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Leading the Pack: Melanie Caines

Melanie Caines - Nova Yoga

Melanie Caines is a Certified Yoga Teacher and the owner/operator of Nova Yoga in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. She was recently a finalist at the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards and has also just launched a new online video subscription service called Move with Melanie. She’s no stranger to travel as she regularly hosts sold out yoga retreats around the world from Greece and Italy to Costa Rica and Mexico. We caught up with Melanie in her hometown of St. John’s.

Roll, fold, scrunch or stuff? What’s your packing method?

I roll and I also use packing cubes – it’s amazing how much you can fit in them!  I have 3 packing cubes of different sizes that fit perfectly into my carry on suitcase.

Carry on or checked bag?

Carry on all the way!  I haven’t checked a bag in over 3 years and I’ve been away for up to 17 days at a time.  I’m almost addicted to the challenge of it: can I fit it all in?!  And I always do!  I love landing and being able to roll off the plane and into the day instead of waiting for checked baggage.

Do you travel for work or pleasure?

Both.  I travel for yoga training and conferences which, technically, is work but I love love love it.  I also lead international yoga retreats (I’ll be doing four trips in 2017!) and I usually take some time before or after the trip starts to travel and enjoy some leisure time.

What’s your favourite souvenir?

I almost always buy a fridge magnet from every place I travel.  I also love going to markets and getting a unique piece of handmade jewelry or a drawing, painting, or piece of art from a local artist.

A lot of people think they need special travel clothing. How do you maintain your personal style when you travel?

I keep it simple: my favorite Frye boots, a pair of flat shoes, a pair of jeans, a pair of leggings, a few tops that go with both, a maxi dress, and a denim jacket.  I’ll take a few light scarves and jewelry to accessorize and dress up or down depending on where I am and what I’m doing.  I love layering, which is perfect when you’re travelling in spring or fall or if you are unsure of the weather or climate.  One piece of travel clothing that I did buy into is travel underwear – I got some recently and they’re great!  I do A LOT of “sink laundry” when I travel and these are very quick to dry.  Oh and also a travel yoga mat; I have one from Manduka that folds up into a small square and it’s super light.  I love it.

Melanie Caines - Nova YogaWith which city/town do you identify, aesthetically?

I have to say New York.  It’s my favorite city in the world and I feel so at home there.  It’s raw, funky, unique: you can dress how you want and be as fancy or as laid back as you want with your style.  Everything goes.

Do you have a favourite travel memory?

I’ll never forget going to Europe in grade 11 – this trip ignited my love of travel.  It was a school trip and we took the red-eye flight from Deer Lake to London, England.  I remember being on the bus from the airport into the city and everyone was tired and grumpy from the lack of sleep – some people where lying back or lying down with their eyes closed.  But I was completely alert and wide eyed looking out the windows at everything.  I was in constant amazement: the classic black London taxis, the bright red iconic phone booths – I couldn’t believe I was actually there seeing, what I had only ever seen on the tv or in pictures.  I was hooked!

Do you plan your yoga photos in advance or are they spontaneous?

If I have a shoot booked with a professional photographer we plan a location and I arrive with a list of poses I want to try.  But a lot of the yoga photos are a result of me saying to my (very patient) boyfriend: “Oh that looks like a great backdrop!  Can you hold my jacket and bag and take a few photos of me?  What pose do you think would work here?”

What’s in your carry-on?

  • Swell water bottle (I always ask flight attendants to refill it multiple times throughout a flight)
  • iPad loaded with books
  • Snacks (I usually pack a hummus/cheddar/red pepper sandwich, crackers, carrots, dark chocolate, and Larabars)
  • Green tea bags (airlines never have green tea!)
  • Leather zip up pouch that one of my students gave me that holds my wallet, passport, and foreign currency
  • Headphones
  • Inflatable travel pillow
  • A necklace with a Medicine Man soapstone pendant that I call my “good luck travel charm” that a friend gave me
  • A small change of clothes (in case I’m forced to check my carry-on luggage and it gets lost – it’s never happened but I like being prepared!)
  • My bag of liquids under 100ml

Do you know an inspiring travelling woman who’s doing something interesting who should be featured here? Email [email protected] and let me know.

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