a mindful traveler. Artist. Yogini. My life pursuit is to wander mindfully, grow spiritually, and create beautiful things because it makes me happy. Mindful travel means that interactions with locals are not all transactional. This is surprisingly difficult in today’s world where travel is dead and tourism thrives. It means practicing a culture of generosity and opening the heart to give infinite favors while seeking nothing in return. As a guest in a foreign country, a traveler can offer a perspective that may be invaluable to a local business person, and they undoubtedly have insight that is unknown to us. As I traveled for nine months in Asia, I painted murals, taught yoga and sat down with people to discuss suggestions and give feedback. These simple things allowed me to offer something of value in return for something I value greatly: deeper connections with humans of diverse backgrounds who can help me to learn and grow in new and unpredictable ways.
For many people, traveling for a year seems impossible. I started out planning to travel for a minimum of three months, and then see how it went. Over a year later, I can say that it went well. The first step is the hardest. Once you're out there doing it, things become easier and you can think about your travels in smaller more manageable chunks. I've started Defiant Wanderings because my nomadic life means I am defiant of the cookie-cutter life of 9 to 5 jobs, mortgages, and retirement plans. I defy my society’s expectations for me as a woman, to bear the brunt of household chores and child rearing. I try every day to defy the systemic oppression, against myself and others, that has been internalized inside me.
As a solo-female traveler for the past year (and still going strong!), most of it on a foreign continent, I have gained some experiences, anecdotes and insights that I want to share. I've learned a lot, some of them concrete tools that are thousands of years old and can bring internal peace and happiness. Buying a motorcycle in Vietnam and riding alone for thousands of kilometers, staying in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal and learning practical tools to improve myself through meditation, and living out of a backpack for nine months are just a few examples of experiences that came with lessons that I want to share. I want to share them not only with those of you who are traveling and maybe hope to repeat my experience, but mostly for those of you who have no plans to go to these places and seek the same things I found. Here they are for you, wherever you are. They are valuable, and they may change you, as they did me.