Priya Basil – Be My Guest: Reflections and Discussions While Sharing Food

Welcome to Outer Travel, Inner Journey Podcast. In this episode, we speak with author Priya Basil. She recently wrote a book called Be My Guest ⁠— a thought-provoking meditation on food, family, identity, immigration, and, most of all, hospitality.

We touched on what inspired her to write the book, specifically her family who she describes as “fantastical about food.” We also touch on how well received the book is today, even though she felt she wrote it in a very personal way. Pay special attention to the part on how the current generation treats food, especially on Instagram where the hashtag #foodporn and #eatclean are very widely used.


Links mentioned in the podcast

Free Meditation Challenge

  • “it’s been very gratifying to see how well the book has been received and how it offers the possibility for people to connect to it in really different ways. Because I think the dimension of food and sharing is something that somehow we can all connect to.” – Priya Basil
  • “The whole idea of hospitality is that it’s about abundance and bounty and not setting limits. At the same time, of course, one needs boundaries and limits. So configuring that balance is something that is at the core of yoga practice and a general approach. To live in a more generous, ethical way.” – Priya Basil
  • “I think we live in a time where food is really a sort of identifier for many people, the choices of what and how to eat are part of a statement of who you are and how you want to be seen in the world.”  – Priya Basil
  • “I wanted to write something that really celebrated and the possibilities it gives us to talk about bigger issues.” – Priya Basil
  • “The idea of unconditional hospitality is a call to always be as open as possible to what might come in yourself and from others. It’s definitely the most challenging and in a way, the most destabilizing idea I’ve encountered in my life. But this  idea that you approach everything openly without deciding in advance what the outcome should be a powerful one.”  – Priya Basil


Guest Bio

Priya Basil was born in London to a family with Indian roots, she grew up in Kenya and now lives in Berlin. She’s published two novels and a novella, as well as numerous essays for various publications, including The Guardian, Die Zeit, Neue Zürchner Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Lettre International and Die Tageszeitung. Priya is a co-founder of Authors for Peace. In 2017, she launched a campaign for a European Public Holiday across Europe. Her latest book Be My Guest, Reflections on Hospitality – a hybrid text combining essay and memoir forms – was published by Suhrkamp in Germany in March 2019, and Canongate in the UK in October 2019. It was one of The Observer’s Best Books of the Year and Deutchlandfunk Kultur’s Non-fiction Recommendation of the Year. Be My Guest is shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2020 and the Fortnum and Mason Food Writing Awards 2020.

Alexandra Epple – She walked the Camino as a transformation to move countries

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On today’s show I am sitting down with Alexandra Epple – she started walking the Camino and ended up walking all the way back to Germany to her hometown.

Alexandra Epple has been active in the healing arts for 17 years. She is an Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga teacher, and Thai massage therapist. Her approach to health is super practical and down to earth. When you work with her, there are no counting calories, chasing vitamins or collecting minerals. Instead, she teaches you how to listen to your body and follow its wisdom according to Ayurveda and yoga principles.

After 20 years in the USA, Alexandra recently moved back to her homeland of Bavaria. A decision that was not caused by external circumstances but came from deep intuition. As a transition between the two continents, she decided to walk the 900 km Camino in Spain. And then … it was not enough. In the end, she walked 2,800 km on foot in 4.5 months. Shortly before Christmas, she knocked on her parents’ door. Now she is in the process of creating her life from scratch. A task that is both exciting and expansive, but also disorienting and confusing.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Check out the video of the very first podcast






Self-care : The biggest secret

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]A new series on Netflix which shows the applied knowledge of Marie Kondo on clearing our living spaces is yet one more acknowledgement that our lives have become cluttered.  From smartphones to social media, to detox diets and beyond, many of us are drowning in a deluge of products and trends that compete for our attention.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]It seems that we are under constant pressure to improve ourselves, our lives and the way we live through yet more and more wellness products. I recently read in an article in the NY Times about procrastination, “It’s almost like you have this moral imperative — if you’re not trying to improve, you’re failing at some level.”

So, how can we cut out the noise and instead, sink that one step deeper into our own innate wisdom, a step that will bring deep healing rather than simply racing to keep up with each and every new ‘wellness’ trend?

By taking care of ourselves and cultivating a healthier mind and body, we are better able to enjoy life more fully. Our relationships with others also benefit, we become clearer about the things that we love and our own personal ‘calling’ (dharma) is revealed.

Let me be clear: spirituality and wellness are not the same things. The promises described above can only result from following a spiritual path. Although tempting, a wellness path means to remove only the stalk from the root of the malaise. It can only provide some temporary relief.

Most of us are familiar with various ‘wellness’ treatments on the market, eg Ayurvedic massage, a gym-based yoga membership or perhaps an Ayurvedic bath with more chemicals than can be digested. Too often, these simply serve to alleviate the symptoms in the short-term but don’t provide any real substantial healing.

It is true that we all have to start somewhere. And certainly, those free yoga classes, easy gym memberships and other wellness products can be a first step in the right direction. At the same time, it is important to be wary of the whole marketing-led wellness industry. For more inspiration on this, see Dana G’s latest article ‘The self-care paradox‘. True healing asks us to cut out the noise for real.

My teacher would often say, ‘We tend to overrate the mind and intellect. While they have a place in our lives we give them far more credit then they deserve.’ In my own teaching, I often advise students to beware the monkey mind.

After more than 2 decades of practising Hatha yoga, I can confirm that it is a path that teaches one gently to turn inwards, with no short cuts or self-deception. It curtails over-dependence on the everyday mind and intellect by asking that we open to the wisdom of the body and all its layers /shadows.

What do I mean when I speak of those layers/shadows?

In both Yoga and Ayurveda, a person is viewed as having different layers through which we act.

There are five of these layers:

  • the physical body,
  • the energetic body,
  • the mental body (lower mind),
  • the intellectual/ intuitive body (higher mind)
  • and the bliss body.

In Sanskrit, these are known as the Annamaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Vijnanamaya kosha and Anandamaya Kosha.

In the modern world, we have achieved much through psychology by becoming more willing to listen to the body and to the emotions.  However, this approach only just scratches the surface.

To access our intuition (Vijnanamaya Kosha), it is essential that we develop self-trust and -love and a way of quietening the mind so that we can hear the inner voice.

It is only when those five layers are balanced and can communicate with each other that our inner wisdom can be revealed. The answers that then come from deep within mean that we no longer feel the need to chase after the latest new wellness fad. This is true healing (to be ‘made whole’).


What practical steps can we take to embark on our path into wisdom?


  1. Spend time each day noticing what the eyes are seeing, the hands are feeling, the skin is touching. Our senses connect us to the world. To spend even a few moments each day being clear of what we are tasting, touching, hearing and smelling is a way of noticing how we perceive the world.
  2. When making a decision, step back for a moment out of the rational mind and take time to slow down, breathe or even better, practise some yoga and then ask yourself what solution is needed to move forward with ease.
  3. Notice the effects on relationships with other people after your practice – what kind of answers or actions are coming up.
  4. Be clear about where you want to go and establish a goal.


If you want to deepen and connect your sense of intuition, you can get a taste when immersing yourself in a retreat. Maybe you even feel like coming to Greece with me.

Have a look to find more about The Greek Escape Yoga Retreat and make yourself a gift.