Earlier this year, as my time wound down in Central America, I found myself interested in squeezing every last drop of global movement into as few flights as possible before re-potting my roots back in the U.S. of A. I had my mind on my travels and my travels on my mind. Miraculously, I figured out how to get to Guatemala, Los Angeles, Boston, and back to Texas for pretty far under $1,000, and that was sounding like a perfectly swell amount of vagabonding for me. By the end of it, I was happy to be back in Austin, staying in my room and sleeping in my bed for many days (weeks!) in a row. So you might be wondering how a few weeks later it came to pass that I was jet-setting over to Orlando, Florida to hang out with a group of aerial yoga teachers and dress up like a mermaid on the beach...
To explain, we must go back to the lakes and lagoons of Nicaragua, where one day, at one of them, I happened to meet a girl named Margie. I was just there to eat some colorful vegan food, swim a little bit, and check out a retreat center for future international teaching endeavors. Margie had purple hair and was at the Apoyo Lodge teaching yoga. We ate lunch together and talked about yoga experiences, spiritual centers, and meditation retreats. We exchanged contact information and went on with our days. I didn't know it then, but Margie is an amazing aerial yoga instructor, worldwide traveler & filmmaker, and online business coach.
A couple weeks later, while I was still in the travel-planning-take-over-the-world mindset, I found out that Margie would be hosting a small retreat for aerial yoga teachers and studio owners in Orlando during February. The price was right, and I still had enough reward points leftover on my Chase Sapphire Card (pay me, Chase!) to get the flight for free. What's that you say? I don't practice aerial yoga, teach aerial yoga, OR own a studio where anyone does yoga or aerial yoga or any type of yoga? I know, I was nervous, too. On top of that, it was a sparkly pink and purple unicorn/mermaid themed weekend, and I'm usually much more of an earth-toned kind of girl. I didn't know if I would have the knowledge, skills, or sparkle to hang with a bunch of full-time teachers and aerial studio owners. I did know that I was excited to do yoga and hang upside down, that I was inspired to meet a bunch of female business-owners who are doing what I love, and that a lot of circumstances had to come together to put me at the same lunch table as the Aerial Yoga Goddess herself.
So about two weeks after landing in Austin, I was on a plane again, headed back to the east coast to spend a weekend doing flips and learning the some of the tricks of online yoga business. My mom asked if I was staying at an Airbnb with a group of girls from Austin, but nope-- I'd never met any of them and we had arranged everything online without knowing what to expect. We were coming from all over the country, united by our love of yoga, flash tattoos, and living out our dreams.
There was no need for all the worry--I found myself bonding right away with my fellow mermaids, and the trip gave me a chance to put my fancy purple wig to use. We spent the weekend setting up and playing on aerial yoga rigs and silks in the house, on the lawn, and at the beach. It felt right to be around a group of awesome ladies who I can both look up to and be fully myself around. My lack of experience was even a bonus, since it left my mind completely open to new ideas and my ears interested in hearing everyone's stories about owning their studios and keeping up with this lifelong practice. I had booked the trip hoping to learn a few aerial yoga moves and have fun playing dress up, but I came out of it with an heartwarmingly supportive group of friends, role models, and spirit sisters. Maybe that's the type of travel reward I was looking for all along.