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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Instructor Introduction

Namaste Everyone,

Welcome to Nepal Himalaya Program and allow me introduce myself to you. My name is Tsheten and I am from Nepal. This is my third semester working with Dragons and it excites me to have yet another episode of teaching, learning, bonding, and lots of traveling.

I was born in a village on foothills of Solukhumbu where I come from a conservative Sherpa family. As a child, I grew up playing football in muddy fields, wandering spontaneously and planting potato seedlings in fields alongside my family. I experienced being a monk for two years in India where I learned and practiced Buddhist rituals with 200 other monks. I spend most of my adolescence in Kathmandu, where I got my regular schooling leading up to college (B.A, Development studies) from Kathmandu University. Currently, I live in the capital city, and these days, I am volunteering in community based organization for an annual Vajra Guru (highly revered Tibetan Buddhist master) festival. The festival is week long and is attended by thousands with Buddhist faith.

Talking more about myself, I love backpacking and I go out of the city whenever I can. During college, I spent most of my semester breaks hiking on trekking trails of Nepal. Meanwhile, I was also very interested in meeting new people and getting perspectives on developments such as hydro dams and tourism in Nepal. To fulfill my interest, I took part in EIA research on a displaced community of a Hydro dam in a village of western Nepal. Further, as part of my school project  I also conducted a Food security assessment in Chokati; an eastern village in Nepal. In the aftermath of the earthquake, I was involved with ‘Himalayan Crossroads’, a local NGO; conducting needs assessment, setting camps, distributing relief and being part of emergency response training among local people.

Nepal is a small country. Yet, for its small size it is remarkably diverse and in it resides many things. It is the mountains that tower above and take you to the trails less traveled. It is in raging rivers that meander through hills and hidden valleys. It is in villages nestled along the hills above clouds. It is in people with subsistence lifestyle and their friendly greeting of Namaste (“I bow to the divine in you”). It is in terrace farms fed with rain water, it is in smoke chimney of traditional mud houses and cowshed that shelters their livestock. It resides in thousands years old monument next to residential buildings in congested streets of Kathmandu valley. It is in museum palaces, statues and common courtyards. Above all, it lies in a contrast between modern and ancient. It is in age old traditions still alive and in practice. It is in chants of mantras from a child monk early in the morning in shrines. It is reflected in Pauba paintings hung on the walls of your home-stay family. Overall, it is mystifying.

Dragons has been a wonderful experience for me as well, as i have come across many amazing people and places. Last summer, I came to US for the first time on an invitation for Dragons instructors orientation. I spent a month there doing multiple road trips from Colorado to California and around the Pacific Coast Highway. Coming from a landlocked country it was such a profound firsthand experience. I realized that it was a reverse experience for me of what Dragons student experience in places like Nepal. In a way, I was a Dragons student myself. Despite the newness of the place I intended to immerse myself well; trying new foods that were exotic to me, biking around San Fransisco, going to bluegrass concerts, hiking around Zion and Yosemite, etc.

As you prepare yourselves to experience the newness in culture, landscape and people, get ready to lose and immerse yourselves in newness of this part of the world. Rest assured, you will have wonderful connection to this place. As the saying goes, “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” To me, all the lands of the earth belong to us all. It is only when you go there and see the different ways in which people live and express their lifestyle.

We’re so excited to meet you, and travel with you, and learn with you. Please, take a few minutes to write a short intro about yourself here so we know where you’re coming from, what you’re excited about, nervous about, or have questions about.

Until our paths cross, we wait to hear from you.

You can reach out to me on [email protected]

Dhanyabaad, (Thank you)