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A practiced hand paints a thanka. Photo by Cara Starnbach, North India Program.

Hello from Laura!

Namaste and hello North India travelers!

I am writing to you from the Pacific Crest Trail, currently resting my sore feet in a cozy historic gold rush town in Southern California and counting the days until we leave for our amazing trip to India! I have been hiking for one week and will be on the trail for a little while longer, hoping to do some of my own exploration and meditation before we journey North to continue our exploration as a group.

I thought I would take this opportunity to let you know a little more about who I am! I recently moved back to my hometown Portland, Oregon, after living in beautiful Southeast Alaska for the past few years. When I am not traveling with Dragons, I am usually working in outdoor education and recreation, spending as much time in the mountains and the Pacific Northwest rainforest as possible. I love to hike, ski, rock climb, run, and sing songs!

It was my first trip to West Africa as a Dragons student ten years ago that showed me the power and value of traveling and learning abroad, immersed in another place and culture. Since then, I have been lucky to both work and learn in many other places, including Australia and New Zealand, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and all over the African continent. I also spent a few months in India traveling and teaching English, and am so excited to return to the sub-continent as an instructor!

You are all about to embark on your own journey of cultural immersion and the invaluable learning that comes from it; and India is the perfect place to do it! My goal as an instructor is to help deliver the most valuable, safe, and successful trip for all of you as we enter the Dragons experience. As we get closer to our departure, please feel free to use me (and Hemant, Saurabh, and Justin) as resources! All questions are fair game, and we are here to help in whatever way we can. You can contact us on the Yak board or individually if you like!

Keep an eye out for pre-course information and assignments right here on the Yak board. We will begin to post information and packing ideas here, along with other helpful tips and ideas to get our minds (and backpacks!) ready for 6 weeks in India. Even though I’m hiking for a little while longer, I’ll still be available for any questions or concerns as they arise.

My email is: [email protected]

My phone number is: 503-927-9557

Happy packing and I’ll see you all soon!

Laura