Khamma Ghani (Greetings in Rajasthani language), Namaste (Greetings in Hindi) and Hello from Udaipur!!
I am writing you all from the historic and beautiful city of Udaipur where you will find your new home, new families and friends waiting for you to embark on a wonderful journey together for the next nine months of your Bridge Year India Program. Udaipur is one of the most scenic, beautiful and culturally rich towns of Rajasthan. You are bound to get overwhelmed (as everyone does when they first come to India) but you will soon fall in love with its people, its culture, its pride, its lakes and most importantly its hospitality!
Rajasthan is all about its hospitality, its age-old rich traditions and some of the most mouthwatering cuisines in the world, and I am honoured to have you all here to accompany you through your most transformative journey that you are about to embark upon.
I was born and raised here in Rajasthan not far from Udaipur in the town of Abu Road, and my love for this place and its people has grown tremendously over time since I first started traveling across its deserted landscape to the highest peak of the Aravali range (the nearby Mount Abu) that runs through this beautiful state.
After completing college, I came back to Rajasthan and worked with Jan Chetna Sansthan, an NGO that focuses on rural livelihood, education, and women’s empowerment in the indigenous villages of southern Rajasthan. After working at Jan Chetna, I followed my passion (wildlife conservation/reptiles) and moved to the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Center for Herpetology in Chennai, where I managed a residential volunteer program for Indian and international visitors at one of the premiere reptile zoos and wildlife education facilities in South Asia. I also assisted with zoo management, research, and documentary filmmaking. In 2012, I founded an ecological education and travel company, through which I have led groups from the U.S., U.K., France and India on wilderness programs throughout Rajasthan, Ladakh (north India), South India, and Sri Lanka. My favourite expeditions have been to Ladakh for snow leopard tracking and to Yala National Park in Sri Lanka to see their majestic leopards.
I have also led students on cultural and community service explorations in Rajasthan and Ladakh with Where there be Dragons and Putney Student Travel. This will be my second year as a director for the Bridge Year Program India. It was such an amazing experience for me to share and travel with last year’s students, and I look forward to learning and traveling together with you.
I can’t wait to have you all here to share our stories together, become friends, and form a family that stays together, laughs together, cries together, supports each other and most importantly has a blast together!!!
Lastly, I just want to say to come with an open mind, heart and soul to embrace what awaits for you on the other side of this beautiful world. There will be ups and downs and I promise that I and all the other instructors will be with you throughout your journey to India to support you, and will stand next to you in all your experiences. So come with a smile, prepare yourself for the unexpected, and let’s have an amazing time together.
See you all on this side soon and please feel free to write to me at [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns. I will be more than happy to help you!