After traveling for a month in the heat of the dusty outback, I should be exhausted. Instead, I’m basking in the energizing afterglow of my first Australian adventure. In just 28 days, I traveled more than 2,500 miles. I slept in a tent 25 of those 28 days and, while I was exposed to hot days, cold nights, spiders, snakes, and rocky grounds, I woke up excited and refreshed each morning. In the past month, I’ve kayaked gorges, walked along crocodile-laden rivers, and swam with manta rays, dolphins, and humpback whales. The highlights of the trip are so abundant that they’re tough to keep track of.
Experiencing these marvels required navigating Western Australia Indian Jones-style in a rugged old Land Cruiser. While I didn’t anticipate spending so much time confined to the backseat of a car, I eventually embraced it as time to let my mind wander freely — I took note of where my mind wandered most, alternating between the past and the future, then dismissing each thought as I moved onto another. This casual form of emptying my thoughts was and is my personal form of meditation. As I stared out the window “meditating,” I would sporadically see a kangaroo in the distance, or an emu raise its head. The motion and rarity of these sightings snapped me back into the present and out of my thoughts — It’s not every day that you get to see kangaroos in the wild, and that simple truth helped keep me anchored in the present… which happened to be one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.
I had to modify my yoga on the road. The car rides were bumpy and I felt pretty stiff, so I stayed dedicated to stretching and mini-yoga sessions at rest stops and gas-ups. To avoid the deep red desert dust, my practice was confined to tarps, picnic tables, and my tent. Time was a limiting factor — so I learned to do what I could when I could. Even five minutes of light stretches at the gas station relieved the stiffness of sitting all day in the car. And, after long days walking through canyons in the smoldering heat, I did “legs up the tent.” I discovered that these were simple yet powerful ways to “hit reset.”
Overall, traveling to Australia gifted me two very important reminders:
1. Stay present. It’s easy to let your thoughts run freely through your to-do list, but present-being gratitude is so much more rewarding.
2. It’s the little things in life that, when fully appreciated, bring the greatest happiness and overall experience. Maybe it’s a dirt-free patch of grass to do 10 minutes of yoga on, maybe it’s seeing your first kangaroo far off in the distance, or maybe it’s sleeping in a comfy bed rather than a tent and waking up well rested. Whatever those small things are for you, acknowledge and appreciate them!