BAM. M and I have just finished our first month away from the US, two months of traveling total. In the past couple weeks, I’ve started feeling at ease in the groundlessness of traveling and being on the move. I realized that I was neglecting my yoga practice (noooooooooooooooooo) and not making enough time to pursue things that were important to me. I made these changes:
1. Daily asana practice first thing in the morning. Right now I’m working on core strengthening, and I’ve got my eye on parsvabakasana (side crow) next.
2. Reading more. I’m currently reading Pema Chodron’s Things Fall Apart, which is a great read for those feelings of transition or uncertainty. Also, I’ve been reading more yoga articles to get ideas on sequencing, brush up on anatomy, and stay connected to the rhythm of the yoga world.
3. Learning Italian and anatomy/physiology. Technology is a great thing. I’m using the Memrise app to learn both subjects. It takes about 15-20 minutes each day, and it’s great to stick to a routine and challenge my brain to learn something new. Hopefully I’ll be able to communicate with the locals when we reach Italy, our final destination, and have some background anatomy knowledge when I apply to a physical therapy program next spring.
4. Connecting. With myself via meditation and with others via yoga and mini trips we take.
Yoga gains are kinda like gains in weightlifting. I needed to change my workout to suit my new lifestyle and stay engaged. Mind/body/soul. What I did in the US wasn’t working for me on the road, so I started engaging my brain by reading and giving it more to chew on. I engaged my soul with some reading, journaling, photography and meditation. And I engaged my body by working out the muscles I wasn’t using as much. My goal is to check in with my mind/body/soul workout regularly and change it up to stay challenged.
Hanoi and Ha Long Bay are beautiful in very different ways. Hanoi is fascinating for its non-stop river of traffic (seriously, you just need to take a breath and go for it), its intimate relationship with making food (from killing the animal to serving it on a plate, you can see it all on the street), and its culture of pushing the limits (rules are made to be broken). It can be loud and overwhelming after awhile, but there’s so much to explore.
Bac siu, coffee with coconut milk (and a secret third ingredient: condensed milk. They seem to add it to all coffee drinks) Like sipping on a chocolate ice cream, it’s still pretty refreshing after a long morning of walking around.
Street vendors are everywhere, and more often than not they are women. She is selling flowers — the work hours are long and the pay is low, but these bikes filled with flowers bring bursts of color all over the city.
Hanoi is no stranger to tourists, so postcards and sold everywhere, including the Temple of Literature.
One of many quiet alleys where Hanoi’s people live. It’s hard to believe how quiet it is here, only a block away from the bustling main road.
Chinese-influenced architecture at the Temple of Literature
Ha Long Bay is big and breathtaking. We were there for three days and everything we did, kayaking, swimming, spelunking, climbing, even eating, was surrounded by amazing views. If you have the chance to go, I highly recommend at least two nights on a boat. Our full day exploring the bay was relaxing and there were no crowds. I was able to get the feeling of the place without distractions.
View from the top of Titop Island at the end of day 2.
Day 1, cruising around the bay
Day 2 visiting a pearl farm
View from our boat leaving the harbor.
Holy ding dongs, Batman, there’s a pearl in this one! (Or was there, really…)
We took photos and videos of kayaking and swimming with our GoPro too. We’ll see how those turned out!