I am made of photography,stories from the road and a good dose of passion. I am Ophélie, French-born traveler always on the go. My travel photography blog is about my travel experiences, tips and my addiction for adventure. To help you explore countries on your own… as an independent and curious traveller.
Written by Ophelie
Updated 18th March 20
Will take 4mn to read
one said once, travels are not about places but about people. My encounter with Sven in Adelaide, South Australia, belongs to these stories who shaped my journey. Who taught me new ways of seeing my own travels and the world around us. Who made me curious about South East Asia and meditation. My roommate for a few weeks in Adelaide, Sven the Dutch guy is not a standard backpacker and that’s why I wanted to share his words on Une Poudre d’Escampette. To inspire you, maybe?
Yoga and meditation - About Sven
Adelaide, South Australia –
A typical evening in the international share house in Adelaide: backpackers from Europe, chilling out in the backyard next to the barbecue, remaking the World with the help of few beers and some Oreos – very famous combination for the backpackers in Australia. That’s where and how I meet Sven.
He is in his late twenties, an artist from the Netherlands… but also a yogi and meditation teacher. He comes back from a trip in South East Asia, where he dived himself into the ‘back to the essentials’ way of Life. And where he spent weeks in retreats, learning how to teach meditation. Sven stands for healthy food, relaxed lifestyle and a happy “I” – the acceptance of oneself without concessions. For me, a debate without ending… but Australia is the place to learn new things, to open up to new concepts.
My experience with this uncommon traveler: interesting talks… and my first meditation session! I won’t forget it. Much stronger than what I expected, it showed me that you can reach a lot just by focusing on yourself and your body. Already adept of yoga, I got really curious about meditating and I would try it again without hesitation. Now, let’s read about Sven’s yoga and meditation experiences…
9 questions to the yoga and meditation teacher
How did you become a serial traveller?
Haha serial traveller is that actually a word… (now, it is! )
Travelling gave me so much more than I expected. I planned to travel for half a year, but after a few months I figured out that half a year feels like nothing while being on the road. So many cultures, landscapes and people. So much to learn and so much to experience.
Travelling for me became a deep self discovery, I’m looking inwards while travelling the world. Reflecting my behavior, beliefs and traditions. Seeing the perfect world I came from in a different perspective.
I feel I’m in a process of letting go of everything I ever thought I must do or become in order to be successful.
Travel Photography to take you far away..
Tongariro, New Zealand
Albany, Western Australia
Koh Rong island, Cambodia
Great Ocean Road, Australia
How did you come to meditation and yoga?
I was practicing yoga and meditation at home before I left. During my travels I went from exploring the Himalaya to party in Bali to a 10 day meditation retreat. From everything I did I learned a lot about who I am and what I want to do with my life. I realized that it was time to focus more on spiritual practices and within a week yoga came to me. It felt like there was no escape, everything happened perfectly to get me to that one yoga school in Hoi An, Vietnam. I don’t belief in coincidence, I listened to the flow of life and acted according to that.
I belief if you are open and really listening the universe tells you exactly what to do. Always! It’s just that most of us are not able to hear her voice.
The best places to meditate?
I love meditating close to a river or waterfall. The sounds are constanly changing yet they stay the same. A quiet place is always good, a place where you feel comfortable, safe and where you haven’t got the feeling that someone might disturb you.
Places without insects, they’re so annoying. I didn’t meditate at all in South Australia because of the amount of flies attacking my eyes nose and mouth…
What does meditation bring to you while travelling?
Travelling can be really hectic, going from place to place, connecting with different people and leaving them again. Everything is always interesting because I never saw it before, so my eyes and mind are always busy.
While meditating I get myself in a quiet place, a place of acceptance, non resistance. Sometimes my mind get quiet sometimes it keeps on rushing everywhere, but that’s okay. I become the observer, like the third person.
There are so many ways to meditate and all can bring a different experience and I can use them at different times.
I use a one point focus, for example on my breath. Calming down my mind, creating clarity and peace. Visualizations are really strong for me and totally different from a one point focus.
The element you are…
Go with the flow, strong in duration.
Curiosity makes the awesome traveler you are.
Check out other travel and photo blog posts!
What are the first reactions of people who meditate with you for the first time?
Most people have this expectation to feel all kind of strange things, or that their mind needs to be completely quiet. But meditating is nothing like that. Sometimes you get more into it than other times, sometimes you might experience a lot and sometimes it feels like nothing. Even though you experience nothing that’s an experience in itself.
It depends a lot on the person, everyone has a different experience according to how the person feels at that specific moment. Sometimes a lot of emotions pop up out of nowhere.
People might fall in sleep. Of course the type of meditation is important for the experience. A visualization often gives stronger responses as a one point focus meditation.
What do you always keep with you during your travels?
I’m not really attached to anything I’m travelling with, if my bag would get stolen I couldn’t care less. Just my passport and bankcard are important. I do still carry a crystal I found high in the Himalaya and some shells of amazing souls I met during this travel. But the memories are always available to me and that’s the most important for me.
Where do you find your inspiration for your arts and writing?
I didn’t make art while travelling, but I realize that my travels will impact my arts when I come home. My writing is always a reflection of what’s happening in my mind, lessons I learned, fears I have. I try to be completely myself when I’m writing. It’s a challenge because I put my texts often online. I share my deepest fears with the whole world, it’s therapeutic in a way and I want to let others know that it’s totally okay to be afraid and that everybody is going through the same processes.
What about spirits?
I definitely believe in spirits. I believe that there is way more than what we can see and experience. In our culture we try to rationalize everything. We choose to stay blind for other experiences. Only by being truly open, we might glimpse something of the interconnection which exists in the universe. In order to do we need to go back to the origin of all which is energy. Then we’ll notice there is no separation in anything. I am you and you are me, only our mind / ego creates separation in order to survive.