“When passion and skill work together, the end result is often a masterpiece.” ~ Chris Guillebeau
Get ready to be inspired! I spent the weekend in a workshop devoted to the study of dharma. Dharma has many meanings. The words originates from the Sanskrit dhri, which means “to support, hold up or bear.” In this context consider it the discovery our own “dharma” or purpose and reason for being alive. Have you been asking yourself, “What am I meant to do with this one wild and precious life?” Me too. Along this path of discovery I met Brooke. We became fast friends during my yoga teacher training. Since that time, Brooke has been pursuing her passion for travel and yoga full-on. If you love travel and dig yoga or just want to be inspired about taking a chance and following your passion read my interview with Brooke and learn about her super cool company Yoga Travel Tree. Her dharma in action.
Yoga Travel Tree is all about finding meaningful yoga experiences regardless of your yoga level. We all have busy lives and different goals and so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to yoga or to travel. Brooke wants all yogis to find the best yoga retreats, trainings, events, studios, etc. that fit who they are and where they are in their lives.
Check out my interview with Brooke.
Just like most things in life, Yoga Travel Tree was born out of a mishmash of experiences, ideas, and encounters. Back in 2008 when I started researching yoga teacher trainings available internationally, I was very frustrated with the process. At that time, there weren’t centralized websites that allowed me to research my options and also read about others’ experiences on those trainings. In the end, I found a training that I enjoyed, but it was honestly a leap of faith (and a big scary check to write). I had no idea if it would be a quality yoga experience.
At that time I was working in the student travel and international education industry and was at the helm of GoAbroad.com, the leading resource for meaningful student travel experiences (study abroad, volunteer abroad, teach abroad, etc.). I saw the connecting between the great service we were offering to university students and how that could translate to the yoga world. I saw a website where travel-loving yogis with a bit of wanderlust could come and learn about all the yoga travel experiences that are out there. And believe me there are thousands!
It was also a HUGE chance I took in April 2014 to leave behind an industry where I’d worked for nearly a decade to move up and build a name for myself and leave behind a company that I had worked so hard to help grow exponentially. I gave all that up to pursue my passion for yoga, travel, and building something really cool for the yoga community. (You can read more about that here.) [link http://www.insidestudyabroad.com/2013/05/leaning-in-and-moving-on-why-i-left-my.html]
How have yoga and travel inspired you?
I was raised in a rural, agrarian community in Kansas and as you can imagine, big international trips were not part of my life growing up. It was a stroke of luck, serendipity, or fate that landed me a two-week trip to France and Spain with my high school Spanish teacher. I had never been anywhere beyond the midwest at that point in my life – those 12 days exploring the streets of Paris, Barcelona, and Madrid absolutely changed my life and opened me up to a world, people, languages, everything that had only ever existed for me in books. From that point forward, I had a single minded goal of leaving Kansas and traveling the world.
Through a lot of hard work and dumb luck, I was able to do just that. But it wasn’t until 2008 that yoga became a part of my life in a real way. I had taken one yoga class in college and absolutely hated it! Which, looking back, just reminds me that people and experiences come into our lives when we are ready and willing to receive them. And for whatever reason, yoga did not resonate with me during college. I was a busy little bee working on my final research project, applying to grad school, trying to keep my near perfect GPA. Yoga just felt like a waste to me at that point. How could people just stretch, breathe, and lay there for an hour?! I have to laugh at myself now because I’m constantly trying to convince people that yoga is more than all of that – it’s a state of mind.
But in 2008, I was sailing around the world on a ship working for a study abroad program called Semester at Sea. We were somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Brazil and Namibia, and my friend/colleague was teaching a yoga class on the deck of the ship at sunset. She had finally convinced me to come along even after all my ranting about how “I’ve tried yoga…not for me.” And it was there, with this glorious sunset over the water, the vastness of the ocean surrounding us from every angle, and an open mind that I found yoga. I’ve been slowly developing my practice ever since.
For me both yoga and travel have been transformative experiences. Both have helped me appreciate, question, and learn more about the world around me and about myself. My careers in international education and in yoga have been rooted in helping others have this type of experience where they walk away from it better and ready to make the world a little better too.
What kind of community will we find at Yoga Travel Tree?
Yoga Travel Tree is all about finding meaningful yoga experiences regardless of your yoga level. We all have busy lives and different goals and so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to yoga or to travel. We want all yogis to find the best yoga retreats, trainings, events, studios, etc. that fit who they are and where they are in their lives. Not all of us can afford to spend 3 months in an ashram in India (or even want to). Yoga Travel Tree will help anyone find a yoga experience that speaks to them based on their own parameters and desires.
We’ve also curated hundreds of articles all about yoga, wellness, nutrition, health, and of course, travel to help provide yoga lovers everywhere with information that can help them live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
What is your favorite thing about Yoga Travel Tree?
The entire site is my baby at this point! It’s hard to pick one part I like the most. But for me, I most appreciate the review feature so that yogis can review the experiences they’ve had to help future yoga travelers make more informed decisions. BUT I also love the filtering options so that you can narrow your search results based on how long you want to go or what time of year you’d like to leave.
If you’re reading this and you’ve been through your own teacher training or yoga retreat, please come leave a review and share your experience with the community!
How can we interact with you and the site?
The first thing you can do is come to www.YogaTravelTree.com and start exploring! We’re adding hundreds of new retreats, trainings, and events (festivals, conference, etc) every week. And in just a couple of months, we’ll be adding yoga studios to the mix as well. Exciting times!
Once you’re on the site, you can create an account (link: http://www.yogatraveltree.com/?ptype=login&page1=sign_up) and start adding your favorite retreats, trainings, and events to your personal account. You can also leave a review on any trainings and retreats you’ve experienced first-hand. If it’s not listed on the site, don’t worry! Send me an email (email@example.com) with a link to the program and I’ll get it added ASAP!
Off the site – definitely check us out on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter (links below) and subscribe to our newsletter (http://yogatraveltree.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=fa35203c00456f6f788f62f76&id=4e8a969d14)
What is your vision for YTT in the future?
We want to be the leading yoga travel resource site on the web! We’re looking at different interactive apps we could develop to help people with no yoga experience build a yoga practice and also incorporate a social element. We might start leading our own retreats, working with top teachers to offer trainings, who knows! Exciting stuff and it’s all a work in progress!
If anyone out there wants to connect with me personally, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow my personal Twitter account @thenewdorothy (link: www.twitter.com/thenewdorothy)
Enjoy the ride, yoga lovers! Safe travels and namaste!
Brooke Roberts is an explorer, thinker, and entrepreneur. Hailing from a sleepy farm-town in rural Kansas, at 18-years-old Brooke set out to explore the world and never looked back. She’s the founder of YogaTravelTree.com, a comprehensive website that helps yoga enthusiasts find meaningful yoga experiences and resources at home and around the world. Before venturing into the world of yoga, Brooke worked for nearly a decade building and promoting international education programs in higher education. Most recently, as the Senior Vice President at GoAbroad.com, the leading online resource for meaningful travel programs abroad, Brooke spearheaded the business development and strategic growth of the company. From the diversity of positions and the expertise she developed from her work in international education, Brooke founded InsideStudyAbroad.com, where she provides no nonsense information and advice for current and aspiring education abroad students and professionals.
With a couple of degrees in hand, business savvy, and a heavy dose of wanderlust, Brooke has made exploration, of the world and the world of ideas, the central focus of her educational, personal, and professional lives. Brooke’s presentation on “How to Be A Rock Star,” inspires anyone, at any stage in their career and life, to go beyond “good enough” and truly make a mark in the world.
You can connect with Brooke on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter @thenewdorothy.