Hello and welcome to our TENTATIVE itinerary! We are so excited to have you in Nepal with us and we’re happy to present you with an outline of what our time together will look like. We have included dates so this can all start becoming a bit more clear to you all, but please keep in mind that it is tentative and we will all need to be flexible once we’re in country if things change a little – that’s honestly one of the many beautiful (and sometimes frustrating) things about travel. But we can assure you that there are so many amazing things we are going to do and people we are gong to meet! 🙂
17th September: Students arrive!
Once you have arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport, collect your bags and meet us outside! We’ll be wearing Dragons t-shirts or be carrying some sort of sign. Don’t worry, we’ll find each other! 🙂
17th – 20th: Orientation at Bhaktapur
After you all arrive in country, we will begin our adventure in Bhaktapur, a beautiful and ancient city. We will settle into a guesthouse where we will spend about four days. Orientation is a time for us all to prepare for the journey ahead: we will begin getting to know each other and Nepal(!), establish group culture, talk about our goals and start learning a little Nepali. The Durbar square in Bhaktapur is a World Heritage Site and a visual treat. Its alleyways are packed with artisans and we will definitely be doing some exploring.
21st – 23rd: Permaculture Farm
After our orientation we will make our way to a permaculture farm about a half an hour from Bhaktapur run by our friends and long time Dragons instructors. Here we will get an opportunity to learn about the how’s and why’s of sustainability. Since its a fully functioning farm we will also get an opportunity to get our hands dirty and our minds clear by working with the land. Dave and Prabhigya (the founders of the farm) also do several other exciting activities including a sustainable products company called Khali Khutta which we will also be able to learn about.
September 24th – October 14th: Urban Homestays in Patan
Patan is a city rich in history, art and architecture. We are so lucky to get to spend 3 weeks exploring its ins and outs, spending time with our homestay families and — Some of our time in Patan will be quite structured, as described below, but you will have time to explore the city independently.
Monday-Friday in Patan: Each morning the group will meet at our program house to eat breakfast, check-in with each other about how we’re doing and have your Nepali language class. Some days we will also make time to hear from incredible guest speakers – artists, musicians, activists! Other days we will have student or instructor led discussions and dive deeper into topics that we’re passionate about.
After lunch together, you’ll spend the afternoons doing your Independent Study Projects (ISPs). There are so many options, a few include: wood or silver carving, painting, tailoring, cooking, photography, a host of musical instruments and Ayurvedic medicine.
Saturday & Sunday: The weekend will be devoted to spending time with your homestay families, but also exploring the city and its surrounding areas through student led expeditions.
October 15th – 16th: Midcourse
Midcourse is a time where we mark the middle of our course, reflecting on the experiences we have had and thinking about ways we can make our time in Nepal more fruitful.
October 17th – 19th: Mini X-Phase
One of the most exciting opportunities you will have on your semester will be to plan and execute something called an Expedition or X-Phase. You’ll book tickets, plan activities, lead discussions. This is a time when instructors take a step back so that you all can begin to cultivate important travel and leadership skills.
October 20th – November 2nd: TREK!
The mountains are calling!! We will be trekking along the Tamang Heritage and through Langtang National Park. These two weeks we’ll find ourselves in the midst of the Himalayas and in some of the most breathtaking places. We will trek along a route that has also been used for time immemorial as a pilgrimage route. We’ll even go to a high alpine lake that is very sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. While the trek will definitely challenge us all, both physically and mentally, it will also bring us all together as a group. We will learn about and practice our expedition behaviour, continue to discuss issues of development and dive deep into questions about conservation and sustainability. The views also promise to be grand.
November 3rd: Day of Rest
One of our favourite things about trekking is getting to see how dirty you are at the end! We kid, but you will surely want a shower before moving on to our next destination. We’ll use this day to rest and celebrate what we have achieved.
November 4th – 15th: Rural Homestay in Alegaun
Following our meditation retreat, brimming with questions and calm, we will travel to our rural homestay in Alegaun. Similar to the Patan homestay, you will live with families, but this time in an entirely different setting. Here, we’ll work with families in their homes and fields, discuss issues surrounding development, service and progress, to name a few. You will also get the chance to use your newly acquired language skills to communicate with and get to know the community.
November 16th – 20th: X-Phase
This semester we want you all to be able to have two occasions on which you have autonomy and responsibility. The first X-Phase is sure to go well, but the second one will give you an opportunity to take on new responsibilities and improve on the first iteration.
You will have plenty of time to plan ahead, but there is also a small town near Alegaun where you can go to access Internet. We have no doubt that you’ll manage to create an excellent little adventure for us. 🙂
November 21st – 30: Meditation Retreat
We will do our Buddhist retreat at a renowned monastery in the Kathmandu Valley, where a khenpo, a title used for those who have achieved the highest levels of monastic education, will talk to us about Buddhist history, philosophy, practices and community. We will definitely talk a lot about the retreat before we embark on it- the retreat often challenges our ideas and identities and we want you to be able to dive into new concepts with as much support as we can provide!
December 1st – 2nd: Mini Trek to Transference
While the retreat is often very relaxing and peaceful, it’s only natural to feel like you want to get moving again after it. We’ve decided to do a mini trek to our last location so we can do just that and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors in Nepal one last time.
December 3rd – 6th: Transference
Before we come to the end of our time together, we like to take time to reflect on the months we’ve spent together, but also think about how we can carry this trip forward into the next phase of our lives. At Dragons, we call this Transference. This intentional, often emotional and important time together will mark the end of our semester, but the beginning of something new and just as special.
As we say our (tearful) goodbyes, we’ll be sad this time is over, but so excited to see what awaits us all.