How this blog started…and why
At a crossroads and a little bruised and battered, the end of 2014 saw my life change course rather dramatically. I went from having a highly-regarded job in politics and being in a serious relationship to being jobless overnight and having my cherished relationship breakdown rather unexpectedly. All of this within a matter of a month. I honestly felt broken. I was absolutely torn as to what my next step should be. In the rat race, I had a host of opportunities at my feet. Money to invest in a house, the opportunity to further my studies, a good-looking CV for another potential job. But, like so many of us, I also had that inner voice niggling at me to go travel and see the world.
Given the cards I was dealt, I could no longer use my job or relationship as an excuse not to go…I didn’t have either of them anymore! I had procrastinated long enough. The pull of my heart far outweighed anything else. And so I booked a one-way ticket departing Melbourne on 8 April 2015, with the plan of having no plan, and doing it all solo…the way I had always envisioned it. I backpacked for seven months, visiting sixteen countries. I didn’t intend on travelling with that whole ‘I’m going to go and find myself and do some soul-searching’ mentality. I was going purely for the adventure! But as cliché as it sounds, I rediscovered my soul and my passions on that trip. In that seven months, I obviously had a hell of a lot of time to think but, even more importantly, a hell of a lot of time to stop thinking and just be. Something a lot of us struggle with in the daily grind of life. Something that falls by the wayside as we struggle to get ahead, only to let our dreams take a back seat and fade into the background, only to become a ‘what if’.
Well, 2015 was a year of growth and transformation for me. Surrendering had never felt so good. I came to appreciate the trials I’d been faced with and learnt to laugh at the convoluted ways in which life works its magic. It was the year my life changed for the better. I made some significant alterations in my life. Along my travels, I was constantly reminded of the sense of nourishment and joy that is provided by the things that are free in life. No longer would I find comfort in the false sense of security a ‘prestigious’ job would provide. No longer would the temptation of money distract me from pursuing what I am truly passionate about. No. I wanted to be living out my passions, not visiting them on the yoga mat twice a week for an hour at a time. So whilst sitting contemplatively in a solar dome in the Scottish Highlands, I had that light bulb moment.
A stark difference to what I was previously doing in my professional life, I made the decision right then and there that I would learn to teach yoga. I want to have as positive an impact on others as my first yoga teacher had on me. I want to encourage people to go about their lives in a more conscious manner. When we’re on the mat, we become conscious about the asana and the breath, bringing them into harmony, mindful of being kind to ourselves. And that conscious effort and kindness need not only apply on the mat, but in daily life. And whilst I had spent the past fourteen years being a vegetarian, mid-way through my travels, I decided to transition to vegan following my encounter with a community in the remote mountains of northern Portugal. I was inspired by their off-grid way of life, touched by the compassion and goodwill these people embodied.
And so as for the taboo part of the blog, I hope to cultivate kindness, understanding, compassion and tolerance. My genuine intrigue in these alternative lifestyles was really kick-started when I began frequenting nudist-friendly resorts. Striking up ‘why, when, how-type’ conversations. Acquainting myself with the individuals that adopt these ‘unconventional’ lifestyles, listening to their stories, and learning about the lifestyle itself prompted me to seek to understand and learn more. This person could be your neighbour. Your aunt. Your uncle. They are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. And just like everyone else, they too have dreams, interests, hobbies. They travel, they love, and they feel. And so this blog aims to shed light on these lifestyles. To educate. To inform. To share the stories of these people in the hopes of spreading awareness. To broaden perspectives and change perceptions for the better.
On my travels, I became free. I freed my mind from the constraints of the ego. There’s a quote that alludes to travel being the only thing you buy that makes you richer, and that’s why travel is such an integral part of my blog. I returned home at the end of October 2015 with a new perspective on life, with renewed vigour and with a defiant sense of purpose. I had more direction and more passion. And so I really do hope to use this blog as a platform to inspire change for the better. In sharing my stories and experiences, I hope to empower others to listen to their heart, to see with non-judging and compassionate eyes. Since being home from my travels, I couldn’t help but notice the positive impact my change in lifestyle and perspective was having on those around me. I observed that my journey at least encouraged them to look at things from a different perspective.
So whilst the blogosphere was previously one of the last places I thought I’d find myself, countless numbers of people have encouraged and recommended that I start a blog. And the more I learnt about blogging, the more appealing it seemed as a platform for spreading awareness. The positive impact my decisions are making on my loved ones has been enough motivation for me to extend that to whoever is wanting support, motivation or information. To whoever is willing to listen and share. To whoever is merely intrigued by the topics addressed in this blog. I know people say that one person can’t change the world, but changing the world starts with each and every one of us. And if I can have a positive impact on just one person, that one person can then have a positive impact on another, and so on and so forth, creating a ripple effect. And that is the biggest motivation for me. I have seen this in train with my own eyes. We are all interconnected. We are powerful. We can make a difference. And so I am here to make a difference, in my own unique way. From the most compassionate place in my heart. Most of the time, the people who inspire us are your everyday people just going about their business. Whether it’s a work colleague, a friend, or a stranger. They do something in a manner which touches us. Changes us. Inspires us. And so, if I am to inspire anyone, even just one person, I want to make sure that I am inspiring for the better. I will, at least, be the change I hope to see in the world.