Recently, someone asked me to tell them who I was. I did what most people would do and gave this person a list: I'm a yoga teacher, a graduate student, a studio manager, a personal assistant...blah, blah, blah. It's a seemingly simple question that most of us have no idea how to truly answer. In Western society we have been conditioned to define ourselves by the work we do. I have never been able to accept this, although it has taken me some time to understand my inability to conform. I certainly tried with all of the different career paths and jobs I worked hard to get only to turn around and quit them all. All of these experiences, however, have led me exactly up to this point where I am on the verge of another nonconforming adventure. So who am I really?
Most 30-something-year-olds are planning for their futures-a house, a family, a career-and there are certainly some aspects of all of those things that I want too. Almost two years ago though I made a life changing decision that sparked a sense of adventure that has only grown. Luckily, before all of this I made another life changing decision that led me to meet my partner, and the love of my life, who also shares this craving for adventure. In August 2017 we packed our SUV to the brim and left New York for Colorado. Our lives were comfortable, safe and ordinary to say the least. Everything we owned was either sold, donated or tossed in the garbage and we only took what we needed with us. This was by far one of the most freeing experiences of my life.
After about a month on the road we landed in Boulder, CO, which we hardly knew anything about at the time. I started graduate school at Naropa University, a contemplative school started by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa. I also became extremely immersed in the yoga community here where I teach at numerous studios and also manage one. It didn't take long after being here, however, that I realized we settled into a place that felt more like a bubble than it did a community. Our first year here was a little rocky, but we made it work and even adopted a puppy into our family that summer. Much to our surprise Summer 2018 presented us with another opportunity to travel, this time with our blue heeler pup Zoey. Once again we packed up the same SUV and drove back to New York. From New York we drove to Portland, OR with many stops along the way and then traveled the Coastal Highway in California. We took this to San Francisco and then eventually drove back to Boulder after spending another month in the car and traveling over 8,000 miles. After that the Boulder bubble felt nothing short of claustrophobic.
So here we are January 2019 and planning for our next trip this summer, which includes an RV, selling everything once again and leaving Boulder. I graduate in May and will spend a couple months after that working to save money and get clear on our intentions for this trip, I've learned a lot of things about myself over the past couple of years, especially about what's actually important to me. After spending numerous evenings last summer curled up next to my partner and our dog in the back of our car I realized those were the moments I felt most alive. I have learned to embrace my desires for travel and adventure, rather than forcing myself to live a life that society deems "normal."
I realize that on the surface living in Boulder and teaching yoga might sound like a dream come true. Why would I want to give that up? On the other hand, why would I want to settle?