Nicole! What’s your story?
Once upon a time, a girl was born on a farm in Austria… ok ok, I make it shorter 😉 My roots are indeed on a farm close to Vienna, yet through studying (business administration and then tourism destination management) I found my way to living in Bali, Indonesia. While I lived in quite a few countries, my 5 years working (NGO for sustainable tourism development) and living in Indonesia and South East Asia in general brought me to the realisation that we “western white” people are so (over)privileged to have a choice of HOW we want to live – think about it: how many people on this planet actually do have a choice? So if better make it a good one. “Good” in the sense of reflecting on what is actually important in life and how can I share the resources that I have or have access to with the world.
My choice was to return to Europe and re-connect to my core values and my roots. I tell you, returning to structured Germany resulted in a super-duper reversed culture shock. It took me 1,5 years to really arrive. Just recently I really felt this sense of home again – with friends, with my lifestyle, with nature. I practice and teach (Hatha and Yin) Yoga, I play improvisation theatre and I am just learning how to live in, from and with nature based on indigenous wisdom (check it out: wilderness education course with the wilderness school “Weltenwandler”). When I’m not in a yoga studio, on stage or in the forest I also work as a tourism consultant, developing authentic concepts for wellness hotels.
What has nature taught you?
Connection! When we connect to nature, we connect to our very own nature – the Self. Mother nature has a beautiful system in place in which we can allow our control-freak brain to step back and really sink into deep trust. Also and more specifically, it thought me how to become friends with darkness. During a blind-drum-stick walk (walking through the forest at night, trying to follow the sound of a drum only with your ears) and a scouting weekend where you learn to practically become invisible I really said bye to fearing the dark forest! Such an amazing gift…
What is your most memorable ocean experience?
My relationship status with the ocean? It used to be complicated. The deep water and me didn’t have a good start – always fear of depth, darkness and cold. I was not even able to snorkel without freaking out. So when I moved to Bali doing something on, under, or in water was for others, not for me. A couple of years on the island, having diving instructor friends and a boyfriend at a time who was APNEA instructor I slowly reconsidered. First I made my SCUBA dive certification(s), then it was time to become even more connected and conquer the ocean with only one breath – freediving. I remember a very insignificant event when hanging on the bottom of a rope at around 12 m depth, simply chilling, absolute silence. Knowing that when my mind would kick in, I would freak out again, so I stayed with the heart and soul. Nothing much happened in effect, rather than the realisation that we can all conquer our fears by making our mind a tool, but not the leader. Let the intuition and hear be the leader instead.
What is your drive to host the yoga and sailing event?
For me, our existence is based on the connection to ourselves, to our community and to mother nature. I always imagine it as 3 circles that come together to re-establish balance. Hosting retreats, such as the yoga & sailing event, gives an opportunity to all of us to participate in an exceptional experience outside of our usual environment, away from our usual “stress factors” to re-calibrate our body and minds. As a host I love to do this in a very down-to-earth way, allowing people to discover what there is to discover at their own pace.
What change would you like to see in the world?
More empathy and “feel” before doing / saying something. A natural connection between the business world and the spiritual world. It is unrealistic that the whole world will suddenly change. It rather needs to develop further into a world that integrates the great advances of science, sustainable business and emotional intelligence as well as spiritual alignment. We have been there people… let’s make it happen again!
What is your ocean / nature / adventure dream that you like to make happen?
Cruising with my electric camper van through Europe, discovering new places, visiting friends and family and hosting more retreats PURELY outdoors – with tents or bivouacs and warming bonfires.