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Nepal Semester Student's Catherine Von Holt's photograph of the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu.


Honestly, I just have to pinch myself. To think that in approximately a week, we will all meet for an incredible international journey set against monasteries, temples and the himalayan mountains, listening and learning from and with the Nepali culture… I am stunned with gratitude.


Victoria, British Columbia, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, about as far south west as you can get in Canada, is my home. While I have always returned to this beautiful corner of the globe, travel and the inevitable connections I’ve made along the way have made immeasurable change in my life. From eighteen years old, I have travelled both on my own and with groups. Over the last seven years, education and global studies has tangled itself irreversibly into what I’d call my personal purpose. In 2012 I began my position as a houseparent to over forty international boarding students where I started as a visual art and boarding intern. Fast forward 7 years, my spouse and I, now both full time houseparents, have never known a married year without the boarding kids in our lives. I now teach applied design, help administer a growing experiential education program and have travelled around the world three times with our global expeditions. Talk about a snowball effect!


With travel having had such a large impact on my own life, I have made global citizenship one of my largest goals and this, inevitably, resonates into my work as an educator and administrator. In the fall I will be starting at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University to finish a degree in Global and Social Justice studies; I look forward to this trip being an amazing step along that journey and how this program will affect the way I organize and lead future trips for my students.


When reading Why We Travel by Pico Iyer (btw, also by Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness, is a wonderful read), I was struck by his acknowledgement of the inner travel we do when we visit new places and meet new people. He writes, “…we inevitably travel to moods and states of mind and hidden inward passages that we’d otherwise seldom have cause to visit.” This begged me to consider the physicality of travel and the possibility of living in that openness in my everyday life.


Very much looking forward to meeting everyone so soon!


Elisha Gardiner