Grace Clement is living a life many people only dream about. After graduating from University of Miami with a degree in business, she worked for a luxury swim suit company before deciding to ditch the traditional life and pursue her love for yoga and travel. She combined the two by obtaining her certification in Goa, India, and has been traveling ever since.Both inspiring and calming at the same time, Grace reminds us simply by example that our lives are open for our own interpretation and creation, and not to allow others to define you or your parameters. In other words, if the traditional lifestyle doesn’t work for you, create a life that does! You can follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram via her website YOGAzure.com.
What was the first trip you took that awakened your desire to travel? How old were you and where did you go?
Answer: When I was 15 years old I went on a trip with my mom to Greece. It was an unforgettable and bewitching experience. I fell in love with the food, the people, and the history. I felt like the coolest kid ever to be missing school and eating baklava underneath the golden glow of the Acropolis. Actually, before we even got to Greece we did a crazy 23-hour layover in Rome. I will never forget that feeling of jet lag, adrenaline, and complete disorientation as we navigated the insane traffic my first time in Rome. Ten years later I am still seeking out those types of experiences. I love diverting from plans when an unexpected opportunity presents itself.
What or who has been your inspiration for giving up a permanent address? What do you love about being nomadic?
Answer: I used to have a lot more anxiety before I started to seriously travel. I wanted to have everything figured out years in advance because I was terrified of not having that sense of security that planning brings. I think it was more important for me to have a plan that it was to actually be passionate about that plan. I can see now how that sense of security was an illusion for me. Beyond the truly amazing life experience, being nomadic has helped me to realize that it’s okay to not have it all figured out. I am much more present now and have realized that I don’t spontaneously combust without a plan. This has been a major revelation and a source of inspiration. Another thing I love is the necessity for minimalism. Once you realize that you can only acquire what you are able to fit into your backpack, you buy a lot less and become much more discerning with your purchases. I feel very light and carefree!
Is there a non-essential you always bring with you even if it adds a little weight and takes up room in your backpack?
Answer: Even though it is impractical, I bring my top hair products. Even when I neglect everything else about my appearance, I at least want to have acceptable looking hair. Frizzy, dull hair can make you feel really shitty no matter where you are in the world!
In your travels did you ever find yourself in a situation or a predicament that was unsettling or just plain tough enough to cause you to wonder if you’d pushed beyond your limits?
Answer: I’ve put myself in a lot of adrenaline-inducing and uncomfortable scenarios that most people would never subject themselves to, however I don’t think any of these experiences would qualify as terribly reckless. My most difficult travel times have actually been due to sickness. I have had extremely severe food poisoning on a couple of occasions that has definitely made me question my life choices. Haha! I can recall one time in particular that I decided to go on a 12-hour bus ride in India, despite being incredibly disoriented and nauseous thanks to a case of Delhi Belly. I wasn’t trying to be brave, I just really didn’t want to miss the bus and screw up my itinerary so I decided to forge ahead. I definitely pushed myself past my limit, but at the time it didn’t seem like it. I used meditation and grounding techniques to distract myself from how awful I felt. It helped me a lot to imagine the cold air of a Vermont winter and the sound of crunching snow (the opposite of 100 degree bus rides careening down winding roads). Although I was wishing I would have just stayed behind, once I had gotten on the bus it was too late. It’s awful to get sick when traveling, but you can’t let it ruin your experience. We human beings can endure a lot. Many times all you need to do is to switch your perspective.
Of the different cultures you have experienced, which one resonates with you and why?
Answer: Although maybe not as exotic a choice as I could make, I would have to say probably something closer to the way of life in Southern France. For me, cultural identity is so heavily intertwined with food so my answer here would have to follow the cuisine. I’m definitely the type that people watches for hours upon hours while enjoying one delicate delicious dish after another. I think France would satisfy quite well. Plus, there is this unapologetic way about the French people that I love.
What are the top five destinations yet to get to on your travel list?
Answer: In no particular order – Vietnam, Brazil, Greenland, Laos, and Bhutan.
Advice for people that want to take up the life of a nomad?
There are so many great travel resources online, but one of my favorites is WorkAway.org. It is a great place to start when you are thinking of traveling to a new place for a little while. Doing a work exchange will ensure your accommodation upon arrival, allow you to meet interesting people and make connections. It’s a budget friendly and life enriching way to share your skills with people all over the world. For yoga teachers, check out YogaTrade.com for international teaching opportunities.