Travel Diaries: The End of My Solo-Traveling Days?

As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.” — Robin S. Sharma

FYI Just posted my Bali Villa Tour/ A Week in the Life on my channel 🙂

Feb. 25th/19

Soo originally, I had this whole sentimental blog post written out for you guys which I’ve been working on and editing for 3 and a half weeks talking about why I’m done with solo travel.

Anyways, I’m currently planning my next four or so trips so that’ll be fun… lol.

I had such a huge block preventing me from posting for the last few weeks because I’ve been so torn. I love traveling, but I’m also really tired of being on high-alert all the time, or being so responsible because of the situations I’m putting myself in, or paying double for accommodations because it’s only me, and spending so much money on food because I don’t have someone with my splitting my obnoxiously high bill. Okay, the last one could be preventable, but how on earth am I supposed to enjoy every vegan spot, PLUS everything on the menu if I don’t order everything?

My original blog post was essentially that I was going to give it all up blah blah blah, and find a home base (probably in Toronto or Costa Rica), and become a real adult. But then South Africa started calling me, and more so Colombia, then Mexico, and well… I’m weak.

Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 9.46.53 PM
Elements Bnb – Canggu, Bali @herbivorebeauty

For a little while, I had definitely grown accustomed to my new normal. A new city every week, flying, navigating airports, negotiating taxi prices without getting ripped off, communicating through language barriers, scouting for foreign vegan food, juggling reservations… all more familiar than the hustle and grind of getting to work, gyming, running errands, paying rent, and trying to stay afloat until the weekend rolls around.

One of the most important things I’ve read about traveling is that no matter where you go, how far you go, or how long you’re gone, you’re still bringing yourself with you. All the baggage– the good and the bad. Your issues don’t just magically disappear when you set off on your solo “Eat Pray Love” journey… well, they might (fun fact, I went to the healing center in Ubud that they filmed the Bali scene at). But, it does certainly broaden your perspective, if anything. It allows you to look at your issues in a different light. I’ve learned first hand that I can’t just run away from my life; all of the toxic patterns, successes, and downfalls I had at home, came with me here.

Although I wish it were all glamorous and novel-worthy (which the vast majority of the time it definitely is– hence the blog), sometimes I don’t know if the feeling of isolation ever goes away with longterm travel. Who knows, maybe I’m just not doing it right. I’ve made so many new friends, met so many really cool people, but the problem is that someone always leaves. Either I’m heading off to a new country/city, or they are. Some are in school abroad, or traveling for work, or completely, nomadic, or taking a gap year. Whatever the reason is, the time together is always short-lived. Then, there are the friends back home.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 9.50.16 PM
One of my friends from my hostel in Chiang, Mai @herb_beauty

It gets a bit difficult to keep track of everything and stay in touch with everyone you care about. Before you know it, it’s just a constant cycle of new friends every 3 days or so. Of course, technology makes it easier to stay connected, at a certain point you just lose touch. You meet so many new people; making new friends at each stop. It’s a beautiful way to live, especially since there’s an insane amount of solo-travelers in the world. But I don’t think that meeting people was the problem, it was more the aspect of keeping people around, which was the issue.

The main reason that I really wanted to take a break from at least solo-travel was just that I needed some stability in my life. If I found a really awesome friend who traveled the same way I did and had nothing really tying them down to one spot, then I wouldn’t even think twice about continuing the journey! Less responsibility, more fun (if that’s even possible), and a deeper sense of security. I also wanted to focus on my love life. I know, gross. But it’s something that I’ve neglected for so long, and I mean… I’m in my 20s, I think it’s time that I actually start to make some more meaningful connections as opposed to running in the opposite direction of every boy that looks at me.

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 10.28.48 PM
Taking myself on another date for vegan lasagna at Peloton Supershop – Canggu, Bali. @herbivorebeauty

Dating and solo traveling can either be the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to a person or make them undateable.

Guess which one I’ve been?

Solo traveling is a whole new kind of independence– if you couldn’t already tell from the whole “being in a foreign country/ new city on your own,  knowing no one and nothing”- thing. With solo travelers, life is always go-go-go, because there’s a massive world out there just waiting to be explored. And although I do consider myself a solo-traveler, I’m also a digital nomad as opposed to the latter. So, everywhere I go, I do rely on WIFI, but I mean who doesn’t? That makes me a little less flexible (pretend that having to stay in Bali or cities dispersed around Thailand for long periods of time is inflexible), than the typical solo-traveler. This also makes me a little less spontaneous, and also less inclined to meet my Tinder match in Nusa Penida right after we both swipe right.

Screen Shot 2019-02-16 at 8.51.43 PM
Hiking in Mount Batur, Bali @herbivorebeauty

I always try to put in into perspective when I weigh the pros and cons of me returning to Canada and starting the rest of my life vs continuing on with my nomadic life.

Going Home Pros:

  1. Can stay at home with my family and save a ton
  2. My parents are nice 🙂
  3. Free food + my dad is a vegan chef, so everybody wins
  4. Can also move to Toronto which is cool
  5. Toronto is very vegan and yogi friendly which is also cool
  6. Easier to teach yoga at a studio because I’m a citizen & have my certification
  7. Can grow my community of veggies and yogis at my base
  8. Get to cook and have tons of time to create and edit content

Going Home Cons

  1. Canada is cold
  2. Canada has snow
  3. I become a hermit for half of the year because I don’t want to be cold outside
  4. If I move to Toronto (which is the plan if I stay in Canada) I can’t save as much money, V expensive
  5. Yoga classes are super expensive
  6. I wouldn’t be traveling 😦
Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 10.22.48 PM
Botanical Gardens Nature Walk (UBI check them out on Trip Advisor) Ubud, Indonesia @herbivorebeauty

Nomad Life Cons

  1. Lack of stability if I don’t do it right/ stay in a place long enough to build community
  2. Don’t get to cook when I’m in most hostels 😦
  3. Vegan airplane food is gross 80% of the time
  4. Can be super unsustainable if I don’t plan ahead
  5. Lose touch with home friends and my travel friends are always… traveling
  6. On a different timezone than my family and friends
  7. WiFi is essential to my life if I wanna pay my bills
  8. Dating life = trash (but this is also a con in my home life so it must be me lol)

Nomad Life Pros

  1. I get to travel the world. (Obviously, I could just stop here, but let’s continue)
  2. Traveling yoga teachers are actually a thing, I just need to figure out how
  3. It is possible to meet incredible people that I would not have access to if I stayed in Ottawa and Toronto
  4. I don’t have to experience Winter if I don’t want to 🙂
  5. I get to eat out every day and not feel guilty because a girl’s gotta eat
  6. Beach, ocean?! Yes.
  7. Soooo many new vegan options abroad
  8. Try out new yoga studios and learn from amazing teachers
  9. Technically, I’m saving money in most situations due to not having reoccurring $5 million rent prices like I would if I were living in Toronto (exaggeration, but hardly)
  10. Gaining perspective, living the best Eat Pray Love life that I can
  11. Get to volunteer at animal sanctuaries around the world and see my fav animal babies 🙂
  12. Get lots of people interested in veganism when they find out I’m vegan!

It’s a rough life out there, I know.

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 10.23.00 PM
Titi Batu, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia @herbivorebeauty

But, it basically feels like the things that are holding me back the most while traveling, are still the areas where I feel like I was lacking the most at home. Having a stable community, having a home base, my love life, growing in my yoga career. I feel like it’s possible to have it all, and without the financial burden at the moment, I am continuously grateful that these are the only tough decisions I have to make. However, I know that if I go home, saving money would be a real stress focus for me, but it may also make it easier for me to establish myself as a well-rounded yoga teacher. Who knows, maybe I’m just looking to deep in this, but I mean who else is going to?! It’s my life.

It’s probably the silliest thing I’ve written about to date, but if it’s was big enough for me to contemplate ending my solo adventures forever, then it’s definitely worth me taking a closer look. How does one find the balance between wanting stable connections, building a community, dating, AND continue to travel at the same time? Is it possible, or am I just being naive to think that I could maybe have it all?

Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 10.27.05 PM
Hiking Mount Batur Bali, Indonesia – @herbivorebeauty

How to Choose Your 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Course

Many of you had questions, and I have answers. I have created a video to go along with this post so that you can receive a little bit more background knowledge before I dive into everything you should probably know before, during, and after your 200hr ytt (yoga teacher training).

I have just recently completed my 200hr ttc (teacher training course), for Hatha and Vinyasa yoga in Koh Phangan, Thailand. To ensure that I chose the right course from me, I went through quite a bit of research. Both online, and speaking with other teachers I knew.

One thing that I learned? As with anything, don’t rush the process. You will know which one is right for you. Keep your options open and look into what kind of intensity you need as a yoga student. Are you able to take a month off of work across the world to Thailand, or do you need to do it amongst a series of a few months and meet with your class every weekend? Which style do you want to focus on? Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin & Restorative, Hatha etc.? It’s definitely worth looking into taking your ttc in a style that you love to practice, as your passion for it will certainly shine through. However, it’s intelligent to keep your options open to all styles that interest you.

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 4.49.05 pm
A photo of our YTT graduation ceremony. One Yoga Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

How to choose the right course for you

Look at all of your options! YTT is a big investment, and you want to make sure that the course you are selecting is good for your schedule, level of intensity you’re able to handle, style/ niche of yoga, location, and budget. I know it’s quite a few things to look into, but believe me, it matters. It’s also a good idea to check out the teachers that will be guiding you through the teacher training.

Book Yoga Retreats

I used Book Yoga Retreats to find my course, and they gave me the best deal! It was even better than the one I had found on the training programs site, so definitely use it as a resource.

What’s really great about their site, is they make it so easy to narrow down what you are looking for. Do you want a Yin/Restorative Training, or maybe a strong Ashtanga or Hatha program? Tons of Vinyasa courses, and many continuing education certifications, as well!

You can search for programs based off of the location– a local program or one abroad? It also allows you to narrow down the time-frame of a course. Keep in mind that if you are trying to do a YTT in under 20 days, it will be extremely compact. I absolutely recommend aiming to go to courses for the 200hr certification with no shorter than 4 weeks (21-28 days worth of training) if possible.

There are so many choices, but everyone has different needs when it comes to yoga, and this is a great way to help you narrow down your search.

screen shot 2019-01-11 at 2.21.32 pm
Koh Phangan, Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

Read the reviews.

Many times I found myself 100% ready to book a program, only to find some not so good comments in the review section. So PLEASE be sure that you’re thoroughly going through reviews. In my case, the program was quite new (had only opened up 6 months before my training began). And you. know what? They still had a ton of reviews! Positive ones. Not only through Book Yoga Retreats, but on Facebook, as well as testimonials from students (and now teachers), on their site.

If you’re having a hard time finding training with a lot of reviews, you can either narrow down your Book Yoga Retreat search to only show results with a good amount of reviews, or take the name of the ytt you are curious about, and head to FaceBook or even their own site. If they don’t have any testimonials or reviews at all, then maybe tread lightly.

Once the search has been narrowed down, what’s next?

Questions, research, and more questions! Send an email to the director of the training before you book. A lot of the best programs answer the big questions right there on their main site, like where it is located, who the teachers are, what the curriculum is, the general day to day schedule, the prices, if accommodations and food are included and what it consists of– most teacher trainings follow a strict plant-based diet (which everyone can enjoy, vegan), but it’s a good idea to take note of what they offer.

Here are a few of the things that I asked:

  • What is their yoga philosophy? (priorities of the course, teachers, etc.)
  • What is the graduation rate?
  • Is there a final written exam and practicum?
  • (if food is included) are you able to accommodate people with dietary restrictions? (eg. allergies, vegan, celiac or gluten intolerances, etc.)
  • What do recent graduates have to say about the course? Reviews, testimonials, etc.
  • Is it certified with Yoga Alliance (the universal standard of ytt’s– make sure you double check with them if being a registered yoga teacher is a priority to you)
  • Is this course meant to prepare me for real life teaching eg. yoga business, how to find a career in yoga after, what is taught in order for us to feel comfortable teaching, essentially?

For me, I did ask a few more questions, as I did have to work the entire way through my program, so I asked about wifi, our daily breaks and the length of them, homework, etc., just to get a better idea for how I could prepare for an intensive training while simultaneously survive the holiday season with work. Having said this, feel free to add in whatever you need to ask to tailor it to your needs as a yoga student and future teacher.

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 3.14.57 pm
Happy Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

Discounts and Deals

If cost is an issue, keep an eye out for programs that offer early-bird specials, 10-20% off if you join their mailing list, training scholarships, etc. It’s definitely worth reaching out to the director of the programs you’re really interested in, about. In most if not all cases, when you book early enough, the programs offer a payment plan, and usually only require a deposit, plus, they give you a few more months before the final payment is due.

While I was searching for a course abroad, the most affordable locations were all in India. They included 2-3 meals a day with the price listed, along with private accommodations. Thailand was generally the mid-range. There were more affordable ones in Nothern Thailand and slightly more expensive courses on the islands. Bali, Indonesia had some of the pricier ones, at least when I was looking. Originally, I had planned on doing a course down there, however, I didn’t end up finding any that fit both my budget, and included everything I needed, however, this may be different for you and your needs!

It’s a lot easier to choose the perfect course when you are very open to the location. Since I was going to be in Asia already, there were a lot of courses that may have been really fantastic for me, but located on the opposite side of the world. If you are open to more flexible locations, definitely check out Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, New Zealand, and even spots in your home country. Tons of beautiful spots with an incredible curriculum.

Often times if you do join a mailing list for a website like Book Yoga Retreats (not affiliated, just love them), they’ll send you awesome offers all the time for ttc’s, which is perfect if your schedule and location are flexible.

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 1.05.27 pmscreen shot 2019-01-28 at 1.05.47 pm

Final Thoughts

You can actually still teach yoga without becoming a ryt (only about 25% of yoga teachers in the U.S are RYT!), but well-structured teacher training will provide you with the essential skills needed to help you and your students flourish when you are guiding their class. If you’re looking to teach at a specific studio, make yoga teaching your career, or even open up your own studio, I totally recommend taking a YTT course. For personal development, and if you have the time to, I would also even recommend taking your training down south or abroad, to make the most of the intensive learning, somewhere beautiful if your time allows for it.

So, choose wisely, don’t rush, trust your gut, and most importantly, have fun! Because this journey to deepening your practice is every bit of enjoyable as it is enriching.

Have you already completed your 200hr YTT, or are you looking to begin one in the coming year? Share your experiences with finding the right one for you down below!

xoxo Herbivore Beauty



Travel Diaries: Life Update. What’s Next?

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” -Anatole France

Jan. 21st/19

Hello to all of you beautiful humans! Thank you all for being so patient with me during this busy time. I am so gracious that I get to share my past couple of months of travel with you all, as well as my future adventures. Now that I FINALLY have some time after the crazy holiday season with my job and the intensive yoga teacher training (YTT), I just feel like I have this strong, overflowing urge to create again.

Although my traveling for the first half of 2019 isn’t quite finished (we’ll talk about this soon), I did really feel the need to create a few different blog posts to target the main things you’ve all been wondering.

There have been a TON of questions, so I assumed that now was as good a time as any, for an update. A new video/ life update travel diary has been posted (YAY) so you can check it out here! With over a month of accumulated footage from my trip to Koh Phangan, Thailand, there was so much to share.

screen shot 2019-01-11 at 2.17.29 pm

Vegan Nachos. Pure Vegan- Koh Phangan. by: @herbivorebeauty

So, what shall my future posts bring? More vegan eats on the island, both on my channel and here, a TON of info about YTT — how to choose one, how to know which is right for you, and my experience, a guide to solo traveling South-East Asia as a female, the “ugly side of my travels” back on track with my loc updates (youtube only– for now), and yoga flows very soon!!

Now, onto what to expect. For starters, after a combined 36hrs of plane travel and airport lounging, I’ve finally arrived home. But, not for long! Two weeks here, then back to Southeast Asia (Bali) for a month to enjoy some more solo adventures. I’m sure you’re probably wondering, Ashley, why on earth are you going ALL the way back home to Canada, to make just to fly back to the other side of the world in two weeks?

You’d be right to assume that it was definitely an odd decision, considering the fact that my sleeping schedule will only just be re-adapting to the eastern timezone, and Thailand is already only a hop, skip and a jump away from Indonesia, but I swear I had my reasons.

I feel like, for the first time, I was genuinely ready to be back in Canada for a minute to just catch myself. Even if it was 60 degrees colder than Thailand. My teacher training was heavy, my workload was heavy, the culture shock, although I did get used to the amazingness and uniqueness of Thailand, was again, heavy. I wanted a bit of a breather. I needed some stability. Plus, since I missed both Christmas and New Year’s I feel like I owed it to my family to return home for a moment.

Although my Christmas has never been more relaxed, and I got a chance to spend it with these beautiful people 🙂

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 4.49.05 pm
A photo of our YTT graduation ceremony. One Yoga Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

The thing is, is that I have been away from them for much longer, but with the addition of the time change and all of my family and friends being asleep while I was awake sort of gets to you. All of these amazing and exciting things happening, but I had such a small window to interact with everyone back home because it was a full 12hrs behind! There was never really a time where loneliness fully sunk in, but what I did feel was something quite similar.

Even though I was making all of these connections with people all over in the world, whether I liked it or not, these beautiful, amazing people would either be going back to their home country, or I would.

But, don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic having international friends, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. I guess what I was truly missing, was a bit of stability. Because, no matter how much I love to travel, I also love having a home-base. Now that I’ve finally gained some more independence and confidence with all of my solo-travel adventures, I feel like I’m finally ready to allow someone to explore the world with me. Allowing them to be the solidity in the ever-changing world of travel.

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 5.04.59 pm
A few members of my yoga tribe 🙂 Orion Healing Center (Detox & Yoga). Koh Phangan, Thailand.

I’ve also realized how easy it is to neglect self-care when you’re traveling as opposed to vacationing. I did allow myself to splurge a little bit, but with the constant eating out, the odd sleeping patterns, the stress of deadlines and making the next flight, or ferry, or reservation, or bus, definitely gets to you.

Now back to the other main reason why (or how) I’m coming all the way back to Canada for 2 weeks. If you’ve been following me on YouTube for a while, then you would probably know that I work remotely— meaning, I can work from my phone or my laptop as long as I have some sort of stable wifi connection. The company I work for is run by a small group of extraordinary people, the owners originally from Ottawa (like me!) and now partly based in Bali (and the rest globally).

We’ve never had an official team meeting since all of us are from various sides of the world, so our owners thought it would be a good idea to treat us all to an all expenses paid (yes, I mean flights, food, accommodations, transportation, activities, etc.,) trip to Ubud.

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 4.44.18 pm
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. AirBnb Villa.

I am so overwhelmed by how beautiful it is, and I’m beyond excited to give you all a tour in person! Look out for one on my Youtube Channel!

Naturally, I decided to extend my trip because, when in Rome, am I right? So, in total, I will be spending just shy of a month in Thailand. 5 days at a cute surfers hostel in Canggu while meeting up with a friend from my YTT, 7-8 days with my team at our villa, and 2 weeks at a Yoga hostel/hotel!

Excitement, curiosity, and anxiousness have taken over my body in preparation for this trip. Although Bali has ALWAYS been on my list, I didn’t expect to be heading there so soon. But again, nothing ever goes exactly how it is planned. And I’m a huge planner. Especially since I always travel solo, which makes a trip like this both tremendous and nerve-wracking. This is also why I decided it would be a good idea to head home and catch my breath before I embarked on a new journey yet again.

screen shot 2019-01-20 at 4.57.28 pm
Koh Phangan, Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

Of course, I will have travel updates for y’all, all the way through. For the Bali trip, in particular, I’ll create one for each spot I stay at, to help get a feel for each area. I’m ready to re-immerse myself into everyday asana practice, getting more comfortable with surfing (may be a challenge if the waves are too big for me to even try), and finally, to live the luxurious traveler’s life that I’ve never had. Stay tuned 😉

So much more to come, as when I return home, I’ll most likely be moving back to Toronto, enriching my Yoga Skills, and looking further into teaching on a regular basis. Until then, stay on the lookout for my new posts!

Love you all, thank you for making it to the end 🙂

xoxo Herbivore Beauty

screen shot 2019-01-11 at 2.21.32 pm
Koh Phangan, Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

Travel Diaries: Leaving Home

There are some places in life where you can only go alone. Embrace the beauty of your solo journey. — Mandy Hale

Entry One.                        Monday, November 19th, 2018

I catch myself reminiscing about my first (and only) year of college; scrolling through YouTube, looking at people my age traveling the world, making money as they went along, eating amazing vegan food, exploring incredible, exotic cities. All I could think was wow, why is this not my life? How do I get there? How can I become the girl who just wakes up and decides that she’s going to travel the world, just because?

And 2 years later, I find myself exploring Thailand.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 3.05.10 PM
Somewhere in Chiang Mai

Solo-traveling really molds you. Forces you out of your shell. No matter how introverted, or “socially awkward”, or anxious, or shy. There are so many moments that I already look back and smile about because I am not the same person who left to begin this journey. Which is insane to me, because although my past solo-trips were great, none of my affected me quite this much. Perhaps it’s because, in the past, I had a set returned date and knew that it wasn’t permanent.

One thing I’ve noticed is that there is absolutely no pressure to be who you’re not. You’re able to re-develop your self-awareness and attract people into your life who are on the same path. You make these dream-like connections with people all over the world. Deep connections with people who barely even know your first name. And you wonder how that’s even possible until you realize that the how doesn’t even matter.

It really makes home seem so small.

But, that’s one of the reasons why I decided I should travel in the first place. Home is comfort– easy to return to– safe. That’s why I find the idea of exploring the world so captivating; embarking on this journey alone? Exhilarating.

Screen Shot 2018-11-25 at 11.23.01 AM
Chiang Mai, Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

There is such a big world out there, waiting to be explored. It makes the thoughts of returning home when there are so many places left to visit, people to meet, cultures to learn from, love to share, seem like it’s never gonna happen. Or at least not for a very long time. How could I possibly move backward when I’m already so far ahead?

It doesn’t make sense to stay in one place forever. Learn from one group of people, forever. Never extending outside of your own city your entire life? How can we grow this way? It truly feels like a trap. At least to me. A plan created specifically to fabricate my own failure. And of course, everyone has their own battles to overcome, as I’ve definitely had my fair share– but I was so determined to re-write my story, that I was able to create my dreams into my own reality.

Being able to say that I’ve done more for myself on my first 3 days of travel than I have in the past 3 years is crazy to think about. At home, I never could have justified getting a massage and pad thai from a street vendor at midnight (not that it was just a regular thing for anyone to do in Ottawa, dead of winter), or buying chopped mangoes on the side of the road at 2 am in the middle of a foreign city, or spending the entire afternoon in the water with new friends and stranger playing volleyball and taking poolside shots just because? Like… I mean, I don’t even drink, but how am I gonna say no to anything free, and vegan?

It’s amazing how many meaningful connections you can make when you just take your journey into your own hands, let go of expectations, and allow yourself to be unapologetically, compassionately, you. The fact that I’m able to do this while keeping on top of my work, and finally giving myself the time I need to sit and expand my creativity and grow my brand is such a good feeling.

Screen Shot 2018-11-25 at 11.22.47 AM
Restaurant passing through Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street, Thailand. @herbivorebeauty

You meet so many people who are living their best lives, so full of love. Whatever that means to them. Many come from regular lives or broken homes and left to try and break the cycle of the typical go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire paradigm. Realizing that there is too much to see, to only stay in your hometown. Instead, they’ve decided to drop everything, quit their job (or begin to freelance/ work remotely), and begin to travel the world. While in many cases, so many travelers of whom I’ve already met are being paid to just live. Be their amazing selves. Incredible. Could you imagine if everyone just decided, you know what, now is my time? To travel, to take on a new adventure, to quit your job and move to the other side of the world for a little while. I feel like if I have this much to say about my experience meeting so many beautiful souls in one night, I’m definitely moving in the right direction.

(make sure you watch my new travel diary video here)

When I was home, I felt stuck. Not moving forward, but at the same time, it made me feel almost worst than moving backward. At least then there would have been some sort of tangible or explainable reason, to the setback. But it was truly just me keeping myself from doing what I knew I could. While I do understand that it is important to have a good bit of savings to fall back on while traveling, there was no need for me to isolate myself as much as I did.

For months, I would stay at home, and deny myself the right to socialize and enjoy life because I was “saving for travel”. Getting too comfortable with being comfortable. I definitely used to be very much a mix between my introverted and extroverted tendencies, but I pushed myself over the edge to the point of complete isolation. It wasn’t healthy and certainly wasn’t fair to myself, having the desire to grow.

Screen Shot 2018-11-25 at 3.46.19 PM.png
Thapae Gate – Chiang Mai, Thailand @herbivorebeauty

Like yeah, I was eating good, practicing yoga every day, journaling regularly, and making an income, which is definitely something to be proud of myself for. But, I also didn’t leave the house unless it was for food, or to *maybe* attend a local yoga class. I was so caught up at trying to “fix myself” and save money before traveling, that I forgot to appreciate and create more meaningful connections with people outside of my own personal bubble. I got too comfortable with being comfortable.

Who knows, maybe I needed to see what isolation was so that I could truly appreciate new company while traveling. Because, of course, you do realize how important it is to enjoy who you are, as no matter how far you travel, you’ll still be taking yourself with you. But, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t mean you’re never supposed to enjoy anyone else’s company at all.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 3.05.19 PM
Temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand @herbivorebeauty

Perhaps it’s because I’ve tried so hard to attract a tribe that I could vibe with, and was so tired of meeting people that didn’t I didn’t share any of the same values with, that I just gave up on the whole city entirely. But abroad? In a new country on the other side of the world? I’ve met more people in the span of 48 hours than I have in years. The connections weren’t forced, I didn’t have to be selective. It just happened.

I found myself falling in love all over again with the idea of being me. Feeling the desire to actually want to know people. It was so liberating.

There is so much to come from this trip, and I’m so excited to share it all with you. Breaking my tendencies to retreat to my corner in order to make new friends, and meet new people. Introducing myself first. Taking more risks. Make sure you check out my brand new Travel Diary One video! So much more to come very soon.

xoxo Herbivore Beauty

Solo Backpacking in Thailand for 2 Months: What’s in my Bag

Traveling, in general, is an experience and a half. But, traveling alone? A whole new world. Literally. The days leading up to my solo adventures are always full of mixed emotions. Especially when trying to pack enough for a long trip in one single bag. I’ve definitely packed and repacked my bag for this trip alone, at least a dozen times!

Over the past year or so, I’ve been on 3 solo trips, only taking with me what could fit in my carry-on, and this one will be my 4th. I decided that it’s probably time for me to invest in a proper “backpacking backpack” instead of lugging around my mini carry-on suitcase.

I will be backpacking Thailand for a couple of months– well, sort of one. The other half of my trip, I will be completing my 200hr RYT course (registered yoga teacher), which will certainly explain the majority of my choice in clothing packed. If it weren’t for the training (and having to work while on the road), I would have definitely packed a little lighter, but I will still only be taking one carry-on bag with me, along with my Jade Yoga mat.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 6.48.10 PM

Watch the video for this post here 🙂

I’d like to say that I pack pretty light for my solo trips (if you would consider stuffing every nook of my travel bag with things “light-packing”). I feel best when I’m able to rely on my carry-on only, mostly because I’m always paranoid that if I check my luggage while I’m alone, it’ll  get lost and I’d be too stressed to deal with it by myself; but also too because when I pack “lighter”, I just feel so much more flexible.

This time around, I am (hopefully) aiming to leave enough space in my bag to be able to bring back a few gifts without busting a zipper (update- no busted zipper, but also no room for extras). So, the backpack I chose to purchase to do the job was the Osprey Farpoint 40, (mine is actually a 38L backpack due to my height), and let me tell ya- she did NOT disappoint. Super snug, comfy, supportive, and I am so excited to break it in! I also purchased a few packing cubes from Amazon, to help me stay organized with the clothes I’m bringing.

Electronics/ Work Gear

Since I work online (a hopeful digital nomad in the making), my electronics are my life. They quite literally pay my bills, which means that I did have to make a few tech-investments to ensure everything will work as smoothly as I have control over, for the trip.

The first of these essentials? The obvious, various chargers for my phone and mac, along with my wireless and plug in headphones,  and a power converter + adapter. Other tech-goodies will just be my selfie stick and tripod for filming all of my vlogs and taking photos.

On my first big solo travel trip to Costa Rica, I brought my big high-tech camera, which was A LOT of extra weight. I only ended up using it once, and filmed all of my vlogs with my phone! Dragging my camera around ended up being a nuisance, so when I got home I ended up selling it. I’ve been using my iPhone 7+ to film and take photos since then, and it’s saved me so much space and is much lighter, plus the quality is great!

A more compact, lighter vlogging camera will definitely be my next big investment soon though, as I can never get enough of those high-quality travel shots!

  • Charges: 1x mac, 1x short iPhone cord, 1x long iPhone cord + plug
  • Voltage Converter + adapter
  • Mini iPhone Tripod
  • Mini Selfie-Stick
  • Agenda
Photo by Radek Grzybowski on Unsplash

Yoga Teacher Training

I am BEYOND excited to begin my training in Koh Phangan. I’ve looked through countless sites for what kind of clothing and extra gear is recommended to bring, but for the most part, it was pretty straightforward. The mat would have been more of an optional item if I were only going to Thailand for my training, but since I have a total of 4 weeks which I won’t be in the actual course, I’ll need a little something to keep my practice going!

From my research, laundry mats are pretty easy to come by, however, in between my work schedule and training, I don’t want to be spending the only downtime I have, doing laundry. So, I opted to bring more of a variety of athletic-wear, so I don’t have to do washing more than every week or so.

  • My Jade Yoga Mat and Lulu Strap
  • 1 Pair of Leggings
  • 2 Athletic Shorts
  • 3 Tanks, 1x Dry Fit, 1x Quick Dry, 1x Loose
  • 2 Sports Bras
  • 1x Small yoga towel
  • Aches + Pains roll-on
  • 2 Journals, 1x note-taking, 1x journaling
Screen Shot 2018-11-03 at 7.23.26 PM
@herbivorebeauty on Instagram:

Swim + Undergarments

Pretty straightforward with swimwear + underwear. You really just want to make sure that you have enough underwear for the week, and are able to alternate your swimwear.

  • 2 Bralettes + 1 bandeau
  • 5-7 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 Swimsuits

Everyday Wear

While researching what came up in the “what is appropriate for women to wear in Thailand” blog posts, a very popular theme was that it was slightly more conservative, but it different ways than one may think. Shorts and skirts above the knees were actually acceptable unless you were going to more sacred areas. What you do want to have handy are things like sarongs/ light scarfs to cover your shoulders in the temples (and in case you get chilly on long bus rides). Jumpsuits and maxi dresses are always good ideas especially ones with lighter fabric– this goes for pants too.

  • 1 Jumpsuit
  • 1 Zip-up Sweater
  • 1-2 Light pairs of pants
  • 2 Sun/beach Dresses
  • 1 Skirt
  • Spandex for under dress/skirts
  • 1 Sarong
  • 1 pair of casual/nice shorts (plus other 2x athletics)
  • 1 light rain jacket
  • 3 T-shirts, 1x light, 1x thicker, 1x nice/dressy top
  • 3 pairs of shoes, 1x running shoes/ chucks, 1x comfy/ cute sandals, 1x flip flops

Hair and Skincare

Luckily, my haircare routine requires minimal tools and effort ever since I started my locs, but with the products that I use on my hair and skin for that matter, I’ve come to learn that there are certain things for my hair type that I may not find easily overseas. Luckily, I do know a strong black digital nomad community down in Chiang Mai, so hopefully, if there is something that I need topping up with for my dreadlocks or a tip in the right direction for affordable (and vegan), unbleached skincare products, they should be able to guide me.

  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Aloe Verra Blend (with tea tree + vitamin e)
  • Witchhazel (cucumber and rose pedal is my favourite)
  • Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap — mostly for laundry
  • Natural Bar Soap + Shampoo Bar
  • Retwisting Cream + Bobby pins
  • Bonnet
  • Spray bottle
Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 1.58.02 PM

Toilettree and Medicinal Misc.

Since I usually don’t do well with ibuprofen, I’ve created my own routine to fight of any pain on the road, which I’ve listed down below! I also like to keep things as environmentally friendly as I can, so opting for reusable products like menstrual cups and bamboo pads (for the road and at home) are totally a great idea.

  • Microfibre/ Quick Dry Travel & Sports Towel
  • Cramp Bark
  • Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • Evening Primrose Oil pills & Activated Charcoal pills
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Bamboo Toothbrush + Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Diva Cup + Reusable Pads
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tissues + Bandaids
  • Bug Repellent
  • Eye Mask

Other Important Items

  • 1 Waterbottle
  • 1 Daypack
  • 1 Reusable mesh produce bag (with metal straw + cleaner)
  • ATM Cards
  • Passport + Visa (of course)
    • Photocopies of visa, passport, itineraries, domestic flights
  • Snacks

One thing I’ve learned when solo traveling and also attempting to pack light is to wear your bulkiest/ warmest clothing on traveling/ plane/ bus/ ferry days. It lightens the load, leaves room for any food or other items you’ve picked up for the journey ahead, and helps protect you from the extreme AC many transit vehicles in hotter climates tend to have. Plus, I find it much easier to take sweaters off and tie them around my waste versus digging through my backpack and cubes.

Stay on the lookout for my future posts on my YouTube Channel and here on my blog! Tons of travel, yoga, and vegan content coming your way 🙂

Peace and love xoxo

–  Herbivore Beauty