What Solo Travel (and Yoga) Has Taught Me

What Solo Travel (and Yoga) Has Taught Me

To thrive. To flourish.

To take all that I am, and everything I’ve encountered, and to blend them into something new. To use what I’ve been given, and to nourish it so it reaches its highest and furthest potential.
This is what I’m taking away from my current travel experiences coming to a brief hiatus as I return home slightly earlier than planned for Christmas.

‘We are the sum of all of our past experiences“, they say and so, I am a unique blend of everything and everywhere I have been. Everyone I’ve encountered. And all that currently surrounds me.

These past 5 months have been an incredible journey. A journey through some of the most beautifully stunning and culturally rich places I’ve ever been. A journey through some of the most difficult emotions and mental limitations I’ve grown accustomed to placing on myself. A journey out of my comfort zone, out of my perception of comfort zones…
A journey with myself, by myself, to myself.

To Open Up

Everyone I’ve encountered along the way has shaped me somehow, just as I have (however minutely) impacted their journey. I’ve opened up in ways I was barely even aware was possible – I’ve learnt that remaining open is to become malleable to new experiences. My journey with yoga has allowed me to open. Open up the channels of energy I had allowed anxiety to close. Engage in open communication. Open and honest interactions, softly allowing the essence of myself I lost somewhere along the way between puberty and the end of my college years to return, frightened as it was of what others would think, what they would see….
I now know how little any of that matters. I not only know it, but I live it.
Because here’s the thing.

Travelling can be difficult, but it’s even more fucking difficult if you hate yourself.

Nobody wants to talk to the frowning weirdo in the corner who glances at herself in the reflection of every shiny surface and glares jealously at the big groups of new travel-friends all having fun at the bar. Sure, they might have issues, but nobody on a trip is going to want to be bogged down with some stranger’s lack of self-esteem, lack of balance and life lived in fear of the world around them.
We’re all here to see as much as we can, mate, it’s up to you to hold yourself together long enough to get there.

To Be Steady

And what is travelling, when you do it right, but living your life and moving, discovering, remaining and being yourself somewhere other than in your own home? Changing surroundings beg the need for a constant and steady spirit to successfully move through them, and so I’ve found a kind of satisfactory balance here somewhere in the midst of all this movement.

To Take Things Less Seriously

Taking yourself too seriously is not an option when every unknown turn in a new city could lead you into anxiety-inducing situations. Trusting yourself becomes the number one priority, and your own judgement becomes the only thing that really leads the way when you leave home with no particular direction or plan – you learn to just go with it. Taking things less seriously, but ensuring you remain steady within it. Humbly balancing out what we have, moving through it with grace and ease, going where we can and taking our bodies and minds on a modest journey through the bigger picture.

Because the bigger picture will always be the bigger picture, and we will always be just one little pixel in that grand tapestry that creates our perception of the images around us.

Our job is simply to ensure that our pixel shines as bright, as clear and as strong as it possibly can be. That’s all we can ever hope to achieve. In surrendering to the powerlessness and lack of control, we ironically gain it for ourselves.

That Comfort Zones Don’t Exist

Allowing that little dot to thrive and really believing in its’ worth is vital if we want to progress anywhere in life. For some people, this comes naturally to them. For others, we must assert ourselves and realign with these beliefs time and time again, repeatedly acknowledging our sense of worth and maintaining a persistent awareness of the things that put this balance at risk. Travelling through uncertain areas, with unknown associates and changeable destinations requires a certain sense of self and strength that I never ever believed possible for me, and yet here I am. I’ve met some incredible people, seen beautiful places, experienced lifestyles and norms so contrasting to my own comfort zone and everyday life that I’ve come to realise ‘comfort zone’ is just a label we put on ourselves to justify staying still.

Through yoga, through solo travel, and through combining them both, I have come to see movement as the one key aspect of life that helps us maintain a balanced and healthy mindset, and I’m excited to see how I will progress forwards with this newfound understanding. Moving on, moving away from damaging behaviours, moving ever onwards and avoiding stagnancy at all costs – this journey has really only begun.

A Night on The Nile



After a whirlwind of goodbyes at Ndeeba School in Kayunga, a rural farming village in Central Uganda, our bus driver swept us away amidst swarms of students cascading against the sides of the bus to give their thanks.
Some waved. Some leapt excitedly to the windows, delighted at the momentary distraction from classes and ensuing chaos. Some cried.

As we outpassed the last sprinting straggler, shoes long discarded and arms swinging frantically as if on hinges, I couldn’t help but wonder what was coming next – each step further into Africa had truly blown me away with its beauty and natural raw power.

A mystery location awaited us at the end of our volunteer positions, and after a brief stop in Jinja, the bus chugged wearily to a dusty standstill along the banks of the River Nile. Here we discarded everything we owned, save a single towel and change of clothes each. Somewhat baffled, we followed orders and left our luggage amidst the now familiar scattering of red dust that finds its way sneakily into the very crevices of your being wherever you go in Uganda. It even lay in the ridges of the wooden benches on the boat we boarded, and in the sun-bleached lifejackets we placed over our heads.

Following days in the sweltering heat and confined compound of the school in Kayunga, the exhilaration of being exposed to the ‘sea’ breeze was akin to quenching a prolonged and exaggerated thirst – a sensation we were also now familiar with. Passing ‘Welcome to Lake Victoria’ signs bobbing uncertainly on anchored buoys along the way, our amazement only extended further as the driver pointed encouragingly with a toothy grin to a tiny island up ahead.
‘Samuka Island. Yours for tonight.”
An entire island?

The single wooden jetty wobbled precariously as we leapt out, and led to a steep set of steps crawling carefully through some of the most exquisite plants and flowers I’ve ever laid eyes on. Each step further into the deserted plains at the top and towards the solitary visible building seemed to break some unspoken rule – the grasses exhaled flocks and flutters of birds I hadn’t noticed, drawing my gaze skyward and to a view of my first African sunset.
This was swiftly followed by the most peaceful night’s sleep I’ve ever had in a tent.

Awakening before dawn to tentative chirping of hundreds of invisible resident birds around us, I proceeded to climb a viewing tower towards the East of the island.It started off slow – a definite brightness in the distance, complimented by a rising cacophony of chattering and squawking around us. By 6.15am, the colours on the horizon had formed a pinky-blue kind of eerie hue, with an orange glow blending up behind them into a stunning orb of light that rose higher and higher with astonishing speed – by 6.30 the sun had fully risen, and fishermen on tiny gondola-boats were bathed in a fresh warm light as they skillfully trawled the calm sea for their morning catch.