Welcome to our Traditions in the Himalayas Summer 2018 Family aka Nepal team A-mazing!
In a few weeks you shall be in one of the most blessed and majestic lands that is going to put an indelible mark on your life, consciousness and memories. We, the I-team, and the admin have all been working to design a course that is profoundly meaningful, full of wisdom, challenging and fun!
Our journey will be strung in three core values we strive to incorporate in each of our courses here at Where There Be Dragons: Global Citizenship, Awareness of Self and Leadership. These three core values work as anchors and sails to guide the course towards the most meaningful experience for us all.
Additionally, our summer in Nepal will move through a progression of three phases:
Please do keep in mind that this a tentative itinerary and will involve change in plans. A meaningful journey is abundant in spontaneity, surprises and challenges. We trust that you will come with an open mind and an open heart to embrace the change. In these courses we intentionally leave some wiggle room for efforts to incorporate your aspirations, abilities and goals to the highest level without straying away from our core values. As much as we give our best in planning, it is intentionally a work in progress.
So without further adieu, here’s the tentative outline for our time in Nepal:
Orientation/Ashram Stay – Welcome to the historic city of Bhaktapur. What better place than to be welcomed to this beautiful country by one of the oldest and treasured cities. Here at Bhaktapur we’ll recover from our long journey, start to learn about Nepal and gather tools and knowledge that we will need to engage in this adventure together. This is also the time where we will learn about each other and the group, strengthen our bonds and cherish our journeys that brought us together. During our orientation we will also do excursions to the nearby temples and historical sites. The core or ancient city of Bhaktapur is a walking distance from our orientation site and our orientation will include excursions to explore the magic of Bhaktapur where each alley is filled with artisans engaged in their art forms such as pottery, weaving, woodworking, metal carving etc. We will also start our language lessons during the orientation. After our time in Bhaktapur, we’ll stay for a day and half at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a self sustainable spiritual community which is also an organic farm, yoga centre, a school and an art centre. We’ll get our hands dirty in the farm there and also learn a little about the Hindu philosophy.
Rural Homestay – After our time at the Ashram, we will then travel into rural Nepal, to a beautiful Gurung village named Balamchaur. Located in the Annapurna Conservation Area and nested in the laps of the majestic Manaslu Himalayas, we’ll spend our days learning from our homestay families, participating in daily village life, and learning what it means to have a sustainable lifestyle. Sitting on the porch with your family and sipping tea, this is where your Nepali skills are incredibly valuable. Since it’s the monsoon season, we will be able to participate in paddy plantation with the families! We will be joined by our language teacher during our stay here so that we can keep learning and practicing our freshly improving Nepali skills. During our time here, we will take a short break from the homestay and head out for a trek in nearby mountains for a couple of days. We then come back to our homestay families, spend some more time with them and then prepare to head out to Kathmandu on a long bus journey filled with some insane views of rivers and mountains.
Bouddhanath, Meditation Retreat – We will then go to Bouddhanath, a very sacred spiritual site in Nepal. Located inside the Kathmandu valley, we will get to explore this majestic Stupa and its vicinity; a thriving Tibetan Buddhist community in Nepal. Here we will celebrate our mid-course journey and reinvigorate ourselves for the second half of the course. We will then head to Namo Buddha Monastery, one of the most renowned monasteries in Nepal. Located in the village of Kavre, on a hilltop overlooking several villages and wonderful hills, here we will engage in our 4 day meditation retreat and learn about the basics of Buddhist philosophy and meditation from a Khenpo (buddhist scholar). During the retreat, we will eat and pray with the hundreds of monks at the monastery. Namo Buddha is highly revered as it is believed that Buddha had sacrificed his own body to feed a hungry tigress and her cubs in one of his past lives here.
Urban Homestay , Transference – After this peaceful break we’ll be prepared to descend into the chaos of the city for our urban homestay in the medieval city of Patan. We’ll navigate the cobbled streets and ancient temples, and stay with Newari artisan families. Every day will be a new learning journey as we explore the city together, do excursions to see the sites, and listen to outside speakers come and tell their stories. Patan is an incredible ancient town where centuries old traditions are so seamlessly integrated to the modern life rendering a beautiful form of existence that is rare to find these days.
Saying goodbyes to our families we will then head to Bhaktapur where we all started. Our final few days together, Transference, is dedicated to looking back at the passage we have taken, as well as forward, towards home. We will spend time focusing on synthesis, integration, preparation, and celebration. We will celebrate our journey, our accomplishments, the bonds and the moments that we shared as we prepare ourselves for the journey back home.
We hope you are excited as we are for our upcoming journey! Your I-team is looking forward to meeting you all and setting out on a journey into the life, culture, and landscape of the Himalayas.
And! Please post your introductions on this Yak Board ASAP. It’s a wonderful way to know the community. We at Dragons LOVE the Yak board.
It’s not hard. Just tell us a little about yourself – What are you excited about? What are you passionate about in life? How are you spending these final weeks prior to our departure?
We are looking forward to learning about you all.
Rishi, Shanti and Dave.