Vagabonding Case Study: Christophe Cappon

On July 31st, 2015

Christophe Cappon of Thailand Yoga Holidays Blog

Age: 30

Hometown: Toronto

Your favorite quote: “Not all those who wander are lost” – J.R.R Tolkien

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip? I kind of just fell into it. Once I left home the desire to continue traveling and seeing new places didn’t go away so I found ways to make it work longterm.

How long were you on the road?
I left Toronto when I was 19 and I’m now 30, so 11 years on the road and counting!

Where did you go?
My first move away from home was to attend Trent University, a small university two hours from Toronto. From there I just kept going further soon making a big leap over to India and Asia – I haven’t looked back since.

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?
Since I was 12, every winter I shovelled snow from the sidewalks and every summer I mowed lawns. I always felt I needed to save up – even if I didn’t know what for. By the time I turned 19, I was ready to go! I didn’t expect to constantly be travelling and living abroad but things have a funny way of working out and since my work, travel and personal life have all become intertwined.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?
After completing my TESOL training in Canada, my first international job was teaching English in Yangshuo – a small, scenic village in central China. However, before that I got some practice as a volunteer teaching English to Tibetan Refugees in Dharamshala, India. At the beginning of my travels I also started my yoga teacher training and going down the path of becoming an independent instructor. I now have been teaching yoga in my home base of Chiang Mai, Thailand and around the world for the past eight years. I just recently established my own business, Thailand Yoga Holidays, fusing my love for travel, yoga and Thailand, so working “on the road” has become my life!

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?
I’ve always loved Thailand – as much for the delicious food and warm climate as the friendly people and vibrant yoga community. Unlike most people who head there for a quick dose of sea and sun, I went to Chiang Mai as an exchange student studying International Development and Indigenous Culture. I lived with a Thai host family for the year and quickly learnt the language in addition to gaining invaluable insight into local culture. Since then, I went on to study yoga – both in Thailand and across the globe – until I founded Thailand Yoga Holidays In any case, it is thanks to my first experience here that I was then able to understand the culture, discover its secrets and it is surely the reason why I am still here.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?
Despite an unforgettable trek in the Sahara, Morocco was my most challenging as I could never get used to the incessant touts and scams.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?
Most useful : travel towel, Swiss Army knife and headlamp
Least useful : malaria pills – you always think they’ll be good to have, but then never end up taking them

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?
The best part is the freedom : to go where you want, when you want.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?
In a transient lifestyle, the most challenging has always been cultivating longterm relationships. You’re always meeting new people…and saying goodbye to them just as quickly. However, the upside is that there’s never a dull moment as you’re constantly get to meeting different people and participating in new experiences – it’s addicting.

What lessons did you learn on the road?
When travelling, there are always ups and downs. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes your plan completely backfires. In those times, it’s important to remember to go with the flow – it’ll make your vagabonding a lot smoother.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?
At first, vagabonding was just a way of seeing the world while spending the least amount of money – because the more money I could save, the longer I could travel. Eventually, I realized this system could only last so long. That’s when I began offering yoga retreats in Thailand. It was a no brainer : live in an amazing country, do what I love and make people happy!

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?
Don’t put off registering for a frequent flyer program. It’s totally worth it!

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?
Go with your gut, follow your dream and don’t give up. There’s a whole world of wonderful possibilities waiting for you out there.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?
I’ve always wanted to discover Burma as I hear it’s like Thailand was 50 years ago. It’s also well known for its monasteries and meditation centres. I am always looking for exciting, unique experiences to discover and share with others. Who knows, maybe I’ll start bringing people to Burma for yoga holidays as well!

Read more about Christophe on his blog, Thailand Yoga Holidays or follow him on Facebook  and Instagram.

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Image: Andi Campbell-Jones (flickr)