Meet Yaya, known to me as Yawen from our corporate days. We met many years ago, and one day, when carpooling to work we started to speak of our side hustles.
Yaya had already started her side hustle Live Moss and M&N Apothecary was still in the works for me (at the time Love Local Products). I was inspired early on by Yaya's lifestyle, drawn to its beauty and simplicity. During Covid, Yaya embraced her journey - and also became certified as a Yoga instructor, she also just married! I reached Yaya in the Laurentians.
MT: Thank you for your time Yaya, we appreciate it - as we know time is a precious commodity. Congrats on your union - I'm truly so happy for you.
YH: Thank you so much. It's my absolute pleasure.
MT: Really, since I have known you, you have walked the walk of a simple lifestyle, and are living with less. Can you explain to our readers what that means exactly?
YH: Well, living more with less means different things to different people, and to be honest - it's changed a lot for me over the years. In the end, though, it all comes down to living more in the present moment, letting the past simply be, and letting the future be tomorrow's adventure. Why ruin it with spoilers of worry and overthought?
MT: Easier said than done I'm sure - How did you determine, what would be less? Was it linked to finances?
YH: Funny, when I describe more with less to people, it's automatically associated with living zero waste, spending less, etc. Although that's one aspect of the philosophy, it's not the only one.
The more pragmatic side of me wants to explain it all through the 80/20 rule - the majority of your output is driven by a relatively small amount of effort and we probably spend way too much time doing things that don't lead to anything significant (hello Netflix). However, living with less is actually about embracing more of what's already in front of you, and developing an acute sense of awareness of investing in things (and time) in what will bring you true joy (or inner peace), not spontaneous peaks of dopamine.
MT: Was becoming a certified yoga instructor something you'd always wanted to aspire to, or was it part of this journey, living more with less?
YH: I think yoga has been a fundamental building block to this journey. I started yoga when I was 17 and have always gone back to it. The idea of getting certified has always intrigued me but, I think since my father's passing at the beginning of Covid, yoga was a vehicle for me to find balance, ground myself, and let emotions be what they are - just that, emotions. So, it became natural to want to deepen my knowledge in the practice, regardless of whether I would end up actually teaching.
MT: I'm sorry to hear of your father's passing.
Post-Covid, and reentering the world, back to travel - how do you hope to maintain/practice your learnings?
YH: Absolutely! I've always been a light packer, so that hasn't really changed except for packing soap and shampoo bars instead of liquid.
I used to be a true wanderlust, planning my next travels before the one I'm on is done. Since Covid, I've embraced much more of my existing surroundings, finding joy in the small details in life and being in awe of the beauty that nature gives us.
Turns out I never needed to go all the way to Finland to be amazed at the beauty of forests, the ones in my backyard are perfect as they are.
From a practical perspective though, it's important to remind ourselves that every little bit counts and things don't need to be complicated. In the end, your mind can be your worst enemy, so just get up and do it. Want to go for a jog but are afraid you don't have enough stamina? Well, jogging for 2 mins today will still be better than none yesterday. Motivation rarely starts in the mind - just get going and the motivation will follow.
MT: What about going back to your corporate career with travel are you excited about?
YH: Having said that I have a deeper appreciation for what's in front of me definitely hasn't dampened my aspiration to see more of the world. Traveling for me has always been first and foremost about expanding my views and opening my mind. I don't think that will ever change.
MT: What concerns you about this return?
YH: With people able to travel again and tap into the opportunism of instant gratification - it worries me that as a society we will revert quickly back to our old habits, and forget all the amazing things we learned during Covid that allowed us to be more human, more mindful and less consumption-driven.
MT: This too is my fear and the reason I wanted to start this series. I thank you for this conversation. Thank you, again, for giving us your time.
YH: Thank you so much for your time as well!