- Travel Topics
1. Can you start by giving us a little bit of background about yourself and your blog. How did you start traveling? When did you start blogging, and what did you expect readers to get out of it?
We’ve been friends for years. After graduating college, while all our friends were getting jobs and “settling down,” we decided to explore the developing Eastern world. In August 2011, we flew into Malaysia and made our way north through South East Asia and eventually China. We had the time of our lives. Our trip was focused on personal growth — reading, learning and connecting with others from around the world. As you know, South East Asia presents a completely different part of the world compared to where we come from — outside NYC in the heart of what we call “the rat race.”
We began reading books about faith, wellness, yoga, and philosophy. We went on a yoga retreat and dived into different aspects of wellness. After the trip we continued to share great reads and links with each other. Lucid Practice is an extension of our sharing of that knowledge. With all of the suffering that goes on in the world, we’re creating a medium that is 100% positive. We hope readers turn to us for information and inspiration as leaders in the thought communities of travel, yoga, and wellness.
2. Let’s talk experiences – what has been the best experience you’ve had on the road? The worst?
We have been blessed to be able to see a lot of the world and hope that we can continue to travel in the future. Our most transformative experience we did was a one week yoga retreat in Koh Phangan, Thailand. We were able to connect with our teacher, Rory Trollen, who led us to the world of yoga and looking internally for validation and happiness instead of looking for validation externally. We also connected with others who we practiced with that week — we’re still in touch and connected to this day. That’s one of our favorite parts about traveling — connecting with locals and other travelers — learning about their cultures, their languages, their history, and their lifestyles.
Looking back, even the experiences that some might label as, “bad” were actually great learning/growing experiences.
3. What is the meaning of “Lucid Practice”
Lucid Practice is a medium to describe anything and everything from our daily practice. By practice we mean daily thoughts, activities, books/websites read, to some of our opinions on love, faith, and life. We use the prefix Lucid as term that, to us, signifies presence, light, and awareness. If you are present we believe you are conscious of your health, posture, breathe, meditations, relations, positive energy, etc. We would like to “stay lucid” on our journey throughout life.
4. I know you like to focus on living a healthy life – in your opinion, what are some of the keys to healthy living?
It all starts with awareness. Awareness and presence. Being present in the moment and aware of how you feel and why you feel that way. Healthy living is being aware of what goes into your body, whether that be food or information. By filling our brains and bodies with positive information and vibrant food, we feel good. Healthy life transcends physical health — mental health is just as crucial. Being surrounded by positive people and sources of inspiration is important. By practicing yoga, meditating, reading, engaging in meaningful projects and conversations — we feel alive.
It might be blogging, playing sports, community service, pottery, gardening — whatever it is — when you follow your passions, you’re more in line with your true self. You begin to feel gratitude, happiness, creativity, allowing you to enter the optimal “flow” state of mind. Not coincidentally, this is when we as humans are at our best — when we’re in line with our true selves, when we’re lucid, aware, and present.
5. You have a section on your blog for quotes – what’s one of your favorite quotes and why?
Quotes are incredibly powerful. We love inspirational, thought provoking quotes about travel, yoga, love and life. One of our favorite (often mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain) travel quotes is, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
We have been developing a home and office décor company called Quote Spiral. The goal is to give inspirational, sustainable products (made of 100% organic handmade paper from Tibet) that can make a positive impact in the daily lives of our customers. We hope each quote our customer chooses will provide peace of mind, inspiration, and positive energy when they see it resting on their night stand or hanging on their wall at the office. We’re launching soon and excited to enhance the spirit that quotes embody.
6. You’re football players and also yoga enthusiasts – what do you say to people who think yoga is “just for women”?
With massive amounts of consumerism and advertising, many Americans and Europeans associate yoga with stretching and girls in yoga pants — it’s so much more. The two of us usually stand out in a western yoga asana class, 1. because we’re men and 2. because we still have the American football player build. This raises questions and presents us with a great opportunity to raise awareness (and debunk myths) about the practice of yoga. Yoga is 4,000 years old. The asanas, or physical postures, are a very small part of yoga. Yoga is an 8-limbed path with seven of the limbs focusing on consciousness and awareness. The word Yoga means “to yoke or bring together.” For us, that practice is acknowledging that everyone and everything is interconnected.
We understand, however, that yoga’s relatively new in the US. Only in the last century, especially in the last two decades, has yoga begun to reach the masses. As a result, there are a lot of people benefitting from the practice and wanting to learn more. There’s also a lot of misinformation — we’re excited to play a role as leaders in presenting aspiring practitioners with information and a community where they can thrive and learn about yoga.
7. Do you have any recommendations for traveling and staying fit on the road?
Staying hydrated is essential! When thrust into a new environment, it’s easy to forget to hydrated but the body needs to stay replenished especially during plane rides and excursions. It’s a simple but effective practice to keep a water bottle with you when you go out exploring for the day so you can keep functioning at an optimal level. As for exercise, practicing asana (yoga postures) on the road is a great way to stay fit. All you need is a blanket or mat about 4 feet long. For Ashtanga practitioners, we recommend this YouTube video to guide your practice. Separately, when we wanted to work out in a gym, we would sneak into hotel gyms to grab a quick lift or sign up for free trial memberships for gyms in whatever city we were in.
It’s also important to keep your mind sharp. Read a lot of books and try to learn the local language. Keep an open mind and continue to learn, dream and discover.
8. What are some of your interests outside of traveling?
Playing basketball, discussing big ideas, gardening, practicing yoga and meditation, being outdoors, listening to interesting podcasts, community service, practicing new languages, and upending social norms by practicing love and compassion everywhere. Most of all, we enjoy hanging with our girlfriends, family and friends. As you know, one of the toughest parts about traveling is being away from loved ones.
9. What are your upcoming plans, both travel and non travel?
Brian is taking off in January with his girlfriend on a backpacking trip to Central and South America. He plans to start in Costa Rica and head towards Machu Picchu. Outside of travel, we plan on building Lucid Practice. We have a lot of readers who are interested in learning about about travel, yoga, and wellness and we’re going to continue to inspire readers.
Brian Levine and Paz Romano are the authors of Travel and Wellness blog Lucid Practice. We turned in our football cleats for backpacks and embarked on a life changing 3-month trip through Asia in September 2011. Since then, we have pursued a life of travel, yoga, and wellness. To date, we’ve traveled through Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Our goal is to inspire a passion for travel and practice. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!