When I experienced my first Vermont winter, much to my surprise and dismay it was really freakin cold and it got really freakin dark really freakin early. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, but I was! Anyone who knew me thought that it was crazy that I would choose to live in a winter wonderland like Vermont. I was the girl who transferred from the University of South Carolina to Arizona State University for many reasons, but one was that I found the southeast to not be warm enough. So why did I move?
I fell in love and my man lived in Burlington, Vermont. I had always been intrigued by this magical city that Phish came from and was desiring a move so I thought, “Why not move there?” I mean, I’m an adult and if I end up not liking this dude and I realize that Vermont sucks, I don’t have to stay there. So I took the leap! That was over nine years ago and I ended up marrying that dude six years ago and never looked back.
But those damn winters. They were having a dramatic effect on my well-being and health. I was doing my best to embrace them and did a pretty good job, but I remember about four years ago saying to myself, “I love it here in Vermont, but wouldn’t it be cool if I could travel to warm tropical locations each winter? And you know what would be even cooler? If it was somehow a mix of business and pleasure.”
Shortly after making that declaration to the Universe, I saw that Jungle Jam (a music festival) was happening in Jaco, Costa Rica. Costa Rica was another one of those places that intrigued me and like Vermont, I thought of it as a magical land of wonder. A week before the festival, Ryan Montbleau posted about his excitement to be playing there that year and my intuition screamed at me to post a comment. I simply wrote, “I need to get my ass to Jungle Jam this year.”
The founder of the festival Eric, saw the comment and immediately sent me a private message saying that if I could get my ass to the San Jose Airport, everything else would be taken care of. Again, my intuition screamed, “Do it” so I did indeed get my ass there. When I arrived he told me to just be my magical self and experience the festie to it’s fullest to see what I personally would want to bring to it.
I saw that there were a few yoga classes offered, so I made it a priority to go to every single one. Even when I was extremely tired because I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning rocking out, my inner wisdom was pretty strong in letting me know that I should still go to yoga. A man I saw playing on stage the night before was in class next to me. I loved his energy so much. I mean the way he played his bass mixed with the smile on his face and his epic dance moves, I knew we were kindred spirits and needed to be in each other’s lives. That man turned out to be Oteil Burbridge and while in a lunge, I looked over at him and asked him if he wanted to be my friend. He said yes!
I saw how awesome these yoga classes were and how they really added to my personal experience at Jungle Jam. I felt really sad that there were only a couple of people in class each day. I realized that with the help of one of the teachers Andrea, that we could make Jungle Jam’s yoga program grow. I’ve been back every year since doing just that.
The next year, I decided that I wanted to travel and see more of Costa Rica after the festival. Jungle Jam hires the best fire dancers and I quickly became friends with them. They are called, Kiki and the Flaming Gypsies and they are some of the kindest, generous, passionate and talented people I’ve ever met. Ryan Montbleau and I followed them to a town called Santa Teresa. The second we arrived I was like, “Oh heck yes!!!!”
We had an epic time there where we played in the ocean, hula hooped and ate sushi as the sun went down, experienced Ryan playing at a open mic night with locals at a wine bar and ending with 20 of us all sleeping in a big cuddle puddle on mattresses set up on the beach. Before we left, Ryan put his hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “We need to find a reason to come back here.”
Flash forward to two years later, I hosted my first international retreat. It was with Ryan in Santa Teresa! I made a reason for us to come back and it was epic.
I thought back to the declaration I had made to the Universe years prior and cried because it had happened. Last year I went to Florida for Christmas to be with my in-laws, Florida again to be with my parents, Mexico to rage it to Phish, Colorado to co-lead Soul Dance (a workshop for aspiring teenage dancers) I traveled all through Costa Rica alone for ten days, organized yoga for Jungle Jam in Jaco, hosted Rock Your Life Retreat in Santa Teresa, flew on a private jet to Nicaragua to do a site visit for a future retreat and then went to Jazz Fest in New Orleans to teach a live music yoga class accompanied by Oteil and Kofi Burbridge. This year I’m traveling to Florida again the visit my in-laws and parents, hosting a plant medicine retreat for two weeks in Peru (if that speaks to you follow this link), traveling through new parts of Costa Rica alone, bringing more yoga magic to Jungle Jam in Jaco, hosting another retreat in Montezuma with Ryan (if that speaks to you click here), meeting my hubby in Santa Teresa for vacation and doing my thing at Jazz Fest in New Orleans again.
How did I take my declaration from a dream to reality? Let me show you the ways.