Welcome to the Yak Board! My name is Rebecca and I am your instructor, one of the three Dragons who will be travelling with you throughout North India in about a month.
Congratulations on making the brave, bold and exciting decision to join us for an adventure. It takes a lot of courage to pack a bag and head off to an entirely new place and I admire you for taking that step. It is not every person who is willing to open themselves up to the possibilities and challenges that travel provides us. You are coming on this trip bringing your own questions, interests and experiences. We are all different people and come from different places but you will find us connected by our love of adventure and desire to know more. I am so happy that you chose to come to India. I truly believe we are about to embark on a life-changing journey.
Some of you may have never left your home country. Most of you have likely never travelled to India! You are about to dive into a country and a culture that may seem vastly different than the one you grew up in. Where people will speak different languages and often have different beliefs and values. But only when we step out of our comfort zone and open up to all the vastness this world has to offer can we truly begin to learn about other places. And through learning about these other places we begin to learn about ourselves.
A little bit about me. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and spent my childhood reading about far away places and having adventures in the Rocky Mountains. I left the USA for the first time when I was 20 to live in India for 11 months. I fell in love with India: the people, languages, poetry and music. I’ve lived in India for about 6 of the past 8 years: studying languages, teaching, doing research and living in a village. I speak Hindi and Urdu and am conversational in Nepali. I’ve also been known to break into song occasionally and practice my Bollywood dance moves when things get slow. I’ve been leading travel programs in India since 2014; I’ve led four semester programs (two in India, two in Nepal) and three summer programs in India. I believe deeply in the power of travel to change our lives and I love travelling with students to beautiful places in India and grappling with life’s big questions alongside you.
It’s human nature to come into experiences like this with lots of expectations. The best thing you can do for yourself is to let go of them. Especially in India, events and activities may sometimes not happen the way we expected them to or on our schedule. But that doesn’t mean magical things won’t occur.
As your instructor team, we encourage you to post any questions you have to this yak board. Chances are if you have that question about what to bring or how to pack it, someone else has it too! If you have a specific question or would like to check in privately you can also email me (email@example.com) Even though you may all know each other, we don’t. We love to know a little about you before we meet in person, so please post to this yak board an introduction and maybe a picture. Who are you? Where do you come from? What are you looking forward to doing/seeing/experiencing in India?
I’d like to leave you with a quote from the great Arab traveller Ibn Battuta who, in the fourteenth century, left his native Morocco to travel across North Africa then on to Saudi Arabia, India, Central Asia and China before returning home. He wrote, “Travelling-it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller.” There will be times on this trip that you will be speechless-unsure of what to do or say or struggling to understand and communicate in a new place. This is not only okay but a necessary part of the experience–these times when we are humble, when we listen, when we open our hearts and minds to all the world is trying to teach us. I can’t wait to hear the stories you all will tell.
Peace and love,