That meant that my Day 1 of the fast really was my second day without solid food.
Below, I’ll give you a short breakdown of my days, just so you can have a little insight into the rollercoaster of emotions and energy that came and went.
The first day tends to be the most uncomfortable, as your body is getting used to not eating. I find that it’s when I feel the MOST hungry, which is more out of habit than necessity.
Again, this was actually my second day without solid food, so I was actually surprisingly okay.
I definitely felt hungry, but I took it really easy the entire day in a conscious effort to conserve my energy.
I went for a short 2 mile walk in the morning, and did a Yin practice in the afternoon.
Other than that, I essentially just read and relaxed in my room or by the pool.
I didn’t do the colonic treatments that day, because my energy was really low and I thought it would make me feel worse.
I struggled to sleep throughout the night, and woke up often feeling hungry and overly tired.
After hardly any sleep, my body was in more physical pain than necessary.
I was too tired to even cry, and could barely drag myself out of bed to be weighed and checked in the morning.
When I did, they found that my blood pressure was alarmingly low.
I was really nauseous, and ended up throwing up for most of the morning.
I had shooting pains in my stomach, and all of my joints ached.
These are all common signs of detoxing.
Again, I opted out of the colonics, because I just didn’t think my body could handle it in the state I was in.
I’m happy I honored my body, although I wonder if it would’ve helped to flush out some of the toxins that were causing me so much pain.
I spent most of the day on my bed, or in my bath.
The only thing that got me through the day was playing repeated mantras by Khrishna Das.
Chanting was my yoga that day, as asana was out of the question for me.
I closed my eyes, felt the vibrations of each word and prayed for healing.
When my blood pressure continued to drop, they urged me to drink the mineral broth in the afternoon.
I’m really happy that I did, because it definitely helped to bring me back to life.
I slept well through the night.
I woke up with a burst of energy in the morning after a full night’s sleep.
This tends to be the day that people’s body starts tapping into reserves, and that clean, clear energy arrives.
I felt that to be true in the morning, and I went for another short 2 mile walk.
By mid-morning, my energy was wavering.
I also started my period.
Although it was only light spotting, I had cramps, and generally felt depleted.
This was the first day that I did the colonics.
The coffee one in the morning went easily and fast.
The garlic one in the afternoon took a lot longer to get through, and was more uncomfortable.
After both of them, I felt really good- fully flushed out, and lighter.
I did another Yin practice in the afternoon, yet still didn’t sleep well again this night, as I was hungry and my thoughts were racing.
This was by far the worst day for me.
I had horrible anxiety for almost the entire day.
I wasn’t anxious about any one thing in particular- there was just something energetically happening both within me and outside of me, which was stirring up a lot.
I was also bombarded by a few different text messages from people who with issues I simply didn’t have the brain power to cope with.
However, rather than letting it go and dealing with it once I had broken the fast- I engaged a lot longer than I should have.
Everything was even more intense given that my period arrived in full force on this day, as well.
I was surprised by how much I was bleeding, considering I was barely hanging onto 100 lbs at the time.
I was bloated and cramping, which initially made my colonic treatments painful. However, by the time I’d gone through the entire 17 L of liquid, I felt a little relief in my cramps, which was a pleasant surprise.
I struggled to do much of anything this day.
I was lucky enough to just take a few rounds of deep mindful breaths without my mind spinning out of control.
My physical practice was nonexistent, as my mind was the thing that needed work.
I resorted to another walk, light stretching, and two massages, instead.
This was also the day that the difference between expectation and intention became crystal clear to me- as part of my brain funk had to do with disappointment with myself for not feeling clear and inspired.
Once I had this AH HA moment, I was able to take back the reigns to my wandering thoughts, rather than be a victim to them.
I had a hang over from anxiety the day before, and was left with remnants of angst throughout the day.
However, I felt much lighter than the day before- and not quite as out of control mentally.
I enjoyed a walk in the morning, a gentle practice that actually had some flow to it, and spent most of the day by the pool reading.
I also busted out my journal and wrote for a long time, which helped to untangle existing question marks on my heart.
Although my period was still (surprisingly) in full force, and I still had cramps and bloating- I didn’t feel quite as heavy as the day before.
At this point I’d gotten somewhat used to the physical discomfort of the fast AND my period, and settled into the routine of drinks, supplements, colonics, and massages.
I woke up with the same clear, clean energy as Day 3.
So, naturally I went for a walk and then stepped on my mat for more of a “regular” style practice.
This felt AMAZING, considering I’d barely done more than two or three down dogs in the last week (I was getting really light headed from being inverted due to my dropping blood pressure).
After my morning colonics, I decided to rent a motorbike and go for a drive as I had a bit of cabin fever going on.
I ended up driving for about 3 hours, doing a big loop of the island.
I went to a grocery store to get snacks for breaking the fast in the days to come (yes, this was somewhat torturous), and was so disappointed by what was available.
Even something as simple as nuts had added sugar, palm oil, and preservative.
WHAT THE HELL!?
In the end, I ended up just getting heaps of dragon fruit and papaya from the fruit stands on the side of the road- as there were NO healthy options of whole foods at the store.
I couldn’t believe how utterly exhausted I was simply after driving (and probably also from the midday sun).
Other than my afternoon colonic and evening massage, I was in bed for the rest of the day- day dreaming about the fruit stacked in my fridge.
The other somewhat interesting thing that happened this day was the weird smell that I started producing from my armpits.
Again, funky odors are a part of detoxing.
In a weird way, these things actually made me feel GOOD because they were evidence that yucky stuff was leaving my body.
I slept horribly the night before, which left me feeling sluggish for most of the day.
I was still bleeding, cramping and bloated- which officially made it the longest period I’d had in over 15 years.
I couldn’t believe I even had anything left to bleed at this point, because I was only 96 lbs.
My intention for this day was to try to be absolutely present with all of the sensations that arise, because I knew this would be my last full day of the fast- and who knew when I’d do something like this again.
I did my best to meet myself where I was at, but- truth be told- I was really hungry, and couldn’t wait for it to end.
I my colonics felt especially uncomfortable due to the sensitivity my nether regions from my period.
All in all, I felt heavy and horrible other than a slight burst of energy I got after my afternoon garlic treatment.
I used this burst of energy to go for a walk, and enjoy a short, gentle practice.
Luckily, I fell asleep early and actually slept through the night.
It was funny that I actually didn’t wake up hungry on this day.
Probably because I KNEW I would be breaking the fast in the afternoon.
In other words, my mind had let my body know that this was over soon.
I woke up rested and energetic, ready to start the process of breaking the fast.
This required one last colonic treatment of only warm water (17 L) first thing in the morning.
Followed by a flora rebuilder to be injected through the colonic tube, as well as a probiotic drink.
These were all meant to be done over the next 6 hours- so I still had a half of a day of only water (not even detox drinks or supplements in this time).
After my colonic, I went for a long walk- feeling great in the beginning, but pretty fucking exhausted towards the end.
I managed to make it to exactly the 8 day mark before breaking my fast with papaya.
It was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.
In fact, I actually cried before I put it in my mouth.
My relationship with food will never be the same again.
I think I had a harder time with this than most people.
My body really struggled to accept food again.
Which was torture because I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS, but I simply didn’t have space in my stomach!
After the third day of eating, I actually got sick (throwing up) from trying to eat too much.
I was in bed all day with a headache and nausea.
I ate totally raw for the first four days after.
This meant mostly just papaya salad, regular green salad, papaya fruit, and dragon fruit.
I also had wheatgrass shots during this time, and managed to find raw cashews to munch on in small amounts.
It’s been almost a week since breaking the fast, and I can say that my stomach is still no where near the size it was- but I’m slowly working up the stamina to fit more and more.
Now that I’m in Bali and have access to incredibly beautiful food, I’m still eating all raw- although I’m able to have a larger variety here on a raw diet.
I’m also enjoying refined sugar free, raw deserts- which is making my life complete right about now J
I learned so much from this experience.
Almost too much to articulate (which is why it’s taken me a lot longer than I thought it would just to write this piece!).
But, I’ll do my best to voice what stuck the most.
I’ve already made clear my realization about intention versus expectation- that’s a big one.
And it’s one that I’m really happy to have learned here, before embarking on another fast or retreat of this nature.
As I mentioned above, my relationship with food has totally changed.
I have so much more GRATITUDE for what I consume now, rather than mindlessly eating what sounds and tastes good.
When I catch myself eating really quickly (which is a default of mine), I do my best to slow down and actually feel each morsel.
Another thing I’ve got in the habit of since breaking the fast is silently acknowledging the food I’m about to consume by simply saying (in my head):
“You are nourishing and healing my body. Thank you.”
I make sure to say this with EVERYTHING I consume- even the deserts and treats that are more for my heart than for my body’s fuel.
Another big thing I learned from this experience is that I much prefer to fast on my terms- rather than booking an experience in advance.
What I mean is, every other fast I’ve done has naturally occurred because my body was CRAVING a detox.
Usually I start out juicing, and when that feels good- then I transition into just water.
But it’s always been organic.
This was not.
This was something I planned and booked months in advance.
Although I understand the purpose of doing so, I also think that this way of fasting is not for me.
Well, for one thing- having my period so heavily and painfully during the week made everything that much more intense.
If I were just FEELING into what my body needed- it would NOT be fasting.
However, because it was already booked and paid for- I kind of felt like I HAD to, otherwise it would’ve been a big waste.
In the future, I’d rather FEEL than PLAN.
This leads me to my last take away, and that’s doing regular maintenance on my body, rather than one big radical shift.
What I mean is that instead of having things get so bad that I feel like I want to throw my phone out the window, and to fast for 10 days straight- I’d rather continue with continual detox protocols DAILY, as a preventative measure to having another break down.
I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting regularly for about a year now.
However, after this- I’m more confident in being strict with this practice.
Because, if I’m honest, there were times before where I felt almost guilty about not joining in to eat after 5 pm.
Whereas now, I know that I feel like shit the next day if I eat too late- so I’m not going to do something just because it makes other people comfortable.
Also, I plan on doing weekly detoxes.
This might not mean water fasting every week, but at least all liquid for 24 hours (even juicing is okay) just to give my digestion a chance to slow down.
I’ll also stick to my regimen on water fasting on the New Moon- because that’s a ritual I’ve grown to love.
These smaller detoxes will help keep my body in a clean, healthy, and strong state- rather than pushing it to the point of needing some major cleanse.
Also, when I’m detoxing my body, I will also be detoxing my mind by stepping away from social media once a week, as well.
Putting up more strict boundaries there will help my head stay a little clearer.
That’s not to say that I won’t ever do a long fast again, because I can see it being something that will become a part of my yearly routine.
However, I think that by doing the maintenance in between- I won’t feel like I NEED it as much as I needed this last one.
Plus, I now feel totally comfortable doing it on my own.
So, I probably wouldn’t go back to a detox center again- unless something came up with my health to where I thought it would be better if I was monitored.
Overall, I’m so grateful to have committed to this experience.
It was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever WILLINGLY done.
But that’s the beauty of it.
Now that I’ve conquered it, I feel like I can fly.
I feel incredibly vulnerable when I’m teaching yoga, as I’m offering my interpretation of an extremely sacred (not to mention ancient) practice.
It’s intimidating as hell.
And, as someone who’s had an ongoing struggle with simply being vulnerable at all- teaching did NOT come easily to me.
A limiting belief I’ve carried with me throughout most aspects of my life of “I’m not good enough,” coupled with the fear of putting myself out there- held me back from offering regular classes for nearly a YEAR after my first YTT.
I would actually black out with fear when I’d get up in front of a class.
I’d go as far as to say I might have even HATED it when I first started.
However, given all the knowledge the practice itself offers us- I decided to strip down my fear, sit with it & understand it a little more.
I realized the root of it was simple:
I’m afraid people won’t like my class.
Once I faced that truth, I realized something pretty dang obvious.
That WILL happen!
There will be plenty of people who will walk into my class once, and then never again.
Not because there’s anything wrong with ME as a person or as a teacher, but simply because it didn’t resonate with them.
It’s the same way that we don’t connect with EVERY person we come in contact throughout life, right?
I had to learn that although I can’t control people’s reactions to what I’m sharing- what I CAN control is the extent to which I show up as an instructor.
For me this means putting genuine energy & thought into creating SAFE & loving sequences.
It means creating, and then holding, a space where people can learn without judgment or fear.
It means leaving my own shit outside, and letting the time be just for the students.
The reality is that even when I show up in these ways, there will be still be people who don’t like it, or don’t return.
And that’s okay.
Because I know i did my best in that moment.
That’s not to say their feedback isn’t valuable, because it certainly is and I always welcome it.
But the reality is that you just can’t please everyone.
All of these feelings have been unearthed again when I accepted the offer to teach on Alo Moves.
This was an opportunity that I actually spent time manifesting into reality for about six months prior to receiving the email from them- so, I’m not saying I wasn’t thrilled.
Because I was.
I was beyond excited.
But I was also beyond afraid.
Being on a platform with so many INCREDIBLE teachers started to excavate that same “I’m not good enough,” mentality, which- in turn- let my fear of not being liked get really loud once again.
When I thought about how my classes were going to be just be out there, on the internet for anyone and everyone to experience, watch…to judge.
This fucking terrified me.
However, given that I’d already gone through this same process as a new teacher, I was able to handle it with the tools I accumulated all those years before.
Rather than letting my fear hold me back from saying YES and showing the hell up- I let it challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone with as much confidence as I could channel.
That’s not to say I wasn’t still scared the first day I stepped onto set.
Because I was.
I was shaking and sweating.
A jumble of nerves.
So, I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that I’m capable.
I reminded myself that I poured MONTHS of planning, energy, preparation and LOVE into each class.
I reminded myself that although I’ll undoubtedly make mistakes, I am showing up as my best self in this moment now.
And that’s the most I can do.
I reminded myself that being afraid is okay.
In fact, these nerves are a GOOD thing- whether you’re a brand new teacher, or whether you’re a season vet in the industry.
Because it means you CARE.
Since releasing the classes, I’ve had to remind myself of all this all over again.
Most importantly, I’ve had to remind myself of the notion that I can’t please everyone.
For example, there’s been feedback from one person saying it was the best class they’ve ever taken, and they loved the cues and pace.
Then there's someone who said they thought it was too slow, and confusing
Another who said it was too fast, as they prefer to hold each pose longer.
One person who wrote that they prefer a teacher not to talk so much, while another said they wish I said more.
You get the point.
Again, all of this feedback is absolutely VALUABLE.
I appreciate honesty- always.
The key is taking what works, and leaving the rest.
Imagine if I tried to take it ALL on?
Not only would I be stretched in a million different directions- but I’d have also lost my own authentic voice in the meantime.
And then what?
Well, my classes would likely resonate with even LESS people.
But, more importantly, they wouldn’t even resonate with me- likely leaving me feel unfulfilled, unconfident, and confused.
I remember when I first started teaching- I was still going to studio classes regularly.
This was in California, where there are a TON of killer teachers.
Plus, I have an advanced practice- so I would attend advanced classes with seasoned instructors.
I remember how it seemed to effortless for them- sequencing, cuing, adjusting, demonstrating, including a consistent theme, the music- ALL of it just felt seamless.
And, although the class felt amazing, I’d usually walk away thinking:
How the hell do they do that?!
I’m over here just trying to make sure I remember the whole sequence correctly.
I found it really overwhelming.
Clearly returning to that limiting belief:
“I’m not good enough to do this.”
As I mentioned before, I had to untangle a lot of bull shit mentally in order to step into my personal power and find my voice as a teacher.
I needed to work on flipping my perspective.
Understanding that, sure, that class might’ve seemed perfect- but, guess what?
That teacher also started from the beginning, too!
The difference between them and me wasn’t that they were “better.”
It was the fact that they had TIME and EXPERIENCE under their belts.
And the fact that they believed in themselves.
I’m writing this piece, because I get a lot of new teachers asking me how to begin.
How to conquer their fears.
How to find their voice.
Based on my experience, the advice I want to give to you is this:
Develop a dedicated self-practice (if you haven’t already).
I believe this is crucial, because it helps reveal what YOU want to teach.
Rather than regurgitating other people’s cues and sequences, you’ll experience what YOU’RE excited to share.
FEEL into even the most familiar postures.
This has helped me with my cuing, immensely.
Because, once again, instead of just memorizing and repeating what you’re “supposed” to say- you’re explaining it from YOUR experience.
Get curious about even the most familiar postures.
This goes with the idea of feeling into them.
Shift your weight slightly differently than you might in the most traditional variation, close your eyes, wiggle a little, etc.
Notice what comes up.
Notice what resonates.
Practice on friends, family, and other teachers FIRST.
Practicing your classes on people you trust, and people who trust you creates a safe space for you to learn how to refine your craft BEFORE offering paid classes.
This is purely my opinion, but I just don’t believe most 200 YTT are ready to teach as soon as they graduate.
Especially because most programs are SO condensed now.
I forced my friends and family to take my classes a million and one times (I still do!), so that I could ask them how it felt in their bodies, ask for their feedback, and most importantly- make sure what I create feels safe and accessible.
As someone who’s naturally quite flexible- it’s important for me to get that feedback from people who have different body types.
Sure, it’s okay to have a challenging class- but I also want it to feel ACCESSIBLE with appropriate modifications and adjustments.
Say YES, even when it scares the shit out of you.
Same as most things, the only way you get better is by PRACTICING.
So, even if you don’t feel “ready,” say yes.
It will be SUPER uncomfortable at first (maybe even for weeks or months), but the more you say YES, the easier it will become.
Way easier said than done, right?
Yeah, well this will get easier the more you say YES, and the more confident you get in YOUR practice.
Sometimes it means exuding confidence on the outside, but freaking the fuck out on the inside.
And that’s okay.
At this stage, you will have prepared and practiced your sequence.
And you will be showing up with the intention of offering something heartfelt.
Believe in that.
Believe in your ability.
Share how YOU want to share.
Again, feedback is important- but it’s important to remain true to yourself as you take what works, and leave the rest.
For instance, if someone tells you after class that they didn’t feel warm enough to enter Warrior III that early on in the sequence- that’s something worth considering, right?
Especially because it touches on the SAFETY aspect of the class.
However, if someone tells you they wish you’d talk about more spirituality topics, because your classes feel too physical- then you need to ask yourself if that feels true to what you want to share.
Perhaps you don’t have anything spiritual to offer at the moment.
That doesn’t make you a “bad” teacher.
It just means, maybe your style isn’t compatible for this particular person.
Rather than forcing yourself to speed up your spirituality process in order to be something you’re just NOT yet- let it come organically.
And, remember, maybe this won’t ever be something you’re comfortable sharing when you teach.
Continual study: Stay in the student seat.
The same way our yoga practice is limitless, so is our teaching practice.
We’re never done learning.
And, if you think you have it all figured out- then that’s probably when you need a refresher course the most.
I personally save a chunk of cash every year for a training, immersion, or some sort of continual education.
This doesn’t mean you need to do a destination course or retreat, or something super fancy every year.
Maybe it means you invest in an online module.
Or invest in a 3-day immersion in your hometown.
Yes, self-study is crucial.
But I also think fully sitting in the student seat regularly is very important in order to keep growing.
Remember that we're always evolving.
That being said, your teaching likely will, too.
What you want to offer when you first start out might be COMPLETELY different to what you want to offer in five years.
If you're anything like me, you might have trouble surrendering to this natural ebb and flow- and that's okay.
Just try to become aware of it.
If your practice shifts, embrace it.
Know that it's shifting in that direction for a reason.
In turn, the students who are attracted to you/your style might also change.
Again, that's okay.
As long as you're teaching from that aligned, authentic place- you'll draw in those who resonate.
Whoa- that’s a lot!
But guess what, if I can do it- you sure as hell can.
And that's the point to all of this:
There's no difference between you or I.
One of us is not "better" than the other.
Realize that our different experiences and offerings just mean that, as a whole, we have the chance to reach even MORE people simply by being, and showing up exactly as we are.
There’s a reason you’re on this path of teaching.
So take the time to figure out that reason, figure out what fires you up- and SHARE that with the world.
You’ve got this.
As most of you know, I’ve been struggling with a variety of physical and mental health issues lately- ones which are very heavily linked to one another (but that’s an entire post altogether).
Since being pretty public about these topics, I’ve had so many people (mostly women) reach out to me to let me know they’re going through similar things- or have gone through it before.
In such messages, one of the most common things they write is:
“Thank you for talking about this. I don’t feel like enough people express their struggles. I’ve been dealing with the same feelings lately, and I haven’t known how to get through it.”
After receiving hundreds (literally hundreds) of messages like this, I’ve felt a variety of emotions come up.
Comfort in knowing we’re never truly alone, even if we feel like we are.
Sadness for their pain.
And confidence in my choice to show up authentically through ALL the stages of my life- even if the vulnerability feels a little awkward or embarrassing at the time.
All of that being said, I wanted to share a few tools I’ve leaned into during this “dark period.”
As I’ve reiterated before, I’m not a professional in these areas, in that I don’t have a background or any sort of credentials in psychology, nor health care.
I’m simply sharing a few things that have brought even just a GLIMMER of light into each day, in hopes that you find that same spark yourself if you feel like you’ve lost it, too.
I won’t dwell on this one too long, as it speaks for itself. I put this at the top of the list, because I think turning to a professional is the safest option to ensure you’re getting proper care.
However, I fully recognize that putting this option at the top of the list is proof of my privilege.
Because, let’s be real- therapy is NOT cheap.
I get that.
I found it hard to part with a few hundred extra dollars a month at the beginning, as well.
But then I realized that not only is my mental health is invaluable, but I’m also fortunate enough to have that money- so why not INVEST in my total well-being?
I should also mention that it took me a few tries to find someone that I actually clicked with, which made the financial aspect feel even MORE wasteful.
But, damn, now that I’m working with a woman I know I can trust and reach out to at any time- it’s made the other attempts so worth it.
I feel totally held by her.
I feel totally heard by her.
And I feel totally safe with her.
Nothing compares to that.
It's also important to note that therapy can come in all shapes and sizes.
Find a method that works for YOU.
Personally, I've found acupuncture to be just as beneficial for me as the sessions with my therapist.
The acupuncturist I see also holds a super safe and nurturing environment, that truly encourages HEALING.
Plus, she hooks me up with crazy herb concoctions that taste like ass, but do a great job at kicking my yeast infections to the curb.
Point being, maybe talk therapy isn't your thing.
Maybe acupuncure isn't either.
I'd just like to encourage you to see what's out there, before dismissing the idea of tending to your mental health.
Insert eye roll here, right?
I know, I know, everyone always talks about this idea of focusing on what you’re grateful for.
And, I don’t know about you, but when I’m that down and someone says something like that- all I can think of is:
How the fuck is seeing the beauty in a random flower, or a sunset ACTUALLY going to magically cure me right now?
I’ll be straight with you- it doesn’t work like that.
It’s a practice- a process that, overtime, helps to shift your overall perspective.
Here’s my take on it- it’s OKAY to feel all those feelings associated with darkness (sadness, pain, hurt, anger, resentment, etc).
In fact, I think it’s important to feel them all.
The danger lies not having those reactions to events.
The danger lies in dwelling in these spaces.
The longer we dwell, the more all of those yucky feelings fester and thrive off of one another- and the more difficult it becomes to pull ourselves out of it.
Because, let’s be realistic here, it’s a helluva lot easier to stay in that space of moping, pity, whatever you want to call it- rather than fight to pull ourselves out of it.
Incorporating a gratitude practice into my day-to-day life has forced me to see light in areas where I might otherwise only see gloom.
I use Five Minute Journal (the app) every morning when I wake up.
There are also hardback copies you can buy, as well- but given my lifestyle, having it on my phone has been super handy.
Since I’ve had my (let’s just call it) break down, usually the first thing I write to be grateful for every morning is just:
That’s how simple it is.
Some days I find beauty and abundance in most things, while other days I truly struggle to come up with even three.
But, I try.
And I think that’s the point in all of this.
I’ve written about this before, so I won’t go into the details of exactly what this entails for me.
I will say, however, this has helped to keep me grounded during a time of extreme uncertainty.
As I mentioned above, I do Five Minute Journal just about first thing when I wake up.
I avoid checking social media and/or emails until I’ve had even just a short meditation, and full ARRIVAL into the new day.
The great thing about a morning routine is that it’s something I can take with me everywhere, anywhere in the world.
However, there will need to be adjustments made- no doubt.
I was surprised how unsettled I felt a few days ago the first morning I woke up in Bali, simply because I didn’t have my own kettle for my morning tea ritual.
This jolt of annoyance just made me realize how sacred the first few hours of my morning are to me- so I quickly adjusted accordingly.
This one is big.
It’s so important to have people who know what you’re going through.
Then the weight won’t feel quite so heavy.
That being said, I think that as valuable as the online world is- it’s much more important to have support from “real” people in your life.
What I mean is, people you actually KNOW.
People you’ve spent time with, laughed with, cried with, experienced bits of life with.
However, your go-to people might not be in your immediate area.
This when technology is a God send.
I swear, sending long voice notes with my girl friends every day has been enough to make me smile EVERY day.
Even if I’m smiling through the tears.
I’m so grateful for the people around me lifting me up- family, friends, and loved ones.
And I hope you have even just ONE person like this in your life you can rely on.
Let them be there for you, even if you don’t want to.
Let them love you.
This one is very multifaceted, and can be whatever you make of it.
Maybe that means detoxing from social media/technology, relationships, or food.
Whatever it may be- usually these super low moments are a reminder that certain energies we’re letting into our sphere are NOT serving us.
It’s our job to figure out what those are.
And it’s out job to cut them off, or at least phase them out.
It’s pretty simple- does this practice, person, or thing lift you?
If the answer is yes, then keep it.
If the answer is no, then BYE.
If the answer is unclear, then see what happens if you lessen the amount of time you dedicate to this person, place, or experience.
Observe how you feel.
Look, you guys already know I’m vegan.
You know I have a dedicated fasting practice.
So I’m not going too continue to repeat myself there.
Also, you and I are at totally different point in our lives- so I’m not going to tell you what to eat, when to eat, how much of it to eat.
All I’ll say is that remember your body is a vehicle.
The higher quality fuel you put into it, the better it will perform.
Food/eating habits are so connected to depressive states.
We either overeat all the things that we crave, but might not serve us.
Or we don’t eat at all, because there’s just no appetite.
Maybe you don’t experience either of these things.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, just notice what you’re putting into your body during this time.
Notice how it makes you feel physically, energetically, emotionally- not just while eating, but also after.
I find that when I clean up my diet, I FEEL better on all levels.
However, it’s super important to note that if I eat something that “unhealthy” (has refined sugar, is processed, not organic, WHATEVER), and I feel good about eating it- then that’s OKAY.
The last thing you need when you’re depressed or anxious is to put yourself on a strict diet- because that’s just going to cause more worry.
All I’m suggesting is be mindful of what goes in, and how the output feels.
Be gentle and loving with yourself.
Everyone has a movement of choice- whether it’s yoga, surfing, running, hiking, skipping, snowboarding.
DO MORE OF THAT.
Or, if you can’t do MORE, then just do it at all.
I get it, sometimes it’s hard to just get the fuck out of bed.
But that’s when you need it most, I promise.
Even five minutes will help.
Moving your body means you’re moving the energy that’s within you, rather than letting it stay in that stagnate, festering phase.
My go-to movements are yoga (obviously), even if it’s just a couple deep breaths and stretches.
This is seriously my therapy.
Waiting until it cools down- putting in my headphones, listening to voice notes from loved ones, sending them back, and just MOVING all those ruminating thoughts around.
I’m not putting this at the bottom, because I think it should be prioritized last.
I just think it’s important to have at least somewhat of a foundation as far as mental health goes, before extending yourself to others.
We all know the idea of not being able to give from an empty cup, right?
Yeah, well that applies here.
I don’t know about you, but when I fall into a depressive state- I fall hard.
I don’t see nor feel ANY light.
But, then I start to claw myself out.
And after a few weeks, or months, I come back to myself a little more and recognize that OF COURSE there’s hope.
Of course there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s just going to take awhile to get there.
But at least that shred of hope is back.
It’s in this time that I feel comfortable serving others.
What does this mean?
Well, it can mean just about anything.
First of all, I’d suggest letting your act of service also be something that you actually ENJOY doing.
For instance, I miss teaching yoga.
So, I just offered to teach free classes to any women who contact me while I’m in Ubud over the next few weeks.
This feels great for me, because I love teaching.
And it feels great for them- because yoga is fucking awesome, and because it’s not a financial burden.
That’s just a small example.
Essentially, this totally depends on YOU- where you live, what’s needed, you’re skills, interests, etc etc.
Whatever you do- let it come from a place of truly just wanting to give, rather than wanting to get better.
This can be tricky.
And maybe it’ll take a few tries, and a few options to figure out what that means.
But when you know, you know.
You’ll feel it.
It will feel selfless, rather than selfish.
I know, I know- the whole argument that all good deeds are selfish, because they make us feel good in some way (hello, I grew up watching Friends).
I agree with this to a degree.
Although the act might make us feel good, it’s the intention we enter into the act with that matters.
Are you doing it to serve YOU?
Or are you doing it to serve THEM?
Get clear on that before jumping in.
Just a Final Few Reminders:
You’re not alone.
You have the tools AND the answers already within you- it’s just going to take some work to unearth them (and that’s okay!).
Light exists due to the contrast of darkness- it’s there.
Don’t lose faith.
You’ve got this.
Now that I’ve been in the world travel game for almost a decade, I’ve acquired a few tricks to the trade of how the heck to carry my life around on my back.
I went from being the person who brought two GIANT rolling suitcases to Ghana on my first solo trip out of the country, to someone who now survives for months at a time with only a carry-on backpack.
Extensive travel has helped reveal my relationship to STUFF.
Uncovering things that I need versus the things that I simply want.
To make things a little clearer for you guys, I was known as a “girly girl” throughout childhood and into early adulthood.
I prided myself in my extensive shoe collection, and had the perfect outfit for EVERY occasion.
Hair, makeup, and all things glam filled my soul.
Or, at least I thought they did.
Turns out being a somewhat dirty, barefoot grublet actually feels a helluva lot better.
I’d like to say that my first trip abroad changed everything right away- but that’s not the case.
Even though I would grossly over-pack with a million clothing options that I often didn’t wear, or even gave away- it still took awhile for me to adopt more of a “minimalism” mindset that I practice now.
A big shifting point for me was about 6 years ago when I was living in Kenya.
I booked a trip to Indonesia that was meant to be for one month.
But, due to health reasons- I never returned.
I had a three-bedroom apartment in Kenya full of all my THINGS (furniture, dishes, clothes, etc).
Not to mention, I’d only packed for a month (meaning I just had my backpack).
And guess how long I ended up staying?
For over a year.
Although I’d left behind a whole lot of STUFF, I actually had everything I really needed with me.
And damn, that feeling of running around to more than 20 islands in that year with such a light load was liberating as hell.
Here’s the thing, it’s really easy to get caught up in the whole “less is more” mentality when we’re living or traveling abroad.
Everything is a whirlwind of adventure, bliss, and expansion during these times, right?
Which is why I think it’s actually more important to keep these tools and principles in mind when we’re back to living in our day-to-day life.
I don’t know about you, but I find myself to be more susceptible to consumerism when I’m spending extended periods of time in Western countries.
Meaning, if I pack for a trip with this consumer mindset- then I tend to overload my bag with more meaningless nonsense.
As I prepare to leave for my next adventure, I noticed how much I’ve accumulated in the last few months of living in this tiny home.
I did a major purge of my closet, toiletries, and any other bullshit that I simply didn’t NEED.
Once the clutter had dissipated, I felt a little clearer mentally and a little lighter energetically.
Only then did I start to pack for the next few months.
In doing so, I thought that maybe my methodology might be useful to you.
After leading 12 retreats now with people coming from all over the world- I can’t tell you how many times people have complained about over-packing the hell out of their bags, and even leaving PILES of clothes/shoes/etc behind just to lighten their load.
I get it.
I’ve been there.
Which is why I’m writing this now.
So, here we go.
Below are a few tips on how to pack comfortably, yet efficiently for any trip- big or small.
1. Organize and Compact:
Disclaimer, this is NOT sponsored- these products have just been a game changer for me.
PACKING CUBES! I’ve been using E-Bags for years, and have zero complaints. They’re really durable, solid zippers, and can hold A LOT.
Sure, I’m Type A af (so organization just generally makes me feel better).
But, even if you’re not fussed about all that- just know that using the cubes helps to compress everything into a tighter bundle that won’t fall apart if your bag is being thrown around from plane to plane.
The downside is that they're not super cheap.
If buying packing cubes aren't within your budget, then you can even just use reusable (or plastic, if that’s all you have) bags.
Keeping your things folded and contained into smaller bags/cubes will help to maximize the space in your suitcase or backpack.
2. Carry On:
Look, I know I like to be prepared- but this strategy has saved me from quite a few potential disaster situations.
I know most people advise travelers to pack a change of clothes in their carry-on “just in case.”
Well, I actually pack anything that I feel I NEED in my carry-on.
This usually means one full, standard size packing cube with several pairs of bottoms, tops, swim suit (if that makes sense to where I’m going, which it basically always does), and underwear.
This way, if my checked bag gets lost- I can easily and comfortably live off what I have with me.
I also include all of my travel-size toiletries, any herbal supplements that I know I can’t get just anywhere, and electronics.
All in all, I have a large purse and one small backpack.
If you travel with jewelry, I’d always suggest carrying that on, as well.
Although it does feel like quite a bit to haul around with you at the airport- it also kind of shows you how much you really NEED for the trip.
Do you even need to check a bag if you have all that you truly NEED in your carry on?
This is obviously also subjective to the climate of where you’re going.
It’s often easier to pack for the tropics, because it’s all bikinis and light clothing- as opposed to a snow trip that involves thick jackets and extra gear.
The trick here is to simply be intentional with each item you pack.
I can’t say this enough: packing items that are comfortable, easy to layer, and that might have the potential to be used in a variety of ways.
What I mean is, rather than packing a ton of sports bras AND bathing suits, do you have some that can double as BOTH?
I know this is a small example that might not be able to apply to everyone, but it still gives you an idea of the concept.
Layers are also necessary for this reason.
Do you need multiple long sleeve shirts AND multiple sweaters?
Or can just one serve as both?
Lastly, be comfortable!
I know it’s easy to get caught up in the insta-perfect idea of travel with bloggers in their PERFECT outfits, and windblown hair.
When you’re away from home, you’re already out of your comfort zone- why not at least feel cozy in what you’re wearing, right?
This is another common mistake I’ve heard a lot of people voice, especially in the tropics.
Packing things like jeans and/or super tight clothing when it’s boiling hot, and so humid you’re essentially always damp- is not ideal.
Depending on where you’re headed, usually bathers and some sort of loose cover-up is more than enough for weeks on end.
If you’re going someplace more conservative- you can still pack fully covering, loose, and light weight tops and bottoms (I’ve packed only a carry on for India, and I’ve been more than comfortable with what I have).
Keep in mind that you can get your laundry done (or do it yourself) just about anywhere you go!
4. Toiletries and Supplements:
Do you have certain products that you know you won’t be able to find where you’re traveling?
If you have a short trip (one month or less), I’d suggest getting 100 ML dispensers (you can get these at any drugstore/pharmacy), and pouring the contents from your larger containers into the small ones, instead.
If that doesn’t work, then perhaps you can just buy the travel-size option of your product (but that will likely be more expensive than just buying empty containers).
This way, you can carry them on (and maybe even carry on everything on), rather than checking a bag.
In this time, be really clear about what you NEED.
Do you plan on putting on a full face of make up every day before you go to the beach?
Will you realistically blow dry and/or straighten your hair?
Do you need a giant bottle of shampoo?
Or do you need to even wash your hair every day?
Again, probably not.
If you’re not as picky about your products- then know that you can probably buy any toiletry needs wherever you’re going.
Keep in mind, depending on where your trip is, it might be difficult to get natural or organic goods.
But if you’re not bothered about that, then I’d say don’t pack ANY toiletries- and just buy them once you’re there.
Supplements are the same.
If you have certain brands that you know you can’t get just anywhere, then bring those with you.
However, if it’s something more general, you can probably buy it wherever you’re going.
A quick Google search should be able to answer any questions you have about herbs and medications in the country you’re visiting.
5. Feminine Care:
Most people aren’t aware how difficult it can be to actually find tampons in certain countries.
Luckily, my mom is a seasoned traveler- so she warned me about it before I left for Ghana all those years ago.
I was going to be there for 3 months, so I had to pack a SHIT LOAD of tampons.
No, they’re not that heavy- but they take up quite a bit of space.
Fast-forward to today, and all I have to do is pack my Lunette Cup (in my carry on)!
I love this because not only does it save waste, but it also saves a ton of space in my bag!
Plus, no more worrying about hunting for tampons if or when I run out.
This can clearly vary depending on your line of work, and/or if you’re traveling for work.
As someone who works online, and relies on technology to pay the bills- I get it.
One of the best things I did was switch my laptop to the lightest option (this is pricey, but worth it for me), and get an external hard drive.
I also switched to a mirrorless camera (also expensive).
Both of which have significantly dropped the weight of my purse (where I carry my electronics).
But, here’s the thing- if you’re strictly going on holiday with the intention to get away from work- then why pack them at all?
I think the important thing here is to just get clear about how you’ll use these devices, or if you’ll use them at all.
Keep in mind all of the chords, adapters, and batteries that we usually also need to pack in order to just USE them.
It adds up.
It’s also important to note that our phones, iPads, and laptops all have more or less the same functions.
So, decide if you truly NEED all of them.
Do you NEED a camera and a phone with a solid lens?
Do you need a Kindle and an iPad?
Do you need an iPad and a laptop?
Figure out what you’re using each device for in order to know if they’re necessary.
You might think it’s funny for one whole section to be dedicated to sarongs , but it’s only because they can be used for so many things!
If you don’t have a sarong already, I’d suggest getting one before you head off.
They’re great as blanket on the plane, or balled up as a pillow.
They can also serve as a scarf, a wrap around the shoulders, a hair scarf in conservative areas, beach blankets, or towels.
I tie one around my yoga mat so that I can sling it over my shoulder (like a bag strap), and then use it as a sweat towel, strap, or eye cover in my practice.
Similar to what I spoke to earlier with packing clothing that have multiple uses- this is why sarongs are so valuable.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spread them on an airport floor to sleep, or wrapped up in one on a long motorbike drive to not get burned.
They’re lightweight, but also can provide warmth and protection.
Little side note here- it’s very possible where you’re going will sell sarongs for a fraction of the price you can get them at home.
In that case, maybe just buy one prior to take off- and then stock up once you arrive to your destination.
Let’s be real, you’ll probably do a bit of shopping when you’re traveling.
This is important to note for two reasons:
Not only will this likely be cheaper than getting it at home, but it’s also more likely that they have the perfect attire for the area based on weather and culture.
I hope this helps when you’re prepping for your next trip.
I’ll be honest, I’m checking a bag for this trip mostly because I have SO MANY damn supplements at the moment due to ongoing health issues- that there’s just not enough space in my carry on.
But, I’m okay with that, because those are things I actually need right now.
Remember that your needs will be different to mine, and vise versa.
The most important thing to keep in mind is just mindfulness when packing, rather than chucking everything in possible.
You got this.
A practice that has become both controversial and trendy all at once.
I’ve held off from writing this post for awhile for several reasons.
Most of my apprehension simply stems from the fact that I’m not a medical professional (a point that I’ve done my best to drive home in the past).
That being said, I want it to be clear that my intention here is NOT to influence you to do ANYTHING that doesn’t feel right in YOUR body.
But rather, my intention is simply to share my experiences in an effort to connect, and to reveal a little more about what’s going on in my life beyond pretty/curated Insta photos.
I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting for about a year and half now.
This means I’ll only eat between certain hours of the day to allow my body ample time and energy to digest (usually 9 am to 5 pm).
These hours (understandably) shift due to constant travel, changing time zones, etc.
However, I’ve found that after I do a big travel, a 12 – 24 hour fast upon arrival has actually helped my body adapt to the new time zone (in terms of digestion) faster than anything else.
Meaning, this practice has started to feel really grounding for me.
But wait- let’s backtrack a little.
I love food.
And, I’ve always had a healthy relationship with it.
I’ve had an “everything in moderation” approach to what I eat (within a plant based diet) for as long as I can remember.
My parents started a somewhat regular fasting practice a few years back, and- to put it plainly- I thought they were crazy for it.
I had it in my head that I could NEVER deprive myself of food for a day.
Hell, I wasn’t even interested in juice fasting at that time.
I understood the articles I read about health benefits, and I believed the healing miracle stories of friends- but I just didn’t think it was something that I would personally ever get into.
“I could never do that.”
“There’s no way I’d be able to.”
These were all common responses I’d have if the topic came up.
And these responses were what actually caught my attention.
Where exactly were these limiting beliefs stemming from?
I didn’t know- so I decided to dive a little deeper.
This is when my journey with fasting began.
I was the person who HAD to eat at least a little something before morning yoga, because otherwise I’d be “too shaky” (even if the class was at 6 am).
I was the person that would get hangry if I felt the slightest rumble of my tummy.
The person who would NEVER skip a meal.
All of which means, I entered into the world of fasting SUPER slowly.
Meaning, I began just by seeing if I could put off eating right when I woke up (usually around 6 am), to after my morning practice instead.
Not gonna lie, even this was a rough transition for me.
So, I was gentle with myself.
If I felt like I really couldn’t wait until 9 or 10 am to eat, then I’d have a piece of fruit, or another small nibble just to take the edge off.
Overtime, these small nibbles got smaller and smaller, until I was easily able to get to the 9 or 10 am mark without staring at the clock willing it to move faster.
At that point- I added the same practice to the afternoon/evening, not having anything after around 5 pm.
Again, this was difficult.
So, again, I was gentle with myself.
Until it got to the point that not only was it easy, but it was actually what my body was used to and even LIKED.
I inched my way closer to trying a 24-hour water fast slowly but surely.
This meant intermittent fasting, and then having only fruit during eating hours.
To eventually, intermittent fasting with only juice.
And now, a full 24-hours of just water and herbs.
I only just completed my first 24-hour water fast about 6 months ago.
Since then, it’s been a monthly practice (usually on the New Moon).
This means that it took over a YEAR for me to get to the point of water fasting.
Rather than jumping in head first, and then punishing myself for not being able to do it the first time around- I took it super slowly.
I listened to my body, and I honored what it asked of me.
I’d like to be clear in saying that I’m STILL not a happy, zenned out faster.
I’m not that levitating, glowing woman who actually has MORE energy.
I’m that hangry chick in the corner who will bite your head off if you look at me the wrong way.
I say this to let you know that although I still find it difficult at the time, I also feel an immense cleansing and energetic rush in the aftermath.
It’s actually to the point now that my body CRAVES these 24-hour resets each month.
This practice has also revealed a lot to me about my relationship with food- revealing what I need versus what I want, or what I think I need.
I noticed the times in which I wanted to mindlessly munch out of habit, rather than actual necessity of fuel.
Most of all, I cultivated a deeper line of communication with my body.
These are things that might be really dangerous for others, especially those who struggle with any kind of restricted eating.
Which is why I don’t think this is a practice for everyone.
But I do know that it's one for me.
As most of you know, I’ve been struggling with balancing my hormones since getting off birth control for the first time in 15 years.
On top of the tidal waves of emotions coming and going, I’ve also been suffering from chronic (as in 2 – 3 times per month) yeast infections for about half a year now.
Over the last 6 weeks, especially, I’ve had some incredibly low moments- where that heavy darkness felt like too much to hold, and I cried all day just because.
I’ve felt like a visitor in my body, my mind, and my heart.
It’s like I’m not the one in the driver’s seat lately, but rather my imbalanced hormones raging war on anything in their way.
Then, there’s the feeling of constantly having an itch between your legs.
Where I can’t wear a bathing suit or yoga leggings because they’re too uncomfortable.
Let alone ride a bike, or swim, or do anything that will make me sweat a lot.
I’ve seen multiple doctors, and each one just gives me more pills or creams that do help in the moment- but aren’t making any lasting changes.
I started realizing the similarity between this experience and a few years back when I had soy poisoning, which resulted in an insane spike in my estrogen levels.
Doctors wanted to give my pills to “fix” it, when in turn, these medications were only making my poor liver work overtime- which actually just made everything worse.
The more I started to dig into symptoms of Candida overgrowth, the more I started seeing myself in these cases.
This last week has been a breaking point for me, as it’s been so uncomfortable to be in my own body that I just want to sleep all day.
Not only the yeast infection- but now also painful rashes on my face, itchy scalp, and heightened depression/anxiety.
I don’t want to keep popping pills, because clearly they aren’t really helping.
So, I returned to a suggestion my mom had made a few weeks back:
An extended fast in a controlled, healing environment.
I started Googling away, and after a few days of research- I found (what I hope to be) the right place for me.
Next week I’ll be leaving for Thailand, where I’ll undergo a 10-day water (and herbal) fast for Candida overgrowth.
I’m fucking terrified.
I know this is going to be one of the hardest things that’s I’ve willingly done.
And I know that a whole lot of shit is going to come up and out during this time- both mentally and physically.
I also know that this isn’t something I can do in my own home.
Not only do I not have the self-discipline- but I also just don’t think it would be safe for me to be without the supervision and assistance of professionals.
This program includes my own specialist to monitor me, as well as daily colon therapy, massages, gentle yoga, and meditation.
I’ve decided to take the time as a full detox- meaning no social media or blogging either.
That being said, I do plan on documenting my experience- perhaps to share, but perhaps just keep for myself.
All in all, the time is for ME.
And the time is for healing (NOT weight loss).
Isn’t it wild how a person who owns and operates a retreat business has never been on one before?
Well, that’s about to change in a pretty radical way.
Here’s to a new year filled with health, abundance and facing my fears.
I’m scared shitless, but I’m so damn ready it’s not even funny.
Bring it on.