Zaque's Year Abroad!

Hello. My name is Zachary Avery. I have been a massage therapist, acupuncturist, and yoga instructor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, since 2010. At the very beginning of my massage career I realized that self-care was going to be vital for me to be able to maintain longevity in my profession. This naturally led to an in-home yoga practice that started with Tara Stiles and Esther Eckhart YouTube videos. Before I knew it, clients would come in with a specific problem that we could resolve during the massage, and then I would show them a stretch or exercise that would help them preventatively stay on top of things. Next thing I knew, clients were scheduling one-on-one yoga classes with me. It didn’t take long before they started catching wind of each other and they began to form small classes that I would lead in their homes or at their office.

Many of my clients refer to me as a “healer”. I believe these gifts come from a huge capacity that I have for love, grace, and compassion that was a natural byproduct of having to overcome a number of challenging obstacles in my personal life (i.e. domestic violence, rape, bullying, depression, addictions, chronic illness, homelessness, codependency, self-harm, and so forth). On top of this, I have studied alternative and holistic therapies in Tulsa and many of the suburbs, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Austin, Sedona, Denver, and Boulder. At this point, I have over 1,000 hours of formal training in massage/bodywork and an additional 1,000+ hours of training in acupuncture and Eastern medicine. I have paired this training with my intuition and life experience in such a way that I’m often able to help people work through their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pains and discomforts. It really has been amazing what is able to be accomplished in the span of a 60 or 90 minute session.

It has been a dream of mine to travel to India (“the homeland”) to attend a yoga teacher training program, and to become officially certified as a yoga instructor. This dream has been incubating for the last couple years and it’s turned into what some would call a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. I am enrolled to attend a 200-Hour Hatha Yoga teacher training course in Rishikesh, India, from December 1, 2014 - January 10, 2015 (I’m going to celebrate my 25th birthday in India, y’all!). For the last two years, I have been diligently saving money for this trip to India. You know me—when I do something, I do it big. One thing has led to another and this trip has now grown into an opportunity to spend one year abroad (I’m finally taking my “Eat, Pray, Love” trip!).

I’ll be flying out of Tulsa on October 30, 2014. There will be a connecting flight in Chicago that will then take me to Paris. Once in Paris, I will have a one-month layover in Europe, and I plan to explore as many countries as possible during that month (France, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Norway, & The Netherlands are at the top of my list). From there, I will fly down to New Dheli, India, and begin my journey north to the city of Rishikesh, where my yoga teacher training course will promptly begin. After this six-week program, I will have a twenty day break where I hope to explore Nepal and possibly Tibet (no, I won’t be climbing Mt. Everest this time). Once this short sabbatical is complete, I hope to return to Rishikesh for a second yoga teacher training course. This second program (three-weeks long) will be at a different school and it’s a different style of yoga (Kundalini). Upon graduation, I will then be free to roam India indefinitely (I’m thinking another four months—have you seen how big that country is?!). I do already have some really neat things lined up in India during this time. After that comes to a close, my eye is set on spending time in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and wrapping up my year abroad in South America.

I have diligently saved $20,000 for this trip and I’m trying to raise at least another $10,000. I know ten thousand dollars can sound like a lot, but the truth is that over half ($5,100, to be exact) of that sum of money will go toward covering the second yoga teacher training course that I’m being drawn to. The remainder of the money will go toward a Thai massage training course in Thailand and an Ayurvedic retreat and/or training while in southern India. If I’m able to raise above and beyond this $10,000 goal, I will add China and Japan to the list of countries to visit (as a student and practitioner of Oriental Medicine, this would be a really cool experience).

In summary, my current travel plan looks something like this:

Europe = 1 month
India = 6 months
Nepal = 1 month
Thailand = 1 month
Indonesia = 1 month
Australia & New Zealand = 1 month
Brazil & Chile = 1 month

Five years ago, I sent out a letter to everyone I knew announcing that I wanted to go on a missions trip to India with Oral Roberts University. Many people generously donated their funds, but I ultimately wasn’t able to go on the trip because I didn’t raise enough money by the required deadline. In hindsight, I now realize that I had it all backwards: my life purpose was never to save India; rather, it would only be a matter of time until India saved me. Indeed, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness turned a broken, depressed, suicidal teenager into a thriving, grounded, empowered man armed with love and compassion big enough for the whole world.

I know that you might think this trip sounds crazy (it probably is). I’m choosing to leave my home, friends, family, comforts, security, and booming business all for the unknown. The thing is that every day I work on people twice my age and many of them have expressed to me that they wanted to do something like this when they were my age; their tone shifts as they continue on to say that it’s one of their regrets in life that they didn’t go for it. It seems like it’s easy for people to get “stuck”; I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, but we can sometimes feel trapped because of A, B, or C (a marriage/child/job). For the last couple years, I have felt more and more glued to Tulsa as my business has continued to grow and expand. At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that my life vision is something much bigger than just being a massage therapist. I’m going to be an author, teacher, speaker, coach. I see myself being like Gabrielle Bernstein, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Tara Stiles, etc. I have an incredible story and presence that the world needs to hear and feel. My hands have touched thousands, I’m ready for my heart to touch millions.

Just like I’ve always done, it’s time to follow my heart and the call of my soul. I’m embracing the gypsy/nomad/free spirit that I’ve always been. Life has provided multiple synchronistic events that have confirmed that this trip is meant to be and that the timing is right. The truth is, this trip is a launching pad for a new chapter in my life. This year abroad will give me a chance to clarify goals, gain fresh vision, and work on future books/classes. Would you consider investing in my growth and development so I can better serve my ever-expanding sphere of influence?

Thank you so much for reading. I'm overflowing with love and gratitude.

Always Yours,

Zachary

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” - Helen Keller

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that 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.” - Mark Twain
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Organizer

Zachary Avery 
Organizer
Tulsa, OK
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