This is interview three of my traveling yoga teacher interview series. Each month, I will post a new interview of a yoga teacher I meet along my travels. If you know someone who you think would be a great fit to this series, send me an email! I would LOVE to hear from you!
This month’s interview features Alex Tomkins of:
♦How long have you been traveling and teaching?
I completed my 200-hour teacher training in February 2016 after leaving England in January the same year for an 8 month backpacking trip that turned into never going home.
♦Why do you travel?
I travel to learn and challenge myself by forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I travel to be reminded of divinity and beauty in the world. I travel to be reminded of how privileged I am. I travel to disconnect from this false reality (of money, work and material things) we’re supposed to fall in line with and connect back with the simple life, love and human connection.
♦What are your three must have items while traveling?
My phone, my yoga mat and my kindle.
♦What travel tool do you recommend using?
Hostelworld and Workaway.info. The latter is my favorite as it gives you an opportunity to do work trade where you will hopefully be giving back to the community/land and in return be given accommodation and food. It gives you a chance to travel for longer and probably learn a new trade in the process.
♦What is something you learned on your first trip/job abroad that you think is key for other traveling yogis/teachers to know?
That there are definitely travel snobs out there… ones who will criticize your way of traveling or tell you that you’re not staying long enough in each country, ones who think they’re better travelers than you because they have nothing but the clothes on their back and spent six months doing Ayahuasca in the jungle of Peru but remember, they are not better than you. Everyone’s travel journey is different and no one has a right to project their judgments onto others. Not you, not anyone else.
♦What is the day in the life of a traveler like?
Squatting over a hole in the ground doing a pee with a square of toilet roll that you had to bring yourself, not getting a wink of sleep before an early rise because someone’s snore is able to penetrate past your ear plugs and vibrate your soul and lots of crying and missing home. Those are the bad days. The good days are turning up at a random hostel, dropping your bag and heading out to the common area to start a conversation with some people who seem nice. Making the best of friends and going to explore. Finding cheap eats and seeing an incredible sunset. Maybe drinking a beer and having conversations about life. Maybe drinking too many beers but waking up at 7am the next day for a snorkeling trip. And still loving it.
♦What meditation or mantra are you currently living by?
“This too shall pass.”
But finally understanding that not only will the bad times pass but the good times will too. I’m accepting the ebb and flow of life.
♦Where is your favorite place you have traveled to?
Hawaii. I have never felt the way I felt when I was on the Big Island and considering I’ve been to quite a few places, that’s a big statement… incredible energy, great place for yogis, perfect beaches, turtles, whales, dolphins, adventures, camping on the beach and waking up to watch the sunrise over the water. Heaven on earth.
♦What should a traveler know about the professional travel life?
If you want to make travel a career, you pretty much need to be on social media these days and sometimes you’ll get so sick of it, so take the time to step away. Make sure you keep taking the opportunities that inspire you. Don’t let money be the motivation.
♦What does your dream career or travel opportunity look like?
I would love to host yoga retreats abroad focusing on philosophy, mindfulness and meditation. Who knows maybe one day I’ll even get to be a teacher trainer.
♦I read your blogpost about social media and LOVED it. What is your advice on balancing social media and real life? How can we disconnect while constantly being connected?
I still really struggle with this. It’s so easy to find yourself scrolling and I definitely need to work on it. But my top tips so far are… get rid of the apps that really don’t matter… minimize. Be strict with yourself. Turn airplane mode on. Turn your phone off when you sleep. Commit to deleting your social media while you’re on your trip. You can do it and you will be grateful.
♦Do you have a yoga sequence or breath technique you want to share about disconnecting to connect to ourselves?
One of the simplest ways for me to connect to the present moment is to shut my eyes and listen for the furthest sound I can hear. Simple and effective.
♦Anything else you would like to share or piece of advice you would like to give to travelers, traveling yogis, traveling teachers?
Understanding that travel is a privilege. There are simply some people out there who just don’t have the means or access to travel whether it’s because of a passport that’s not as powerful as yours or money or family issues. Yes, you have to work hard and sacrifice a lot to make travel happen but it is still a privilege. Please remember that. And consider it before you speak. It will take you far.
Practice with Alex Tomkins of: Alex Tomkins Yoga
Alex is a traveling yoga instructor originally from Milton Keynes, UK. You can currently find her teaching in San Francisco at Bridges Rock Gym. You can contact her for all things yoga, meditation, and travel here! Also she just came out with a new Vlog series that you do not want to miss out on, check it out here!