World Wonder #4: Great Wall of China, Beijing during a 7 hour layover and how it is doable

I sat on a plane on my way to Beijing, China. My body was in and out of sleep. My heart was excited for the next adventure to come. In only 2 hours I was scheduled to arrive in Beijing where I had my next trip waiting for me.

I remember waking up once the plane landed in Beijing. We taxied on the runway for a while until I was able to get off the plane. It was 4:40 am. The darkness of the night was still in the air. I was awake with a mission in my mind. I grabbed my few belongings, walked off the plane and straight through the first part of customs. The airport was empty. I believe that my plane was the first to land on that beautiful morning.

I stood in line for my visa, not certain if I would actually get approved or not. I read online that I was eligible for a 72 hour transit visa. My heart pounding for excitement. I was next in line. The officer asked me with her broken English where I was heading. I answered: the Great Wall of China. She responded that I wouldn’t have enough time. My heart said different. She contemplated. I was anxiously waiting for her to stamp my passport and let me go. Instead, she kept asking me questions. I had a mission in mind. I was ready for it. I heard the stamp. Boom! Here I was: officially in Beijing, China.

I headed down the escalators to find the exit. I still had 45 minutes before my driver arrived. I stood still. Listened to the sound of my breath. I watched the people around me moving quickly. I radiated stillness for the time being.

I checked the time: 5:55 am when I saw a young guy with a huge welcoming smile walking my way. I knew it was my driver. He pulled out his phone and showed me a picture. He welcomed me with a warm: “Welcome to China”. That’s about all the English he knew. He took my luggage and walked me to his car. Through body language and intuitive communication we communicated with each other. My mission turned into our mission: the Great Wall of China.

We left the airport. Chinese music playing on the radio in the car. My eyes heavy from the flight but too excited to miss out on all the beauty I was seeing around me. It was an hour drive to Mutianyu Great Wall of China. The drive was beautiful: through small little Chinese villages, Spring was in full tact, flowers blossoming, the smell of green leaves and flowers all around. Mother Nature in full effect. We crossed many bridges with beautiful long riverbeds beneath them. Finally we pulled into a dirt lot and parked. We arrived. I arrived. Surrounded by high mountains and morning fog still in the air I saw mountains all around us. We walked to a lady sitting on the bench across the street. She pointed us the way. I bought my tickets and off I was.

I took a bus about 10 minutes up the mountain. Climbed several sets of stairs. I was out of breath but finally made it to the part of the mountain where I jumped into a cable car. Far in the distance I saw what I have been waiting for all this time. A steep ride up the mountain laid ahead of me. The fear of heights kicked in. I breathed. I stayed calm. I had a mission in mind.

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The cable car was moving. My heart pounding faster. I finally made it over the mountain top and here it was: the breathtaking view of the Great Wall of China. Endless and so full of beauty as it sets on top of the mountain. I climbed a few more stairs before I made it all the way to the top. Time running against me.

I made it. Mission accomplished!

I stood still. I opened my eyes and heart and took it in with full consciousness. Breathtaking and so surreal. My heart full of gratitude. I was standing on the Great Wall of China. It is majestic. Thinking that the Great Wall spreads over 13,171 miles across China is unbelievably powerful. My heart full of joy. I was the first to arrive at that part of the wall on the morning of April 25, 2016. A long dream come true.

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It wouldn’t be a good story to tell if there wasn’t an adventure. I left the top of the Great Wall to head back to the driver who was waiting for me at the bottom of the mountain. I was counting on the bus waiting at the bottom of the cable car to take me back to the village. As I got off the cable car I found myself standing at the bus stop with no bus in sight. Time was running quickly and I had to be back by 9 am to make it on time to the airport. Dressed in flip flops, yoga pants and a shirt, accompanied by a backpack I made my way down the hill. I decided to run. I can still see the older Chinese man looking at me like I was a maniac. Flip….Flop….Flip….Flop….down the hill, through villages of old traditional Chinese culture. I kept running, asking myself if this was the right way to go. In the distance I heard a moped coming my way. It was behind me. As it approached me closer, I stopped it and asked the old sweet Chinese man if this was the right way to the village. I am almost sure that he didn’t understand a word I said and who would blame him. He lives a beautiful live in the mountains of the Great Wall, away from the metropolitan chaos and constant movement. I looked towards the way ahead and nothing but trees where in sight. I asked him with the use of body language if I can get a ride. He was riding on his moped with a wagon full of chicken behind him. Chicken are definitely not my favorite animals but I quickly learned how to appreciate them as I got a quick ride from the old man who spoke no English. We came to an intersection and I was unsure which was I should be going. He turned right but I was almost sure I had to turn left. I asked him to stop and jumped off the chicken cart, thanked the older man and made my way down the road from the intersection. I was hot. Time was running by so quickly. The clock said 9:12am. It was already 12 minutes passed the time I was supposed to be back. I kept running. laughing loudly as this is definitely something I would do: getting lost in the midst of the forest in China.

Finally: I made it back! My driver waiting anxiously at the entrance of the village. I jumped into the car. An hour drive through the fields of the outskirts of Beijing, and before I knew it,  I was back at the airport.

My driver showing off his accomplishments with a huge smile. My heart racing from the excitement of the morning. My legs tired from the run down the hill. I am running on adrenaline through Beijing airport, making my way to Gate 32.

I was the last one to board.

I sat in my seat: H39

I reflect. I look back. I made it!

A visit to the Great Wall of China during a 7 hour layover. And I would do it all over again.

The one who travels learns, grows, explores and finds a way to do it. And makes new friends along the way.

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Hellayoga in LA Yoga Magazine, April Edition 2016

Stick to your dreams. Be ambitious. Trust. And believe in yourself! Be patient.

LA Yoga wrote an article about the In – Room Yoga program I designed for Marriott International. My heart is jumping for joy. Check out the article below:

LA Yoga Magazine Front Cover

LA Yoga In Room Yoga with Hellayoga

My travel bliss…

~My LIFE ~ My Sanctuary ~ My Happiness~

Follow my journey

Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote. I know that I shall be happily infected forever; as I believe that travel is more than the seeing of sights. It is the change that goes on deep and permanent in my ideas of living. I am feeling eclectically buzzed for the wanderlusting experience which lies in front of me – LIFE is truly a celebration of HAPPINESS.

Beauty in its rawest form ~ Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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Body language speaks a million words ~ Jama Masjid mosque, New Delhi, India

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The beauty of simplicity ~ Somewhere in Old Delhi, India

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The magic of finding stillness ~ Ulun Danu Temple, Bali, Indo

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The taste of life ~ Besakih Temple and Volcano Agung, Bali, Indo

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What is your reflection of life? ~ Kubah, Bali, Indo

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An open heart equals endless opportunity ~ a beautiful place in Bali, Indo

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Majestic ~ Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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Home is a definition we each make our own of ~ Sanur, Bali, Indo

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Stillness ~ Guangzhou, China

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Believe in your dreams! With the right amount of dedication, energy, love and support – DREAMS BECOME REALITY.

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The one who takes a risk will grow in strength, self-love and life. Fear holds us back from exploring what life has to offer. Conquer it! Breathe! Trust yourself in what you do. It is the journey to the goal which might always be in the center of where we are hoping to go but it is each step that brings us closer.

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Stillness allows us to reflect on the gifts and beauty we have in life. Acknowledge that what is already in front of you.

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Life is a celebration of Happiness.

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Yoga on stage with The Destroyers at Surfing Madonna, Encinitas 2015. Sponsor: prAna.

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My happy place is the ocean. It leave me feeling balanced, relaxed and joyful. What is your happy place? What puts a smile into your heart?

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I am absolutely in love this beach in Bali. It is honestly a hidden gem and thanks to the locals I was able to find this beautiful place of pure rawness and peacefulness. It is the perfect spot for a Yoga session.
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Beach Yoga with Hellayoga in San Diego, CA. Living the California dream and lifestyle. The ocean is my front yard and the beach my second home.  Check out my schedule and drop in for a class at the beach. Unite with the elements of the Earth.
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Hellayoga at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali

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Hellayoga at Big Ben, London, UK *Reversed Warrior

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Open your heart to the beauty of the life.

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Finding my inner balance. Breathe. *Bakasana/ Crow Pose

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I love to SEE the world upside down. What about you? *Sirasana/ Headstand

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Hellayoga teaching Yoga at Surfing Madonna 5/10 K in Encinitas, CA, Sponsor: prAna clothing

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Taking Yoga off the mat and exploring the streets of Berlin, Germany

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Home is where I travel….

Home - A desire so strong within my heart that I need to follow…..

Traveling is something so special to me. It is the connection I create with myself as I am constantly moving and exploring. It is the feeling I have within that I don’t get by being stagnant in one place. It is the connection between the unknown and known while traveling. The moments I explore with a tingling in my stomach. It is the moments of joy where the tingling turns into rushes of happiness and excitement for that what I explored and witnessed. I absorb all that which surrounds me with my eyes which transfers into my heart, mind and soul. It sparks an excitement to keep the movement going. A movement of travel! A movement of culture! A movement of which I just can’t get enough. I ask myself if it is the connection with like minded bohemian wanderers who travel and find their homes on the road or if it is the connection with places which I call home? I am here now! I am absolutely present in that what I am experiencing and my heart feels content. This is in this very moment-today! How am I going to feel tomorrow or even in an hour?

I wonder if the desire to pack my bags, get on a plane and travel will ever slow down ? How is it in reality that my mind and heart keep feeling the strong desire to travel? Am I a seeker of finding exactly that what I don’t know yet? Is it my purpose to travel? To be! To find who I am in the midst of a jungle, a tropical beach or on the roads in India?

There is not going to be a person to tell me what to do and what is right or wrong. There will only be the person to tell me that it is radical and lonely. But within my heart-I am not lonely. I feel content! I am happy! I am fulfilled. The wanderlusting desire of traveling will continue and I know that one day I will find my place I can call home.

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Travel is the medicine I am taking

Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote. I know that I shall be happily infected forever; as I believe that travel is more than the seeing of sights. It is the change that goes on deep and permanent in my ideas of living. I am feeling eclectically buzzed for the wander lusting experiences which lie in front of me for the rest of my life.

I am getting ready to pack my bags to go on a 5 week adventure through the depths of India, China and Bali. Words don’t do justice to how excited I am for what is lying in front of me. I have ideas on what to do, places I want to see but I am leaving my heart open without expectations of what is to come. The beauty of travel is that you go with it – the path will guide me to the places and people I need to see and meet. Travel is my medicine as I find a deeper meaning of who I am. It might be the challenges, the unknown of not knowing what to expect. The beauty in each place I will visit and see. It is the moments of majesty and beauty which bring the love and light into my heart.

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Happiness is what I find deeply inside me when exploring the parts of the world which I call home. A connection with a place so pure, raw, full of beauty and color, liveliness, love and endless joy for being alive. A connection I build over time in my mind and heart. Anchored deeply inside. Rooted. Strong. Accompanied with a power which overcomes any doubt.

A place made up in my mind. Images created inside the mind. Love cultivated deeply inside my heart. A place I dreamed of existing. A place I was searching for. A place I found myself truly and whom I am. Bali.
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The Streets of India

Its the street of the unknown that keeps pulling me back! Back into reality. Back into the simplicity of pure life with loads of happiness and appreciation for all of the little things. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity! My eyes and heart are open!

 Chandi Chowk, Old Delhi, India 2015

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Guangzhou, China, December 2015

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Hellayoga in Hotel Business Magazine, March Edition 2016

I am beyond excited to share with you a recent article in the Hotel Business magazine about a program I created for Marriott International. It has been a beautiful and exciting journey since the program rolled out. My heart is full of gratitude about the feedback I received and seeing myself in the Hotel Business Magazine puts even more love into my heart. Believe in your dreams and follow them.

Hotel Business In Room Yoga

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I love to teach Yoga….

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I just came home from teaching a great energetic Vinyasa Flow at one of my favorite places here in San Diego. A classroom full of spirits who are dedicated and ready to learn and grow within their practice as well as off their mat.

The classroom was packed. I sat down on my mat to welcome the 13 sets of eyes  who were looking eager at me to get started. It didnt take long and the windows started to  fog up. A sense of heat was cultivated within a few moments into class.  I saw the faces of my students relieve tension and discomfort. Smiles started to pop up and there was no better way for me than finishing my Monday night like that.

I enjoy teaching Yoga. In fact, I  enjoy guiding my students through their practice. Yoga has been a true joy for me. It has brought many new people into my live. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to teach and share my gift. 

As I hear often from people: “You always brighten up the room when you walk in”, “You radiate happiness and positivity”, “You are always so happy” and I can keep going. But the truth is, when I hear those comments, they make my day. Not just because it is a compliment, but furthermore, I was able to change that persons day around. If someone says to me I radiate happiness, that means they felt happy, right?! So it puts a smile on my heart. And thats how I feel when I teach Yoga. The smiles my students have after class are priceless and I am grateful for each and everyone of them. 

What are you passionate and grateful about?