Emily Stewart is an Irish-American, multi-passionate entrepreneur living in Malta. When she is not teaching yoga and Pilates, she's writing everything from books to blogs; event coordinating for the EU Council; volunteering with eating disorder patients and cultural groups; and pursuing what she calls general merrymaking.
When did you start teaching yoga and traveling?
I have been teaching yoga since 2014 and teaching Pilates since 2016. I am also a journalist. I received a certificate in travel journalism in 2014.
Do you need credentials?
That's a tricky subject. There's a lot of disagreement out there about yoga teacher trainings. Basically, there's very little regulation around what actually makes a good program. There are several groups that verify teacher training, but these are membership-based organizations that have very little actual awareness of what's going on at training. I absolutely recommend that you follow a mentor, practice constantly, self-study, and, ideally attend an affordable training. Most places will ask to see your teaching certificate. Most places will care more about your actual ability to teach and who you trained under.
It isn't necessary to have a certificate in journalism, but it's so helpful, from an intellectual and professional level.
What are the pros and cons of doing what you do?
A huge pro is that yoga can be practiced anywhere, at any time, with very few resources. That means that as long as you've got a student and a relatively flat surface, and that student is willing to pay you, then you can make money. The cons are that the practice requires you to speak either the local language or Sanskrit. There's also a lot of competition out there and so many styles of teaching that it can be hard to make your name known and respected.
The pros to journalism are that it allows you to travel anywhere and work—all you need is a computer and good internet connections. On a personal level, journalism offers you the opportunity to explore the world under the guise of a "journalist." It makes you more objective about challenges you face. Plus, it can get you into some interested press-only opportunities! The con to journalism is a lot like yoga: there's lot of competition, little regulation, and such a variety of styles that you'll have to fight hard for your space in the market. A lot of journalists have to "suck it up," writing less-than-exciting pieces so that they can afford to pursue articles they really want to write.
What skills do you need to be successful at this?
Anyone who seriously plans to work their way through a nomadic lifestyle needs to be a brilliant networker. I believe in face-to-face networking over online networking. You have to be able to go into a room, make a connection with who is there, figure out how your "product" might be worthwhile to that person, and then figure out what value they place on your product. Of course, you've got to bolster your activities with a strong online presence, but more as a validation of skill rather than a source of income. You'll be missing out on so many opportunities if you spend your time working-as-a-nomad behind a screen.
How many countries have you visited?
I have no idea, nor do I feel competitive enough to count.
Do you make a full-time living off of this?
The majority of my income is earned teaching yoga and Pilates; next, writing for clients abroad; then, writing for clients in Malta; finally, by diversifying my income working with special local events, like as an Event Coordinator with the EU Council (Malta is the current Council president).
What advice would you give someone who wants to do something like this?
It is so important to say "yes." Do not put yourself into a super-niche whereby you can only accept certain jobs. Try to your best to see your skills and the needs of those around you in a flexible way. Constantly educate and re-educate yourself so that you'll be adaptable to whatever opportunities come. When the work is there, take it; when it's not, make yourself better at finding it!
Find Emily Stewart’s TEDx talk on www.ahumandoing.org and www.BASEDtravelerplymouth.com #namastyay