As I am writing this blog, I’m at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam waiting to board a plane to Bangkok, Thailand. It’ll be a 17-hour journey with a short layover in China. A long trip, but it’s ok, because I’m on the road again! This will be my third trip, 4th continent and 10th country since I started this journey in July 2016. Wow.
The past few months, people have frequently asked me why and how I do it. Why do you travel so much? How can you afford such long trips? Some people even thought I was on a never-ending holiday. So to clear some things up, I figured I could write a post about my WHY and answer some of your questions.
Why do I travel?
My travels started because I had a wish. A wish to bring movement to every child. I wanted to write, share stories and make the importance of movement more clear to people. Bring awareness for what I believe is important. And so I started to combine my three favorite things: teaching, writing and traveling.
The truth is, by now it (working/traveling) has become my life. And I am loving it. Sometimes I don’t like it. Sleeping in crappy beds, waking up with a 100 mosquito bites all over your body, witnessing animal cruelty or people living in the worst conditions. But since this has become my life, bad days are a part of it. Everybody has them and so do I. It’s just not the bad things we actually show to others on social media. I guess what I am trying to say is: It is not all as spectacular as it might seem. I am living my life, just like everyone else. I only happen to live it in Brazil the one day and then Bangkok the next. And for this I feel extremely lucky every day.
Teaching Yoga on the beach in Pichilemu, Chile
How do I do it?
Following your dreams means you have to make choices. I choose to save my money for my travels by not owning a house, not spending it on clothes and by getting rid of most of my stuff. I choose to save money on my trip by staying in hostels or try couchsurfing (both great ways to meet other travelers & interesting locals), cooking my meals instead of eating out and taking 10-hour bus rides instead of planes. When I’m traveling I am most certainly not always on a holiday. I usually get up early, do the same morning routine as always and work, work, work. Unfortunately, I sometimes miss out on the most beautiful tourist spots, because I don’t have the time or the money. But nevertheless, I love this lifestyle, because it means I can really immerge in a culture and live the life of local people, which also benefits my writing.
Another way to save money, get to know locals and learn more about a culture is volunteering at the places where I want to visit schools and meet educators. I usually try to volunteer at educational organizations, but in some countries it’s more difficult than others (it depends on the rules concerning education and working with children). For example, I’ve taught yoga classes and worked with a film director in Pichilemu, Chile, but also cleaned and welcomed guests at a hostel in Austin, Texas. Usually I volunteer about 4 hours a day, after which I have the rest of the day to focus on Moving Educators.
Teaching at Rosemary’s Dream in Florianópolis, Brazil
Sometimes work comes to me in unexpected ways. While staying at a hostel/empowerment center in Florianópolis, Brazil, it came to my knowledge that the center was organizing an activity day for the local children. The afternoon would consist of them exploring the lush jungle surrounding the hostel, creating artwork and practicing yoga. I ended up teaching a dance/yoga/meditation class to the children and adults that were present. It was a lot of fun!
Meditating in Florianópolis, Brazil
What is up next?
Now I’m almost off to Thailand. There is a lot happening with Moving Educators this year. Slowly I’m turning the project into a foundation to support movement for children around the world. I’ve been working towards these goals for years and it is finally happening! And now it is not just me anymore. I have already found a fantastic board of directors and enormously passionate, qualified and awesome people to do the work with me. After years of doing it all by myself, it’s really wonderful to be surrounded by people that support my mission, but also inspire me, help me focus and improve my plans. The aim is to go online upcoming September.
One of the first steps now is this visit to Thailand. I’m going to do research on movement education for children and I will visit schools, starting with an organization called Thai Child Development, a foundation that supports underprivileged children.
Hopefully you will keep on following my adventures here and on social media!
Many thanks to Juan for being an amazing host in Chile, Rosemary’s Dream for inviting me to teach the class and Benjamin for taking such great photo’s!