How Traveling Can Lead You Towards True Wellness with Annie Daly [Episode #589]
This week’s topic is: How Traveling Can Lead You Towards True Wellness with Annie Daly
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Annie Daly,a NYC-based freelance journalist and author who specializes in travel and wellness. Listen in as Annie shares how other cultures find happiness, healing and self-exploration through travel, and basic steps towards true wellness.
We share what inspires us to make traveling a part of our lives…
Healing and self-exploration through travel…
Solo traveling, journaling and self-connection…
How other cultures find happiness…
Basic steps towards true wellness…
Awareness and listening to the signs to reveal your path to you…
Annie shares what she learned through her years of travel…
About Annie Daly
Annie Daly is a fourth-generation journalist who has worked at and written for a variety of wellness and travel publications, including SELF, AFAR, BuzzFeed, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Cosmopolitan. Her specialties are travel and wellness, and how and where those two intersect. She grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island (just outside of Providence) and now lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband.
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Kimberly: 00:01 Hey Beauties, and welcome back to our Monday interview podcast where I’m so excited for our very special guest today. Her name is Annie Daly. She’s a fourth generation journalist who has a new book out called Destination Wellness, where she writes about the intersection of travel and adventure, and really learning about the true meaning of wellness and living it. And she went to countries like Jamaica and India and Japan and Hawaii, and she learned really deep, beautiful awarenesses and practices again that she brings back to share with women everywhere. And she’s also written for many different publications, such as Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, Buzzfeed, Cosmo, so on and so forth. And she’s a real adventurer, so she’s my travel sister here. I relate to her very much having backpacked myself for over three years. So I think you’ll really love today’s conversation. I can’t wait to get into it.
Fan of the Week
Kimberly: 01:06 But before we do, I wanted to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week. And her name is LoveandWellnessCoachLisa. She writes, “Awesome and educational. The Feel Good Podcast is awesome and educational. I learned so much from Kimberly. I love her holistic approach to health and wellness. I feel her loving energy in every episode. Thank you, Kimberly.” Aw, thank you so much LoveandWellnessCoachLisa. I send you so much love wherever you happen to be. I’m so grateful for your review. I’m so grateful that you’re part of our community and I’m sending you so much love right now through the airwaves, sending you a huge virtual hug. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Really means a lot.
Leave a Review on iTunes
Kimberly: 01:50 And Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as the fan of the week, please just take a moment or two out of your day, leave us a review over on iTunes. It’s a great way to support the show. Plus, it’s free and it’s easy. There’s no real reason not to. And while you’re over there, please be sure to subscribe to our show and that way you don’t miss out on any of these amazing interviews or our Thursday Q&A community podcast. All right, let’s get into our interview right now with a wonderful Annie Daly.
Interview with Annie Daly
Kimberly : 01:13 How’s life going over there in New York today, for you?
Annie: 01:16 Life is going great. It is so beautiful out today. I was just outside earlier.
Kimberly : 01:22 Oh, yeah?
Annie: 01:22 Yes. It’s bright and sunny and everyone is happy. It’s just good vibes over here lately, for sure.
Kimberly : 01:30 Oh, good. Well, I don’t know if you know this, but I used to be a New Yorker. I was there for over seven years. I get a little fuzzy with time, but I was there and it was actually, my landing pad after I was backpacking for three years. So when I was traveling, I felt like, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to stop?” For me, I started to get a bit too reckless, when you know when you’re on the edge. And so I came back and I grew up in Connecticut, but my family was nearby and I had family around New York. So New York felt like this perfect landing pad for me after traveling because you’re still sort of traveling. So I know you’re a sister traveler on the path.
Annie: 02:11 Absolutely.
Kimberly : 02:11 And does that feel like New York for you, when you’re in between trips, it’s like this really exciting place for you to hold space for yourself?
Annie: 02:21 It really is. And I similarly, also grew up in New England. I grew up in Rhode Island.
Kimberly : 02:26 Okay.
Annie: 02:27 I have the same vibe, where my family is close by, it’s a perfect launchpad, as you say, and it’s nice to come home and be able to process my travels, in a place where I can still get the travel vibe without feeling like I’m missing it. All you have to do is just go into a different neighborhood and boom, you’re in another world.
Kimberly : 02:49 I was reading that you’re a fourth-generation journalist.
Annie: 02:52 Yeah.
Where Annie’s love of travel stemmed from
Kimberly : 02:53 Were your parents also big travelers? Did they take you guys on trips a lot when you were a kid?
Annie: 02:58 So actually, not really. My love for travel came from my love for journalism, which is what came from my parents. They actually met while they were doing the news in Washington, DC at NBC.
Kimberly : 03:12 Wow.
Annie: 03:12 Yeah, it’s a really cute story. My dad was the TV reporter and my mom was the TV news writer and she asked him out because she thought he was cute.
Kimberly : 03:22 Wow.
Annie: 03:22 Yeah. So I would say, but we actually didn’t really travel all that much growing up. We went to visit my family a lot. So my mom is from California, so we would go to Laguna Beach a lot and then, my dad is from Washington DC, and so we went there.
Kimberly : 03:39 Right.
Annie: 03:40 But it wasn’t really until I reached college and I did my junior year abroad.
Kimberly : 03:46 Oh, where were you abroad?
Annie: 03:48 I was in England, but I was in England, but I was also all over Europe because I had a bunch of friends who were also studying in different countries. And so we were always just constantly meeting up with each other all the time. And that’s where I got the travel bug.
Kimberly : 04:03 Yeah. I’m always interested in other people’s stories about getting the travel bug and really feeling that pull. For me, Annie, I went to college, as well and I was really trying to figure myself out. And I grew up in such a Caucasian place in Connecticut, that it was always in me, I’m half Asian, wanting to explore, wanting to get out, wanting to see where my ancestors were from in Asia, and all these different things.
Kimberly : 04:29 And you hear this sometimes, but I really do believe that travel is one of the best forms of education and it blew my mind open. And once I started getting on the road, I really did get, for lack of a better term, addicted to it, in a sense. It was giving me all this inspiration. It was helping me grow and I ended up, just kept going and going and going. My biggest consecutive trip was three years and since then, I’ve traveled a lot, but it’s so impactful to be on the road.
We share what inspires us to make traveling a part of our lives
Annie: 05:02 It really is. And one of my favorite parts about it also is, that it helps you look at your life at home in a new light. So it’s like, you’re on the road and you’re out there traveling and learning about other cultures, but you’re also learning about your home and yourself, just in terms of comparing it to how you live in comparison to other places. So I love that aspect of travel.
Kimberly : 05:24 What was your inspiration to keep going? I meet some people and they’re like, “Oh, I loved, Eat, Pray, Love.” Which I personally never read, but they were like, “Oh, I could go out there and I could do this or that.” For me, it was, The Beach. I don’t know if you read that book? But it came out some years before and then one of the places I went backpacking was Thailand. So it was like these books or these ideas, can inspire.
Annie: 05:49 Totally.
Kimberly : 05:50 Did you have anything like that?
Annie: 05:52 So, I really loved this documentary called, A Map for Saturday.
Kimberly : 05:56 Okay.
Annie: 05:56 Have you ever heard of that?
Kimberly : 05:58 No.
Annie: 05:59 So, oh, I think that, that is one of the big documentaries that really inspired me to keep going. So it’s about this guy when he was 25, he’s a documentary filmmaker and he just decided to document his entire journey around the world, for one year.
Kimberly : 06:16 Oh, wow.
Annie: 06:16 And it’s called The Map for Saturday because he came to this conclusion, that when you’re traveling, every day feels like Saturday.
Kimberly : 06:21 Oh, yeah.
Annie: 06:22 Because you wake up and the world is your oyster and you have all the time to explore. And it just feels like you’re waking up to a new day, a new exciting day, every single day. And so I really love that idea, that every day is Saturday when you’re traveling and I’ve definitely kept that in mind.
Kimberly : 06:41 I keep all my journals. I started really journaling when I was on the road and I was really introspecting and I was really, some of my journals were more like, “Here’s where I went today, here’s some of my travels.”
Annie: 06:54 Totally.
Kimberly : 06:55 But then a lot of it, it’s where I really started to unpack, I think, just learning about my connection to myself. And I flipped open to a page the other day that was, “Okay, choose your own adventure day. I can go with these four Irish people I met on these motorcycles, to this waterfall. Or there were these English people, we’re going to go to a different part of Laos, or I can stay in this hostel with this Argentinian girl I met.” It really was this chance to be really free and to be out there.
Kimberly : 07:27 But to your point, I think about taking these jewels of travel. And what I liked about your book, Destination Wellness, is really, yes, there’s this fun element, there’s this exciting element of travel, but it’s also more than that. I think it teaches us about connection, about how to really take care of ourselves, self-care, self-love. I think we can look to different cultures and really learn a lot. And one thing, Annie, when I was in Fiji, it was the first time I saw a circle and it was this circle of children, a formal circle.
Kimberly : 08:00 I mean, not formal, formal, but just this gathering of these children in a circle. And I said to someone, this is a smaller island. I said to someone, “What’s going on over there?” There was an older man and he was sitting with the children. And they said, “That is the elder, teaching the children how to pick a life partner.”
Annie: 08:18 Oh, my gosh. I love that message.
Kimberly : 08:19 Yeah, of the community coming together, really resonated with me. And here I am, 10 plus years later and one of the things we have at Solluna are these women’s circles, so the Solluna Circle is a membership inside of our app. And so I think, “Oh my gosh.” I think about that circle all the time and I think about how much it’s informed my philosophy and my whole wellness. My whole beauty philosophy, really came for those years on the road, beyond my formal studies in nutrition in college. So I’d love to hear about some of the things you to share, or maybe just start with one, a jewel that you took from a country or somewhere, that you think would really benefit women, people here, to learn about this practice or this perspective, or this way of thinking?
How our elders hold the key to life knowledge
Annie: 09:08 Right. Well, as you were just explaining about the circle, my mind immediately jumped to my Hawaii trip.
Kimberly : 09:15 Oh, I get goosebumps. Which island, which island?
Annie: 09:19 All of them. I went to all of them. I went on just a grand tour. It was so wonderful. And one of the things that I love most about Hawaiian culture, is the emphasis on wisdom from your elders.
Kimberly : 09:32 Yes.
Annie: 09:33 I think that is such an important thing that we all need to remember, is that our elders hold the key to life knowledge. And what I love is, in Hawaii, they often talk story, which is the Hawaiian phrase for just sitting down and chatting with somebody and learning about their life and just talking about the deep stuff. First of all, I love the idea that they have that phrase, to begin with. But I also, just love the emphasis on really getting to know yourself, through getting to know your roots.
Kimberly : 10:10 Yeah.
Annie: 10:11 And that’s a really important thing for women and everyone really, to remember today, is that, in this modern world, it’s so easy to just float on by and not really have a secure sense of yourself through talking to your elders. And knowing where you come from and having a really good understanding of your sense of place. And that’s a really big part of Hawaiian culture, that is definitely one of those gems.
Kimberly : 10:39 Yeah. Do you feel, even though you weren’t maybe, a direct bloodline relative, that you were able to speak to the elders, as well, in some of these villages and cultures?
Annie: 10:50 Definitely. And that’s one of the lovely things about traveling to me, is that I find that people around the world really love to share their stories. At a basic level, humans love to share stories. We love to talk about ourselves, right?
Kimberly : 11:04 That’s true.
Annie: 11:08 And so it’s all about, as a traveler going and just asking the questions and giving them the floor and saying, “I am so happy to be in your presence. What would you like me to know? Tell me about yourself.” And just get going down that conversational path. And I find that even not being Hawaiian, everybody-
Kimberly : 11:30 Yeah.
Annie: 11:31 … that I spoke to was just so open and welcoming because I was coming from an open place too.
Kimberly : 11:40 I find that as well. When I traveled, there was just so many people that I would strike up a conversation with. And I loved being in countries like India, you just go in the market and everybody’s chattering between the tuk-tuks.
Annie: 11:51 Yeah.
Kimberly : 11:52 Between when you’re walking with the vegetables. And this idea, when I was traveling, this word stranger, started to feel very obsolete because as we go out, we realized there are a lot of cultures, and of course, we want to be safe. I tell my older son, who’s now five, but we have a baby too. But I say, “Don’t talk to people you don’t know.” But in a bigger sense, this idea of oneness and connection oneness is a big concept. But this connection that we have with each other, when you get on the road, you start to realize that all these things that we think make us so different are really surface.
Annie: 12:32 Right.
Kimberly : 12:32 And underneath, we have these emotions, we have the way that these experiences may be different, but they prompt different feelings inside of us and emotions and it’s amazing. I guess I’m kind of going on and on. But it’s amazing when you travel, you realize how similar we really are.
Annie: 12:52 Well, yeah. I mean, and getting back to Hawaiian culture, that is a big philosophy in Hawaii, as well and it’s the philosophy of Aloha.
Kimberly : 13:03 Yeah.
Annie: 13:03 And I think that when people hear the word Aloha, it’s definitely been commercialized these days and it’s lost a lot of its meaning through that commercialization. But it’s actually an incredibly deep and spiritual concept and at the root of it, is the idea that we are all connected. And so we really need to be treating each other as we want to treat ourselves because we are all part of each other. And so this one woman I interviewed there, she said it so beautifully. I remember she was like, “You want to water the plants and you want to water the tree because we are the tree, we are the plants. We need to take care of them because we’re all connected.” And I love that idea and I think it can apply to every place that you go in the world.
Kimberly : 13:52 It’s true. And I think about, in my family, my maternal grandparents are deceased now and so my great grandparents, although I met them when I was very small, but part of my self-healing, I felt was going to the Philippines and learning. Because I had always felt like this other, because I don’t look exactly white, I don’t look exactly Asian, I’m kind of in-between. But when I went and you can learn about the land, so for me, it’s like the ancestors, but also the land and you can learn about where you came from. And one of the things I found really interesting, even though sometimes I didn’t have relatives, I had some cousins, but then there were parts where I was just exploring on my own.
Healing and self-exploration through travel
Kimberly : 14:32 Is that, I learned that before the spread of Indian influence, the Philippines was actually a place where Indian culture came thousands of years ago and I’m really into yoga and Indian culture. So it’s interesting to see, oh, like maybe there was a line, great, great, great, back in ancient times, where there was some of my ancestors that were also Indian culture, stem from that. So it’s just, like you said, part of this healing, this self-exploration, can come from travel and going to the countries, maybe that you have ancestors and other countries, as well.
Annie: 15:06 Right.
Kimberly : 15:06 Have you had any-
Annie: 15:07 Really getting to know yourself through that sense of place.
Kimberly : 15:11 … yes.
Annie: 15:11 Exactly. It’s really important.
Solo traveling, journaling and self-connection
Kimberly : 15:14 So I did a lot of solo travel and I believe you have, as well?
Annie: 15:18 Yes. I did a lot of solo travel.
Kimberly : 15:22 People wrinkle their nose and they’re like, “Oh, isn’t that scary as a woman?” But I felt very grounded and you make decisions. How was it for you?
Annie: 15:30 I love it. I think one of my favorite things, is that people always, when they hear that you’re solo traveling, they assume that you will be lonely.
Kimberly : 15:37 Right.
Annie: 15:38 And for me, I find that I make more friends when I’m traveling by myself and that’s because when I’m traveling with my husband or my friends, I tend to just stay with them. Of course, we talk to people, it’s not like we’re completely just talking to each other, but there’s definitely something about sitting at a bar alone and you start chatting with the bartender and maybe another solo traveler comes up and starts talking to you. There’s just less of a barrier to entry, I think, in terms of having strangers approach you and you approaching strangers, vice versa. And I really love solo travel in that way, that I actually end up talking to people more.
Kimberly : 16:20 And when you’re solo traveling, do you also journal, do you write down ideas? Are you more-
Annie: 16:26 Oh, yeah. I am a huge journaler. I actually meant to agree with you when you were talking about journaling earlier. I’ve been a journaler for as long as I can remember. And one of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is, wake up, get coffee from wherever the spot is to get coffee and do my morning journaling with my coffee in a beautiful place. Something about doing that on the road, I just feel so inspired.
Kimberly : 16:51 … yeah.
Annie: 16:52 And so many of my ideas just seem to flow when I’m having that coffee, plus travel, plus journal combo. Yeah. I try to repeat it at home. I’ll wake up, I’ll have coffee, but when I’m in my apartment in Brooklyn, it’s home. The ideas aren’t flowing as much, the inspiration is not as tangible sometimes.
Kimberly : 17:18 Yes. So going back, I think it was so interesting what you said about learning from the ancestors and your learnings, what we can take, what we can share with the greater community. For me, one of the biggest things that really reframed for me, was this concept of beauty. When I was traveling and really seeing the true beauty, the deeper beauty that I saw in all these African women and women in Mongolia. This beauty that comes from a deep, I keep using this word, but it really resonates right now for me, this self-connection. Just knowing who you really are, not the surface, but really being connected to your soul.
Kimberly : 17:57 And so it really shattered the way that I had thought of beauty before. And I really was drawn to this deeper, grounded, powerful beauty that I saw in women. And then I started learning about the goddesses, the iconography in India. And just this idea of beauty really changed for me permanently. Can you share with us some of the teachings or ideas about women in particular? Again, that you wish every woman would know about this or things that you would want to get out in a bigger way?
Annie: 18:30 Definitely. So I think our books actually are pretty similar in that way because what you did for beauty, I did for wellness. Right? So, I took the same approach, where I thought that wellness had become too commercialized. And I was working at this job, where I was an editor at a wellness magazine. And I was just getting sent so many products and products and products-
Kimberly : 18:57 Beauty is not about products.
Annie: 19:00 … and it’s like, oh, I just knew that wellness, it has to come from a deeper place. And it’s much more spiritual, it’s a lot more genuine than these products. And those are good for self-soothing times, momentary, but they’re not there for the big picture and so, that’s what I did. Also, I went to all these different places and I was asking people about wellness. And I think, in terms of some of the main lessons, I mean, speaking of India, I really, really love Ayurveda.
Kimberly : 19:34 Yes.
Annie: 19:35 But you are super into that and my husband is actually Indian. So I go to India a lot, his parents live in New Delhi.
Kimberly : 19:43 Okay.
Wellness and understanding your own genetic makeup
Annie: 19:43 And that’s where I originally learned about Ayurveda, from his mom, who is very into it. And I think that my main takeaway that I love, is that wellness is so personalized and that it really needs to come from a place where you understand your own genetic makeup first and then you can act based on that. And you can make all of your decisions based on how you know that you personally are made up. And that to me, is really powerful because when you think about all of the wellness trends, a lot of them, they’ll take a broad sweeping approach, where it will say, “This practice is really good for everyone.” But it’s not, it’s very individualistic. So, I think that’s a really important thing to remember.
Kimberly : 20:36 And for me too. I get asked about this all the time. So I’d love to hear your definition, but for me, we have here at Solluna, what we call, the four cornerstone philosophy, which is, food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. So to me, wellness is when you’re really nurtured across all parts of your life. Because our powers and our wholeness, so sometimes people think wellness can just be like, “Oh, I’m eating healthy.”
Annie: 21:02 Yeah.
Kimberly : 21:02 Which is important but you can eat healthy and have so much stress and so much anxiety and your body’s breaking down, or maybe you’re really fit in your body but again, you don’t have that connection. Whatever practice suits you. For me, it’s meditation, stillness, being in nature, that connection. So for me, wellness really has to be about the whole person.
Annie: 21:24 That’s very important.
Kimberly : 21:26 When you travel, it’s not as fragmented, I think, as in the West.
Where to find your true wellbeing
Annie: 21:31 Exactly. And I think it’s also, for me, one of the bigger lessons too, is just spending time in nature. I know that you just touched on that earlier, but to me, a lot of the places, Norway in particular, they have a philosophy called, friluftsliv, which stands for the fresh air life. And it’s basically about just making sure to live as much of your life outside as you possibly can, no matter the weather, at all times. And it’s this fundamental understanding, that spending time in nature, just spending time outside, is where you find your true wellbeing. And I think across a lot of the other places I went, Jamaica is also just very, very, very focused on nature through the concept of Ital, which is the Rastafarian way of healthy living.
Kimberly : 22:22 Wow. What does that entail?
Annie: 22:25 They’re into that, yeah.
Kimberly : 22:27 What does that entail? It just seems like they’re so relaxed and laid back and when we think of Jamaica, I think of the music. So what do you think it is that makes them happy? And what is the philosophy, just more relaxed in Jamaica?
Annie: 22:42 Yeah.
Kimberly : 22:43 So far from our culture.
Annie: 22:45 I mean, it’s interesting. It has quite a backstory. So basically, Ital is, again, it’s the healthy way of living in Jamaica, specifically with Rastafarian. And Rastafarian is a concept that emerged in the 1930s in Jamaica, as a result of British colonialism. Basically, a group of Jamaicans got together and they decided to form their own community because they were incredibly oppressed. And so as a result of that, they developed this very, very deep and spiritual connection to the land because they weren’t shopping at British grocery stores. They were really growing all of their own food themselves and they had created their own community and so that’s the root of Ital.
Annie: 23:34 And today, it has morphed into more of a plant-based lifestyle, most Rasta’s try to grow their own food still, and they’re full vegan, and they really, really have a strong connection to the land still because they remember the roots of this philosophy. So I really love that whole idea. And it’s also, it’s not just about the nutritional benefits of being vegan and growing your own food, it’s also about the idea of self-reliance.
Kimberly : 24:09 Yes.
Annie: 24:12 The history is, that they created their own community. And so even today, Rasta’s all around the world, are all about self-reliance. And so many, if they live on a farm, they still try to grow their own food. And even in cities, you’ll find a lot of Rasta’s will grow little seeds on their window sill or belong to a CSA or get their food from the farmer’s market. Because these are all things that allow us to support the local farmers with a strong connection to the land, as opposed to bigger, commercial stores that may not serve us.
Kimberly : 24:51 That’s true. I didn’t think about that strong part of it, as well.
Annie: 24:54 Yeah.
Kimberly : 24:54 And of course, that confidence and that independence and forging your own way in life, that’s part of that. I imagine, that self-reliance.
Annie: 25:03 Exactly. And eating natural food is part of that, but it’s part of this greater picture of the self-reliance, too. Yeah.
Kimberly : 25:14 It’s interesting. We had Dan Buettner here on the podcast who discovered The Blue Zones.
Annie: 25:19 Yeah. I talked to him.
Kimberly : 25:21 He always so interesting because, it struck me as well, going to these cultures where it’s on the outset, it’s like, “Oh, they’re eating peasant food.” Right? And they’re like the healthiest people in the world. It’s very simple, these dishes are just like grandma’s lentil soup or whatever, very simple, very nourishing. And it just feels like one through-line, I see in a lot of these countries that seem to be, that joyfulness, is so much more simple. And then I think about how we get so into numbers and we micromanage calories, and everything’s like these tracking devices, so you can really track how many calories you’re burning and all this different stuff. And from my perspective, I think there’s benefit in all these things, to an extent, whatever feels good to you. But then one thing for me, when I was traveling, Annie, I saw this deeper simplicity that was community and connection and eating meals and it wasn’t so hyper-fixated on numbers. Yeah, what do you think about that, what are some of the things you would say, makes them so happy?
Other cultures and how they find happiness
Annie: 26:27 Sure, of course, because really, that’s the premise of my book, is that it’s all about getting back to the basics. I mean, I went to six different places, it was Jamaica, Norway, Hawaii, India, Japan, and Brazil searching for wellness in all of them. And even though I came out with different conclusions, the overall theme, was that it’s about connecting with your family, connecting with nature, eating natural foods, knowing your story through connecting to your ancestors. These are all things that are as old as time, we’ve been practicing these things all along.
Annie: 27:07 It’s just that we’ve gotten so far away from them, through the modern world. So it’s really about getting back to these simple tactics that you can’t buy them. And I think that’s a big issue, is that the wellness industry has come along and it’s all about the things that you can buy. This idea that wellness is something you can buy, but it’s not. You can’t buy spending time with your family, you can’t buy spending time in nature. These are things that are affordable and free for everyone and I love that.
Kimberly : 27:43 Yeah. What would you say to someone who’s, “Well, I can’t travel anytime soon. And I’m really struggling financially. I live in the middle of the city and I’m estranged from my family.” What are some basic steps, that still you can take towards true wellness, that we’ve learned from our global community?
Basic steps towards true wellness
Annie: 28:08 Definitely. So, I mean, I think a lot of the lessons that I learned, I love the idea that I learned them while I was traveling, but you can apply them at home.
Kimberly : 28:18 Yeah.
Annie: 28:19 So in terms of this Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, which is about spending time in nature, I think that it’s as simple as making some small tweaks throughout your day so that you’re spending more time outside. If your friend asks you to go to dinner at a restaurant, maybe suggest a picnic in the park instead. Or if you’re going to run errands, walk to do them, if you can, instead of driving everywhere. Or try to set your life up so that you’re living in more of a walkable zone, which I know Dan Buettner is a big fan of, as well. Of just setting up your life so that these things are more baked into your day-to-day routine.
Kimberly : 28:58 Yeah. Just staying more active in general.
Annie: 29:00 Yeah. And another concept that I really love, is this idea in Japan, it’s called ichi-go ichi-e, and it translates to one time, one moment, like once in a lifetime.
Kimberly : 29:14 Yes, yes.
Annie: 29:15 I love it. And it’s about the idea of just cherishing your small interactions that you have with everyone around you, every day because doing so, helps you live in the present moment and feel more balanced and whole. And so in terms of a simple thing that you can do each day, is to just talk to the people around you who are more in your peripheral zone. It’s maybe not necessarily your friends and family, but the person who you get coffee from in the morning, or the mail delivery person or whoever these people are, that come and go into your life, just stop to chat with them for a little bit. And I think that making a point to cherish these interactions that you have every day, is really grounding and can help you just feel more whole and in the moment.
Kimberly : 30:04 Well, I think I love that and I think it’s so important. In one of the yoga concepts that I really resonate with, is this idea, it’s circles upon circles. And our inner biological family is one circle and then there’s our friends, but in a greater sense, we’re all part of this circle, we’re all one. So to your point, who you interact with, the person in line at the post office, or this person that checks you out at CVS, or whatever, we’re still to honor those moments. And when you said that, I really remember, I was at a Japanese restaurant actually, and at the end, they gave me the symbol and explained that. It was one of those places where they give you a little takeaway paper or whatever.
Annie: 30:47 Oh, yeah.
Kimberly : 30:48 And I thought, “Wow, there’s so much depth in Japanese culture.” I love the Shintoism. I love this idea, the soul, and all of these things in nature. But yet, to really honor those moments, which otherwise, we just feel we’re just on this overdrive getting to a destination, instead of really enjoying the present moment of every day. And that’s really where we are, now, now, now.
Annie: 31:12 Right, exactly.
Kimberly : 31:13 Yeah, I feel like it is easy in busy life with all these different devices and alerts and social media, to really not be present that much. And if there’s one thing I noticed when I was in, let’s say, Morocco, for instance. These boys that took us out for this camel safari were so in love with the desert and they were singing their songs and they were looking at the stars and they were just really alive to that moment in the desert.
Kimberly : 31:45 And that’s something like you said, you can’t buy that. You can’t buy that aliveness. I feel like us Westerners are constantly trying to get back to that simplicity, to that presence with these techniques and the mindfulness, but really it’s… I did a podcast last week with Gary Jansen, who’s an amazing writer and editor on some of my books. And he says, “For me, spirituality is just awareness. It’s like really being aware and awake to what’s around you.” Which sounds really simple but when you watch the mind, it just starts to jump around to this and evaluating and analyzing, and this and that, over analyzing definitely takes you out of joy.
Awareness and listening to the signs to reveal your path to you
Annie: 32:26 Absolutely. And I really love the idea of awareness and being able to just listen to what’s going on around you, because I feel like I keep talking about Hawaiian philosophy somehow on this podcast, but that reminds me of another one that I uncovered there, which is the philosophy of navigation. And so basically, when the ancient Hawaiians came to Hawaii, they hadn’t ever been to the land. So they knew that it was there because there were these birds that were on the land that then, came to the ocean. And so they knew that there was land because these birds were land birds.
Kimberly : 33:02 Right.
Annie: 33:02 And so they knew that, but they didn’t really know anything else. And so they were just really having to pay attention to the signs all around them, to the ocean swells and the stars and the moon and the tide and everything to lead them to the land. And so today, that turned into this philosophy, of life, in which they don’t necessarily try to plan everything, but they wait for the signs to come and let the signs reveal the plan to them. And so, it’s a very anti-Western way of thinking, if you think about it, because I think that in the West, we tend to think that we can control everything. And we say like, “Oh, if I want this goal in life, I just have to take step A, B, and C, and it will lead to D.” And we’re really taught that we can control our own destinies by just hustling and going through the grind.
Annie: 34:01 But what I love about this Hawaiian idea, is that it’s more about listening to the signs and waiting for them to reveal your path to you, but you have to be still to hear them. And that’s a problem in our society because we’re not still enough to listen to the signs all around us, to hear the ocean swells, to hear the moon, to hear the sun, the things that will lead us to the land and lead us to the path that we’re meant to be on. Those signs are there, but you have to be quiet to hear them.
Kimberly : 34:34 There’s this discussion about manifesting. And there’s this one school that’s a Western idea of, “Do A, B, and C, and now keep focusing and pairing emotion with your feeling, you can create whatever you want.” And there’s truth to that because we are creators and we have that ability to create. And so for some people that, especially when you’re beginning on the path, that might sound really inspiring, “Oh, I can create all this stuff.” But I personally, believe there is a level beyond that. I think you transcend that into what I call, co-creating with the divine, with greater intelligence, which does rely on what you’re talking about, which is, yes, we have our personal wants and desires, but then there’s the greater flow, there’s the greater way of things. Like the Laos dowry chain, which I love very much, which is about working with, co-creating with, so it’s not just what me, myself wants and every moment, which could be a little ego-
Annie: 35:36 Right.
Kimberly : 35:36 … or versus the big self. And the big self is the divinity and part of the divine part of us, divinity inside of us, which is connected to the Earth, is connected to other humans, is connected to the greater plan, so to speak. So what you’re speaking about with the Hawaiians being really tuned in for the signs, and also I think the inner voice, the intuition rising up and really moving from that place of inspiration. And inspiration to be inspired, is really spirit inside of us versus that, like you said, that Western ego control, always pushing our way. Which we can accomplish things to an extent, but sometimes it feels a lot more arduous, and sometimes we’re pushing things that maybe aren’t really in our best interest, even though we think they are, at the time.
Annie: 36:24 Exactly. And I think that’s my favorite part of this whole philosophy, is that I think when you really slow down and listen to the signs to feel, to really get in touch with your intuition, you might find that what you were pushing for yourself actually, isn’t what’s best for you anyway.
Kimberly : 36:42 Yes.
Annie: 36:42 The goal that you were heading toward, that you were trying to create for yourself is actually in some way, going against what you’re really meant to do. So I think with all of these things, it’s definitely about taking them with a grain of salt and knowing that we also have… What am I trying to say? A lot of these philosophies are counterintuitive to the way that many of us were raised. And so it’s about learning from them and trying to incorporate them into your life, as much as possible, while also recognizing some of the other philosophies that we grew up with, so it’s a mix.
Kimberly : 37:25 Something that really reshaped for me during my travel, was my relationship to time because I tend to be an impatient person. I was a lot more impatient, that type-A, that perfectionism, that driven part of me growing up to get achievements, to prove worth, and all that. So time was, “I need to do enough and get enough done.” And I remember being in India and you go to India, it’s like, “Okay, linear time goes out the window.” And I remember going to the bus station once and they were like, “Well, the bad news is, the bus that you’re supposed to be on in an hour, is not coming until this evening. But the good news is, that the bus that was supposed to arrive two days ago, will be here in two hours.”
Annie: 38:18 Yeah. [crosstalk 00:38:18].
Kimberly : 38:18 Yeah, exactly. And these plans that we have, I think it’s such a great lesson for learning. We’re not always in charge to the degree that we think we are. And yeah, just this pushing and pushing, it’s the opposite of flow. You might think of a really connected person, someone that feels really well to me, they don’t have all that pushing energy. They’re much more relaxed and in tune with life.
Annie: 38:44 Right. And that’s not to say, that they are lazy and that they’re not trying to accomplish things.
Kimberly : 38:50 No.
Annie: 38:50 And I think that sometimes, people will hear these philosophies and think like, “Oh, does that mean that you can just sit back and kick back and wait for life to happen to you? So it’s not that. It’s just about letting life reveal itself to you and listening to the signs and having the confidence to go with them, to whatever you hear, whatever your intuition is telling you. It’s hard sometimes to go with it because it might not always be what you expect it to be.
Kimberly : 39:25 Totally. I also think, touching on this for another moment, being a woman and traveling around the world. I found cultures in places that it was very matriarchal and actually, the Philippines to an extent, is the priestess. The women priestesses of Glastonbury, there’s certain places where the women, the medicine women, the women are really honored. And Tammy Lynn Kenya came on this podcast and talked about some Native American cultures, where the menstruating women would be sat down and they would want to hear their dreams. Because they believed when women were having their period, they had different visions. So there’s that aspect.
Kimberly : 40:05 But then, of course, you probably have, as well, I went to countries where women were more marginalized. And it was just interesting when you travel around just to see the different ways that gender identity can really impact our journeys in life, our self-worth, our connection to ourselves. So after being in all those places, what did you learn about yourself? I guess, or anything to share, as a woman? That’s a big one.
Annie shares what she learned through her years of travel
Annie: 40:41 Good question.
Kimberly : 40:41 Yeah.
Annie: 40:43 I mean, I think it does get back to the power of trusting your intuition and trusting that your story and where you come from, is worthy and it’s enough. I really love the idea of tapping into your sense of place and really, really just getting to know yourself in this bigger way, whether it’s through Ayurveda, where you’re studying more of the composition of your body, or in Hawaii, where it’s more about learning where you grew up and where your ancestors are from but it all connects to the idea of just knowing your story.
Kimberly : 41:27 Yeah.
Annie: 41:27 By the way, there is a Hawaiian phrase for that, it’s called nana i ke kunu, and it means, look to the source and that philosophy has just stayed with me. And as a woman, I think it’s really powerful to just have this strong sense of self, where you are looking to your sources, you know where you come from, you know what’s best for your body, you know what foods to eat that help you feel balanced, which foods to avoid, that throw you off. All of these things come down to that inner knowledge and then, A, it’s having it, and B, it’s using it to guide your decision-making. Because that’s another thing, is that yes, if you have a sense of self that’s one thing, but then acting on that and knowing, “This is what’s good for me, this is what’s not. So I will make these decisions accordingly.” And they may not always go with what society is telling you to do with that time, but that’s okay. It’s really getting to know that inner spirit, that we all have.
Kimberly : 42:39 The inner spirit nourishing the inner essence. And I also find, Annie, when I was talking about this and thinking about these cultures and the different ways that we approach ourselves, the way that culture may approach a woman. It’s unpacking, if you dig deep, deep down, you’ll start to see that there are all these different sorts of fears. Right? There’s a fear, in let’s say, a woman might behave in a certain way or run away from you or run wild because there’s this wildness. There’s more of the divine feminine, is that non-linear, that Shakti, that essence, that wild creativity, that wild passion.
Kimberly : 43:17 And so I think what’s been really helpful for me in examining again, just these different cultures in relation to myself, is really letting go of fear and the fears of, not good enough, fears of what if I’m too wild and crazy, but really being okay with that untamed part of us. That part of us that is intuitive, that part of us that maybe doesn’t do things the same way as everybody else, but really honoring that essence. Because I just think there’s just been so much fear around it and it manifests in different cultures in different ways, but that was a through-line I saw when I was traveling. You start to understand, “Oh.” when you dig down to it, “There’s a fear here.” Whatever, the men or the women or whatever, but really seeing that, as well, can bring up a lot of truth.
Annie: 44:04 Definitely. You just said that so well. It’s because it’s hard to go against society at a basic level. So much of this comes down to going against the expectations that society has laid out for us. And if your intuition is telling you one thing and it’s going against what society is telling you, it’s hard and it requires a lot of bravery to go down that different path.
Kimberly : 44:29 Yes. And I also think, with wellness in all these cultures, there is that constant, self-reflection and self-guidance. And I think what I see in our society, is there’s so much disconnection that everybody’s running to experts and third parties outside. Whether it’s the devices or relying only on what their astrologer says or whatever it is. And it’s okay of course, to get guidance. But I think as we move forward and we take these steps to really embody our actual wellness, and like I said, taking care of our food, our bodies, our emotions, mental health, and our spiritual connection, we can start to really work towards more of that self-reliance, that you mentioned earlier from the different cultures, which is so empowering, and that is the real wellness.
Annie: 45:17 Yeah, exactly. And then it’s funny too, because then there’s the opposite side of this, which is that, it’s also about sometimes stepping out of ourselves and forgetting about ourselves.
Kimberly : 45:28 Yeah.
Annie: 45:28 A Japanese professor that I interviewed for my Japan chapter, I was interviewing him about that concept of ichi-go ichi-e that I mentioned earlier. And he said, “That his definition of that is, really, really staying in the moment, is all about the art of self-forgetting.” And so on the one hand, it’s really important for us to get to know ourselves and to do all of this deep work. But then on the other side, it’s also important to forget that sometimes, and to just tune into something that makes us so in the moment, where we forget all of our various idiosyncrasies and our worries and our troubles. Where in Japan, that often comes in the form of food, like making sushi, and these things that just require intense concentration, tea ceremonies, whatever it is, even talking to somebody, just something that makes you step outside of yourself.
Kimberly : 46:27 Wow.
Annie: 46:28 So, I think really about striking that balance, where we are so interested in this work of getting to know ourselves, and then at the same time, also remembering that, staying in that zone for every hour of the day, is also probably not good. We also have to have the mix of forgetting yourself too, so it’s both.
Kimberly : 46:50 What a great point to bring up.
Annie: 46:52 Yeah.
Kimberly : 46:52 And my last book, I quoted Stephen Mitchell’s translation on the Dow, in the beginning chapter. And I’m paraphrasing a little bit, but it was something to the extent of, “To really understand yourself, you have to let go of yourself.” So it’s like you understand, you connect and then you let go of the over-analyzing mind and the neuroses.
Annie: 47:15 Yeah.
Kimberly : 47:15 Then they start to drop away. And then, Preetha and Krisnaji who wrote a book, The Four Sacred Secrets, they’re very prominent spiritual leaders in India, who also came on the podcast. They said, “The cause of all suffering is based in self-obsession.”
Annie: 47:33 Right. Exactly.
Kimberly : 47:35 But then we transcend that when you connect, there’s the surface of like, “Oh my God, I need to do more stuff to my hair, or am I doing enough out here?” But I think, when you drop it and you connect, that connection becomes solid and then you don’t need to have all this daily over-analyzing, it’s so solid that you don’t have to keep checking with your best friend, “Hey, do you like me? Do you like me?” You know you rely on that.
Annie: 48:00 Yeah.
Kimberly : 48:00 You relax and then you connect with yourself and you have that wholeness feeling, so then you can relax and you can be more present. So I love that.
Annie: 48:08 Yeah. Yeah. It’s both.
Kimberly : 48:10 It’s both and it’s the balance and it’s tuning in to know where that line is?
Annie: 48:16 Definitely, easier said than done.
Kimberly : 48:20 Well, this is fascinating. I love to hear about your travels and thank you so much for coming on and sharing some of your wisdom and your experiences, especially from your new book, Destination Wellness. Can you share with us, where we can find out more information about you, learn more about your work and your journalism?
Annie: 48:39 Sure. So I have a website, it’s anniedaly.com and you can also find me on Instagram. My handle is @annniemdaly, A-N-N-I-E, M as in Mary, D-A-L-Y.
Kimberly : 48:52 Perfect.
Annie: 48:53 And the book is available, wherever books are sold.
Kimberly : 48:57 I love it. Well, thank you, Annie. It’s so wonderful to meet, especially another woman traveler, another kindred spirit.
Annie: 49:04 Totally.
Kimberly : 49:04 So I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and can’t wait to connect with you again.
Annie: 49:09 Thank you so much for having me. I really loved talking to you.
Kimberly: 02:32 All right, my loves, hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I enjoyed being part of the conversation. So much to learn around the world. So much to learn with travel and other cultures and other perspectives. So I love this conversation and I invite you to check out Annie’s work and her book should you want to learn more about these beautiful practices and these beautiful countries. We will have the show notes up for you over at mysolluna.com. That will also link to other podcasts, other resources, other articles I think you might enjoy. Please also be sure to check out our Solluna app, which is free over in the app store. And I’ll see you over in social @_KimberlySnyder. Be back here Thursday for our next Q&A community podcast. Until then, take care and sending you so much love.