The “Wanderful Girl” is a modern bohemian. She’s a nomadic bon vivant collecting perspective and style inspiration around the globe. - from "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style."
Meet Rachel Garahan, a mother, designer, and writer who runs the gorgeous online lifestyle guide: One Part Gypsy, that “redefines conscious living for the modern bohemian.” Filled with beautiful advice on living, style, wellness, creativity, and just being...this adventurer, who spent thirty days meditating at a Buddhist monastery, was able to give us a little glimpse into her life where she lives with her adorable family in Ojai, California. Here she was able to share with us a few tips on incorporating wellness into your travels, exploration into Zen Buddhism, and not to mention, a few getaways she explored that need to be put on your next travel list asap.
One Part Gypsy: “...I believe that life is rich with exciting opportunities to engage our full spectrum of senses and emotions, and that the adventure has always just begun.”
Susanna for Oui We: Thirty days meditating at a Buddhist monastery - how beneficial has it been to your life? For beginners and those struggling to learn, what are your tips?
Rachel Garahan: To start, I should say that I had never meditated or explored Zen Buddhism before this experience. The immersion was very challenging for me (primarily silent, high energy activity not encouraged onsite, and many hours of sitting and meditative work each day) and I struggled between striving for perfection and the desire for rebellion. If I were to have a similar experience now, I would be much softer and patient with myself. I would also try to look for the humor in it all! Social awkwardness, our personal fixations, and the constant stories we make up all day long in our heads- it can be crazy-making, but ultimately are all pretty funny once you take a step back from it.
Overall the experience was enormously beneficial though, and I always recommend doing things that push our comfort zones. Some of the concepts that have stayed with me are “Beginner’s Mindset” (essentially setting ego aside in order to release expectation and approach things as though you know nothing about them) and the ideas of non-duality and non-judgment (i.e. there is no “good or “bad”) - practicing these concepts have hugely impacted my approach to life.
OW: You’re a big traveler, tell us a place you went to and were surprised how much you fell in love with it?
RG: The Australian outback! As a native Vermonter, I’ve always felt closely connected to water- to lakes in particular- and I’d never been to the desert before. I envisioned that it would be like the Sahara, just endless waves of sand. But it was springtime when I drove from the east coast to the west coast of Australia, and I remember being in awe at how colorful and alive everything was. After that I wound up going to school in Arizona, and now live in the chaparral of California. I’ll always feel most connected to water, but the desert to me is a place of spirit and art.
OW: Two places you highly recommend our readers to visit?
RG: Pai, Thailand is the most peaceful, colorful, love-centered town just north of Chiang Mai, filled with low key expats, artists, yoga classes, juice bars…it reminds me very much of Sayulita, Mexico, but more remote. I’ll always remember Pai for having the best meal of my life, and for the experience of staying on an elephant sanctuary where we woke and fell asleep to the sound of elephants making their way past our bungalow.
Also Nananu-I-Ra island in Fiji which I visited about 15 years ago and remember it as being the closest thing to proper “paradise" I could imagine— so beautiful it looked like a postcard or fake backdrop. The place we stayed reminded me of “The Beach” - a treehouse of sorts looped together by swinging rope walkways, on a white sand beach surrounded crystal clear water covering the most vibrant reef bursting with tropical life. It felt totally surreal!
OW: Earliest trip you can remember that inspired your love for traveling?
RG: I’ve loved being “on the go” since my earliest days. My mom tells me that even as a newborn I had to be faced outward in the front pack, otherwise I’d be craning my neck around to try and see the world. I took many smaller trips as a child and teenager, but it wasn’t until I left home at 18 to backpack around Australia and the Indonesia for two years on my own that I really identified with travel as a way of life.
OW: As we mentioned earlier, you’re big into wellness, so tell us some of your favorite wellness items, or practices, you bring with you when traveling?
RG: Traveling for me is all about experiencing the culture or enjoying indulgences so I don’t like to hold myself to any strict wellness practices when I’m away from home. That said, water (2-3x as much as normal) with electrolyte powder is a must, and I still try to get a solid 8 hours of sleep most nights (I always bring an eye mask). If I do these two basic things, I’m pretty much good. Besides that, I rise early, try to avoid overeating, walk a ton, and love incorporating a few local active activities like a beautiful hike, and at least one spa or relaxing experience as well. Typically the morning is reserved for a higher energy activity/sightseeing and the afternoon for languid meals and lots of relaxing. My goal is always to return from holiday actually feeling rested!
OW: The scariest thing you’ve ever done?
RG: Bungee-jumping. Not a fan!
OW: How would you describe your personal fashion style?
RG: 70’s flower child x 90’s grunge x modern California. Lots of inspo here if you feel like falling down the rabbit hole!
“We must be still, and still moving” - t.s. eliot
Favorite "go to" outfit for a night out?
These days a night out usually consists of dinner with my husband in our very small town, so I keep it pretty casual. No.6 new school clogs and a jumper of sorts is my uniform at the moment- right now I’m loving Esby’s Duffy crop jumper in poppy paired with hoops or Salihah Moore beaded earrings, plus a bit of mascara to elevate things a bit (as my daytime outfit is basically the same, just minus the earrings, makeup and subbing the clogs for birks).
Favorite coffee (or tea) drink?
Very into iced matcha lattes these days. Or anything with cardamom- so cozy!
Favorite book on your night stand?
Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening is a daily morning read for me. It sets the tone and always seems to offer just the perspective I’m needing. I also always have some sort of rotating intellectual or personal growth book going (just finished re-reading Michael Singer’s The Surrender Experiment) along with a novel (love Lily King’s Euphoria) on my kindle.
Favorite dish to cook?
I’m a fan of simple food and could eat variations of a buddha bowl for every meal. Rubbed kale, roasted root veggies, a grain like quinoa or short grain brown rice, avocado, tahini and chilli sauce… dream food!
Favorite piece of advice you've ever received?
“Invest in yourself.” Travel, education, self-care, entrepreneurship- this advice has never led me astray.