Yoga, Travel, and Spread Hope Project

I know it’s been ages since I’ve written. I haven’t forgotten about this site, and certainly not about Spread Hope Project. I have been in a bit of transition, at least mentally, and my brain has been all over the place. I’ve also been struggling with my depression the last few days, and on and off for a while now, and been trying to work through things, both in my brain, and in my life.

For a while now, I’ve had this feeling of being a bit stuck. I have a lot of things that I care about, that I like, that I’m passionate about, and yet I feel like I’m struggling to find my place, my path. One thing I’m certain of, one thing that I’ve always focused my career and my life around, is that I want to help people.

So recently, as recently as this morning in fact, I sat down and began to think about my experience, my passion, my abilities, and what I feel drawn to, in order to try to make a little more sense of it. And here is what I came up with:

  • I love travel, I love helping people discover the world, and I have the experience of running my own travel company for 14 years.
  • I am passionate mental health advocacy, sharing my story, and being able to help those struggling with their mental health however I can.
  • I am passionate about spreading hope, about letting others know that they’re not alone, and offering them even the slightest bit of light when it seems like the darkness is setting in.
  • I am a yoga instructor, and and within the field of yoga, I am passionate about using it to help others – both physically and mentally, through the physical practice, but also in giving back through yoga benefit classes and events.

I sat thinking about how these all tied together, at least pieces of each of these, and I thought back to an idea that came about during a twitter chat of fellow chronic illness advocates. Someone suggested that I take my yoga classes on the road, basically a yoga road trip, and tie it into Spread Hope Project. And I loved the idea. I still do. Every day, when I write my morning affirmations, affirmations that I write as if I’ve already accomplished them, one of my big ones is that I’ve reached all 48 contiguous states on the Spread Hope Project road trip (no offense, Alaska and Hawaii, I’m happy to come to you, just don’t plan on driving there).

When the idea of a yoga road trip first took root, of course, like I tend to do with big, exciting ideas, I thought “I could totally do this!” And then, slowly, as I thought about the time off work required, the contacts I’d have to make, the cost of such a trip, I realized maybe it might not happen as soon as I hoped (i.e. ASAP). Still, when I wrote out my affirmations for the first time, that list of things I really wanted to believe I was going to accomplish, it was in there, and it’s stayed there ever since. Slowly, I’ve added to the road trip the idea that, not only could I help people by offering yoga, but that I could turn it into a benefit – and in particular, a benefit for mental health. Each class could be a benefit class, in which I could teach at a reduced rate, and the remainder of the money raised for the class went to mental health organizations/non-profits (to clarify, I’d love to do it ALL for charity, but I honestly cannot afford to travel around the country while working for free).

I realized, in thinking about it further this morning, that this version of the Spread Hope Project Road Trip would truly encompass almost every area I’m passionate about – I would get to travel, and share about those travels, and in doing so, perhaps providing travel inspiration to others. I would be advocating and helping in the mental health area, not only by supporting organizations, but by sharing about my road trip and the organizations it supported on social media and my blogs. And obviously, this would incorporate my passions for both the Spread Hope Project, and helping others through yoga.

I realize this type of a road trip is a huge goal, and I think it’s because of this that I have not brought it more into the light, shared more about my hope to do this, started *really* thinking about how I could make it possible. I realized I was just kind of letting it sit in my affirmations as a “someday”. And so, I decided that I’m not going to do that. I’ve done a lot of the “one day when” thinking lately, and I’m honestly tired of waiting for one day. Instead, I decided that it had been to long since I’d written here, and that this was the perfect post to start doing so again. I decided I wanted to share this goal, to put it out there, not only for a bit of my own accountability, but also to start making some contacts with those that might be interested – yoga studio owners or managers across the country, mental health organizations rooted in their communities that would be interested in partnering for this, and anyone else who is inspired to get involved. I also realize now that I might not be able to make it a full on 48 state road trip – that in waiting to feel like I have the time and money to do that, I could be waiting a lifetime. So I might have to do it over the course a few road trips, or maybe even one-off trips here and there. I also realize it might have to change slightly in the logistical sense. I may need to fly in somewhere and then drive around neighboring states, if that helps me get to each state. But I’m OK with this. I understand that it might not turn out looking exactly like the ideal Spread Hope Project Road trip in my head. But if I’m able to reach people in each state, to spread hope, to support mental health organizations, and to help people through yoga, then I will consider that a success.

Pic of me in a Spread Hope Project shirt while traveling this fall felt appropriate for this post!

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