By Guest Blogger: Danielle Hicks
A Seed is Planted
Growing up in a small rural town in Virginia I'd daydream about the future of who I wanted to be, where I might go, and how I'd live. I was eight years old when my dad proposed the idea to my mom to drive my sister and me to his hometown Brooklyn, NY. It was our first road trip together, just the girls with dad. We stayed with our Grandmother who shared many memories and pictures. We attended a family reunion and met a new family. We saw Lady Liberty and mimes that mesmerized! While having so much fun, I had no idea my feet could hurt so much from walking! From that time on, I was wanderlust.
Fast forward to present day; it was a road trip on the way back from Nashville, Tennessee. My husband and I wanted to continue this freedom that we could feel when being on the road and exploring someplace new. At the time, I operated a hair salon business while he worked from the office as a Software Engineer. I'm now taking a break from the salon to discover new possibilities while he works remotely from the road.
In a short time of our decision, we found our dream vehicle. It's a 1985 Volkswagen Westfalia Vanagon. With its age, it comes with stories. It's gone to Europe with the first owner, and it's just two years older than we are.
"How am I going to keep up my yoga practice?" That was just one of the questions within me. I had become quite adaptable to my self-practice and discipline over the previous years. Although what lies ahead would prove to be some of the most challenging aspects I have faced with regards to my practice and personal space. What I was going to miss most was my beloved teacher. Just months before I had begun going to a shala learning the Ashtanga Yoga method. I was determined to continue practicing regularly, which I found creative ways to fulfill. Even in stressful situations like frigid cold, drizzling rain, little biting bugs called "no see-ums," rainwater leaking into the tent room where I was practicing. Those first few months on the road were a great test of endurance, willingness, and dedication.
Due to this incredible opportunity, I have visited and practiced at many Ashtanga yoga shalas. In a lot of ways, it feels like a new yoga journey has begun for me. It's been an honor to meet and learn with teachers I highly respect.
Even with the wanderlust, the desire to settle down pulls me. Maybe it's the craving for something familiar and grounding or the question "Is this place meant to be?" Surprising to me as I didn't think I would get attached to certain places. Letting go is difficult when you begin to love a place for reason unexpected. Travel is helping me to re-evaluate what matters to me most and what is essential for a happy life.
One gains clarity with a journey of discovering self from a new perspective. It's showing me everything I must look at, so I grow beyond the boundaries and embrace my fullest expression.
I feel so grateful for having the aid of a spiritual yoga practice. If it weren't for that, I'd be in a different place today. I have visions and aspirations of sharing that healing knowledge and wisdom back into the world.
The Road to Now
It was ten years ago I googled "Yoga". I came to yoga to improve my health and find joy again. As a kid, I loved doing gymnastics, so I felt akin to yoga immediately. After some years I naturally committed to practicing yoga as my primary focus and stopped splitting it up among other physical activities. The power of yoga is undeniable in body mind and soul, and the healing continues. It was what I was looking for and didn't even know it.
Having this opportunity to travel the country is a great way to challenge ourselves creatively.
With my husband/partner of ten years behind the camera eye and me doing yoga, we capture and explore nature, landscapes, architecture, the city, and its people.
Doing yoga in a public setting gets me out of my comfort zone, and that is fresh and enjoyable to do. I approach the place and setting with the utmost respect, for that moment it's sacred space. Any fear can dispel, and everything grows quiet. With excitement there is lightness. A sense of unity expands the meaning and purpose of why I am there. Through these new experiences, I'm learning to do what I love wholeheartedly and without hesitation.
Somedays I don't have time for a full practice due to our travel schedule. On those days you will find me on the floor of the van folding, twisting, and getting into the practice as we head down the road. Living this way has proven that I am capable of greater flexibility, discipline, self-confidence, and serenity and it has been eye-opening. Gentleness and understanding lead me to see the work I must do so I become the vision I see for myself. It's not about changing our entire lives in one instant, but it's in the small everyday possibilities and situations. Just bringing one idea to life is uplifting and gives you momentum to continue. I have seen this for myself and by connecting to yogis everywhere through social media. Initially, I avoided sharing these aspects of my practice on there. I challenged myself to share anyways to find some connection with other yogis. The generous words of loving-kindness helped me to untangle insecurities and doubt. It wasn't long before I befriended a community of supportive relationship.
Traveling has been the next natural path to take. I don’t have any children in my life right now, but I want to give this experience all that I can. It can be easy to forget how blessed we indeed are. When I wake up each day, I intend to do so with a grateful heart, to feel gratitude for all the gifts that are in my life right now.
I am available for classes, workshops, & events. It's opportunities such as collaborating and sharing what I love that motivates me. I hope I get the chance to meet some of the inspiring yogis I've gotten to know through social media.
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