During my solo time in India, I was hoping I would meet some like-minded friends along the way. Lucky for me, I met a lot of them, including Rachel McDonald of Yacht Yogi. During our month together at yoga teacher training, Rachel and I bonded over just about everything and became good friends in a short amount of time.
Some days during our break, when we weren’t shopping, we would sit in each other’s rooms with the windows open, brainstorming social media ideas, talking about life, and figuring out how we were going to keep up our yoga practice once we returned to “real life.” I miss Rachel a ton, but I was super excited to interview her for Wanderer of the Week. Even while reading her responses, I could hear her answer them and it made me feel like she wasn’t all that far away.
Sometimes the greatest friends we make are those we meet on the road, and I’m looking forward to a few more future adventures together. I hope you enjoy learning about Rachel, as much as I loved becoming her friend in India.
Why do you travel?
I believe in living your life to its fullest! Who knows what will happen!? Also, I remember sitting on the bus, again reading Eckhart Tolle and thinking, “I want to confront my fears, I want to push myself towards this non-existent wall of fear.” Now I have so many ambitions, goals and dreams, and I am the only one who will get in the way of them. Also, my dad was a tour guide, and he passed away when I was 17; when I travel, I feel closer to him. I find little things along the way that remind me of him, so that’s another bonus. If there is re-incarnation, he would be a hawk, and together we will fly.
I know it’s hard to narrow down, but what are your three favorite places in the world?
My three favourite places! Wow, this is hard! Narrowing it down, I loved Japan! Anywhere with snow and I am there, but Japan is a magical place that is like no other. So that is also where my second choice leads me, The French Alps! Third, I have to say even though I have travelled to so many destinations and they have all given me experiences of their own and beauty that differs, traveling my own home country of New Zealand would be my next favourite! Grab a campervan and that place is heaven! (Still need to travel more of this beautiful world to compare them all!!)
How do you keep in shape and stay healthy while on the road? Do you have advice for others?
You know what I’m going to say!! Yoga!! Also, watching what I eat. I am a vegetarian and am constantly making sure I am getting the right food intake along with supplements where needed. I have my staple supplements that come with me everywhere: Magnesium, VB12, Bee pollen, Probiotic, Zinc and Iron. Make sure you consult a professional before starting anything new. However, make sure you try all the traditional foods at your destination!! You can’t miss out on the flavours each place has to offer you! OH the treats!
What’s your favorite book to take with you on the road or favorite book about travel?
So I love to read books that when I am done, I can look up at the world and view things in a different way. When traveling this is amazing. You can play with your experiences and people you meet. So any book that is based on the mind or Buddhist teaching. My kindle offers an entire library at my fingertips. But if I was to take one, it would be Eckhart Tolle, “Stillness Speaks.” This one you can re-read over and over, and it can change your view of your travels every time.
Who is your favorite person to travel with? Why?
My own personal company, I haven’t done much travel with others to be honest. I have met people at my destinations for a few days here and there and continued on with people I have met. There is a truly magical feeling with traveling on your own, getting to know yourself more than you thought possible, meeting your fears and taking self-learning to a new level. Finding the true you that you want others to meet. My mum was also amazing to travel with. To see her world open and her mind broaden was definitely a highlight for me in my travels. Okay, so there’s a few favourites, haha. Now it’s my yacht family, as I have travelled with these beautiful humans for a year now, and I wouldn’t change any of it!
If you’ve ever spent a holiday abroad, which was it and how did you celebrate?
I’m going change this question to if I could pick a place to spend a holiday abroad ;). Funny enough, I have thought about this question before. Right after I met the beautiful Erin, The World Wanderer! I thought to myself, “I would love to spend a Christmas in America with this beautiful girl and experience a festive all-out Christmas!”
Tell us about your most memorable trip.
I truly think that the people in a country, city, or town can really make your experiences. In my case, I’m all about Japan when it comes to my most memorable experience. I met my partner at the time in Nesiko, Hokkaido, an authentic but Westernised area in North Japan. He accommodated me so well. Staying in an amazing wooden chalet with the view of the Nesiko’s volcano, waking up each morning to clear the fresh snow tracks for the bobcats and ski doo guides. This on its own was amazing. Reaching the highest point and looking out to such an extraordinary view. During the day, I assisted him and his team with the ski doo tours. Most of the people in this small town are tourists, working winters or on holiday, so many of my friends were residents of this small town already. When we weren’t working, we were hitting the fresh slopes and backcountry trails, bathing in the Onsen hot pools heated by the volcano, or at the local bar where events took place, such as listening to a New Zealand drum and bass group who played. Slice of home in a magical surrounding! I could go on but I am so grateful to have been given this experience, and although I am no longer with my partner at this time, I will forever be grateful for the experiences I have shared with him.
Favorite way to keep busy on the plane?
Kindle, self-learning! I find this is the best time to spend time with yourself. You have no excuses not to, you’re not busy anyway, so use your time to your advantage, get your journal out and write. Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chondron, any inspiration teacher that motivates you, write down what sticks out most to you.Catching up on a few new movies doesn’t hurt either.
What was the first trip you remember?
My first proper trip I remember doing was when I was twenty and decided to move overseas with my partner at the time. Wow, this was a big step for me, but it was the stepping-stone to a world of travel for me. After living overseas for three years, I then decided to venture off on my own and travel Europe for three months, now I work on the super yachts and my travels are endless!
How do you make friends while traveling?
Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, by being myself. When you are traveling you are able to be who ever you want to be, starting fresh with new perspectives. When I travel, I take the opportunity to find myself that little bit more and relax in my own skin. I found that by doing so you attracted liked-minded people that will be life-long friends! Also by stepping outside of your comfort zone every now and again with a trip or an activity that you wouldn’t normally see yourself doing, you will find new personalities to go with it. Isn’t that right, miss World Wanderer? 😉
In your home country, what’s a destination that you think people should visit?
Well, this is just obvious!! Queenstown. Type it in in Google and automatically you will understand! Adventure capital of the world and I was lucky enough to grow up there. Everything from skiing, hiking, bungy jumping, jet boating, the famous Fergburger, and the best nights out you’ll ever have. Not too far away is the beautiful area of Milford Sounds, which you would have seen a lot of in the Lord of the Rings. Anything you enjoy, Queenstown and its surrounding areas have it to offer!!
What was the most surprising moment you’ve had during your travels?
I’m from New Zealand which is pretty much on the other side of the world. When I was traveling Europe I just kept randomly seeing people from home. In Venice, there was a New Zealand architecture exhibition I walked into, intrigued to see what it was all about, and had someone I went to school with behind the desk. Then, standing in the middle of Prague, I looked over to see two girls I haven’t seen in years sitting down under the Christmas tree. Perfect timing and perfect places to be reunited with old friends. Honestly, the most surprising thing!
Favourite mode of transportation. Why?
Haha, this one is easy for me as I work on a super yacht. Imagine having your room with everything you want in it, the comfortable bed that you come home to every night. Now imagine being able to take that room all around the world with you. No need to carry it all on your back because it all travels with you. You could go to sleep in one country and wake up in another, without even leaving your bed.
The media tells of a world that is scary and dangerous, what’s a travel moment that has proved to you that this isn’t true?
Look, the world has always been scary and dangerous, we now just have more media coverage and more technology to present it to the world on a regular basis and scare people into fear of stepping outside. As long as you stick to your gut, be sensible, and research, you’ll be fine. My partner had been getting into skydiving and is interested in base-jumping. The risks are there, the fear will be there to begin, but once you start you have that rush and open your mind to so much more. Same sense as traveling I feel 😉
I know Rachel is about to have some serious adventures, hopefully a few with me, so don’t forget to give her a follow: