Caitlin Turner, better known for her Instagram moniker, Gypset Goddess (gypsy + jet set = gypset), is a world-renowned yoga teacher, blogger and host of “Yoga Bliss” on The Indonesia Channel. Her @GypsetGoddess Instagram account has become so wildly popular, that she can currently inspire over 240,000-people daily to practice yoga and travel the world.
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Sean Ritchie: How did you get your start and what was your inspiration for becoming a yoga-wellness traveler?
Caitlin Turner: I got my start through Instagram. I was already into yoga, wellness and travel in my own life, but I certainly wasn’t traveling quite as frequently in the past as I do now. A lot of that has been made possible by my Instagram account.
SR: Coming from Scottsdale, Arizona, describe the beauty of your hometown.
CT: It’s definitely got that amazing desert vibe to it. It’s just quiet and serene. What I really love about the landscape is the innate beauty to it, but it’s also really hard. It’s filled with cacti and all of these plants that are pretty hardcore — not necessarily beautiful in the traditional way. The landscape of the desert and the way all the colors come together is really beautiful to me.
SR: Wow, yeah I’ve never been to Arizona, but I’ve seen pictures and it’s definitely a spot I’ve got to get out to.
CT: Yeah, and it has the Grand Canyon. If for no other reason, it’s worthing going to see that.
SR: How about the rest of Arizona, where would you suggest a first-timer to visit?
CT: Of course the Grand Canyon, that one is a given — one of the natural wonders of the world. As long as you’re up there I really love the Sedona area. If you’re into yoga or wellness, sort of the spiritual arts, it’s a pretty big mecca for all of that. They say that there are these energy vortexes that move around throughout the mountains there. So it’s a pretty interesting place. It looks a lot different than the rest of Arizona, because it has these beautiful red mountains set against lush trees. There’s a little bit more moisture there — it’s a lot more green. Then finally, Antelope Canyon is this hidden gem. It’s a little bit north of the Grand Canyon, right by the Utah border. Antelope Canyon is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen.
SR: That’s amazing! How important to you is it to stay fit and active while away?
CT: It’s really important to me. Personally it’s important to me, because when I’m fit and active I just feel better. I have more energy, I’m happier and I get more done. Now also, with what I do for a living, it’s also a career essential that I stay in shape to create a good example for the health and wellness community.
SR: What does it mean to inspire people, not only to practice yoga, but to do it while traveling?
CT: It means a lot. Just the practice of yoga itself can change someone’s life, as can an amazing travel experience. So to merge the two together can give you really valuable life experiences and eye-opening, breakthrough moments that I don’t know if you could find as easily in everyday life. Both yoga and travel are very much about stepping out of your comfort zone and being open to experiencing new things. When you approach life with that attitude it’s pretty awesome.
SR: Yoga is serene in nature. How does practicing yoga increase your awareness of a destination’s beauty?
CT: Yoga is so much about being present and living in the moment. It’s all about connecting with your breath and being fully present in your surroundings. When you practice yoga outdoors it gets you into this beautiful, meditative mind frame that opens your eyes a little bit more to the beauty around you.
SR: Traveling allows one to taste many cuisines. How difficult is it to maintain a healthy diet, but enjoy the local food at the same time?
CT: I wouldn’t say that I’m as concerned about following a really healthy diet. I generally rely on staying active and my natural metabolism. So I’m all about experiencing local cuisines. I’m also a little bit of a picky eater, not crazy, but just not really adventurous. So sometimes, especially in Southeast Asia and parts of South America, I have a little bit of trouble.
SR: I’m with you there. Are there any cuisines that stand out to you? What are your favorites?
CT: My favorite ever is sushi. That’s easily number one, right off the top of my head. Number two would be Italian food. Whenever I go to Italy, whoever I’m with gets annoyed with me, because I order the same pasta dish — spaghetti with tomato sauce. It’s so good; I love it. It never tastes like that in the [United States].
SR: What’s your favorite Sushi roll?
CT: Probably a spicy tuna roll, but I generally tend more towards a toro sashimi or a hamachi sashimi.
SR: Part of our inspiration for doing SCP is the ability to connect people and breakdown cross-cultural barriers. How important is it to dive into different cultures and see how people all over the world live the same life, but in different ways?
CT: It’s so important! I don’t really like to be a tourist and just see the spots, eat the food, take a couple pictures and leave. I really want to appreciate the experience if I have a chance to meet the local people and find out about their customs. One of my favorite things is seeing local homes. I think it’s so interesting to see the different ways that everybody lives day-to-day in different cultures. It really brings perspective and, a lot of times, gratitude to the life that I have here.
SR: Every country has a holiday or celebration that stands out — America has Mardi Gras and Germany has Oktoberfest. What are some that you’ve been to, or ones that you want to go to?
CT: I’ve had a bunch of really good New Years Eve experiences. I did it in Iceland this last year and saw one of the most amazing fireworks shows I’ve ever seen in my life. It was crazy. The New Years before that I was in Sydney, Australia, which is also just amazing to see. Then the one before that was in Ecuador. So I’ve had really great New Years places. The festival I really want to go to is the Holi Festival in India, where they throw all of the colorful powder and everyone looks so joyful and exuberant. I’d really like to experience that.
SR: You’ve traveled to a wide range of places. Are there any that you want to hit, but haven’t been to yet?
CT: Too many to name! I’d really like to go to Tonga and swim with the whales — that would be awesome. I haven’t been to Africa at all yet, so I’d really like to visit Kenya, Tanzania and Morocco. I’d love to also check out Vietnam and Patagonia too.
SR: Yoga can be intimidating for a beginner to even attempt. For someone that doesn’t do it, what would you give as a reason to start?
CT: I would say that yes, you get the physical benefits from it, but what’s really great are the mental and emotional benefits that it gives you. I always like to say in my classes that practicing for yoga is like practicing for life, because so much of it is teaching yourself how to work through challenging moments and being strong. When you’re in a really challenging yoga pose, angry at the teacher, and all you want to do is get out of that pose because you can’t breath — those are the learning moments for life. In that moment you tap back into your breath, and you work through this pose that actually isn’t that bad.
SR: Lastly, when is the next trip and is it for yoga?
CT: The next trip will be Wanderlust Squaw Valley. The one after that will probably be yoga on the rocks in Boulder, Colorado. Probably a few road trips in there too, to places like Zion [National Park]. It’s in Utah, and it’s just one of the most beautiful national parks that there is.
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For more on Turner find her on Twitter and visit her website.