Wandering Poppy returns

Poppy Wortman with Jack Wallis at Everest Base Camp.

Cambridge’s globetrotting wedding celebrant, journalist and yoga teacher, Poppy Wortman, is back in town for the summer.

Fourteen weddings booked and more in the pipeline have called the wandering Poppy home after six months abroad, split mainly between India and Nepal. She left on what she calls her third solo sojourn in June, intent on furthering the yoga training she started on her second.

Poppy’s foray into the world of yoga started after a retreat she attended in India inspired her to complete the initial 200 hours of training required to qualify as a yoga teacher. She knew that if she wanted to progress to the advanced level, she would have to complete a further 500 hours – hence the reason for solo sojourn number three.

Early into this trip, she worked through her second 200 hours of training in India, then joined her cyclist boyfriend in Europe before going back for another 300 training hours.

“That was probably the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. It was vinyasa yoga, a form of flow yoga.  I really battled with the physicality of it. Our tutor was a French woman of about 65 who lived in China but came to India to teach yoga … she was incredibly strict. We did three hours of yoga in the morning, then theory for three hours theory, and another two hours of yoga in the evening – six days a week.”

A delighted – and relieved – Poppy with the certificate marking the completion of 300 hours of training.

The youngest of the 19 who graduated, she found it tough, but particularly enjoyed the post and prenatal yoga included in the course.

Poppy’s life plan has long been defined by wanderlust.  It’s less the popular sights of Europe that excite her, more the warmth and hospitality she has found in Asia.

“I really like the Eastern cultures.  I like the way they are with their families, the way they do hospitality over there. It’s very humbling,” she said.

Returning to Everest Base Camp was also part of the 2017 plan, only this time she did it with a group that included former Cambridge singer-songwriter, Jack Wallis. Seven of them elected to scale Kala Patthar, a peak of 5545m that offers one of the best views of Mr Everest. Only five made it to the top.

Another part of Poppy’s trip was a brief stay at the Jaipur home of her uncle, a pilot with Air India, where she continued work on a blog she’s been writing for over two years.

Thrilled as she is to reconnect with family and friends, and happy to put tummy bugs and third-world airports behind her, Poppy now feels a change might be needed.

“I want to travel more –I’d love to do Africa. I want to do more yoga, go back to Nepal, perhaps Bali. I’m not done with India either, but maybe it’s time to start thinking about doing some more grown-up things … like buying a house!”

With that she was off, tiny Everest pendants skimming her neck and ankle. The chances are that for Poppy, they’re more of a roadmap than a memento.

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