Greetings Fellow Travellers,
Welcome to the Bhutan Yak Board! My name is Rebecca and I am one of your three instructors this summer.
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 Bhutan. I truly believe we are about to embark on a life-changing journey.
Some of you may have never left your home country and I’m guessing many if not all of you have never been to Bhutan! 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 in college for a year-long study abroad program at an Indian university. I fell in love with India: the people, languages, poetry and music. Since I was twenty, I’ve lived all over India, studying languages, teaching, doing research and working in a village. I speak fluent Hindi and Urdu and am conversational in a couple of other languages (including Nepali!). Currently I live in Dehradun, in the foothills of the Himalayas. I’ve been leading travel programs in South Asia since 2014 and this summer with be my tenth program with Dragons! I’ve led semester and summer programs in India and Nepal, as well as working with the Princeton Bridge Year program and school partnership courses. I believe deeply in the power of travel to change our lives and I love travelling with students to beautiful places and grappling with life’s big questions alongside you. This summer will be particularly special for me because it will be my first time in Bhutan and I’m delighted to get to experience this amazing country with a group of Dragons students!
When I’m travelling to a new place, I have to remind myself that it’s human nature to come into experiences like this with lots of expectations. But the best thing we can do for ourselves is to let go of them. Events, people 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.
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 communicate in a new language. 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.
I am excited to be leading this course alongside Topaz and Nick. 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 hiking boots or sunscreen, someone else has it too! If you have a specific question or would like to check in privately you can also email me ([email protected]) We’d also love to know a little about you, so please post to this yak board an introduction and a picture. Who are you? Where do you come from? What are you looking forward to doing/seeing/experiencing in Bhutan?
Peace and love,