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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

The adventure awaits! Our tentative itinerary

Dear Fellow Journeyers,

In less than two short weeks, we’ll all be here together in the heart of the ancient Kathmandu valley, setting out on a journey into the life, culture and landscape of the Himalayas. We instructors have been exploring all the exciting itinerary options for how to make this trip powerful, transformative and fun, and we wanted to share with you the tentative outline plans for our experience together.

Please note that although the below is the flow we anticipate, the very nature of the voyage on which we are embarking is flexible and subject to exciting changes! We hope to seize learning opportunities as they come and always seek to deepen the experience, so take any changes in the spirit of adventure.

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January 14th: Arrival. Although not officially a program day, we invite you to have dinner with us and for us to stay together so we can have a smooth and early start the next morning. Arrival instructions will be posted on this yak board in the next few days!

January 15-16th: Our first two days together will be spent in Boudha, one of the ancient spiritual sites of Kathmandu valley. Here we will take some time for “Orientation” – settling into our magical surroundings, and learning about place and culture. This will be the time that we start to get to know each other and the group, and start gathering the tools and knowledge that we will need to engage with this journey with confidence and respect. We will explore the monasteries and shrines, and learn about Tibetan Buddhism. In the bustle of the city, we will begin to observe how the ancient and modern are intertwined and inseparable.

January 17-21st: Traveling across town, we will enter the medieval city of Patan where we will stay with Newari artisan families who practice ancient crafts that have been passed down through the generations from their forefathers. Every day will be a new learning journey as we navigate the cobbled streets and explore the ancient temples on every street corner. This will be our chance for independent study, as we will get to spend a few hours every day learning a local craft or spiritual tradition from an expert mentor. During the rest of the time we will visit sites of cultural significance, meet local activists, academics and non-profits to talk to us about the current issues facing Nepal, and fingers crossed we may also get an audience with some of Nepal’s most famous contemporary musicians!

January 22-24th: Heading back out to the outskirts of Kathmandu, we will stay in an ashram community called Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir – which also happens to have been Rishi’s home for most of his childhood. It is a wonderful place which is at once an organic farm, a shelter for the vulnerable, and a retreat center. We will get the chance to do yoga, explore Hindu philosophy with eminent spiritual leaders, and understand the nature of karma yoga (service) by contributing what we can to the community. We will be able to see firsthand how ancient philosophy is still applicable today, and how this is integrated with modern-day values and the running of a sustainable enterprise. As the ashram is a center for the arts and culture, we will also have options to deepen our knowledge on topics such as dancing, weaving and traditional medicine.

January 25-27th: Our final days will be spent in Bhaktapur, another of Kathmandu’s world heritage sites. We will stay in a quaint hillside guesthouse and take a chance to catch our breath and process the experience in what we call “Transference.” Together, we will celebrate and discuss ways in which we could best integrate all we learned into our lives back home.

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Thank you so much for joining us on this journey. We are counting down the days!