Tuesday, July 20, 2010


There are so many moments when in the midst of chaos that there is a moment of clarity--a moment when I say to myself "this is why I love doing this class!" There was just such a moment this weekend.

This weekend provided each in our group a host of challenges and opportunities (depending on how you look at it!): taking a train through the Indian countryside and using the "hole to the tracks" bathroom, winding our way up the Yercaud mountains with 20 hairpin turns while our drivers passed slow moving vehicles on the curves, sleeping on hard mats in our tents while it rained and the wind whipped outside, hiking down a thorny, billy goat trail with machete and sticks to a beautiful waterfall, driving another 6 hours with numerous near misses to reach Pondicherry, exploring a new city, getting blessed by Lakshmi the elephant, and finally returning "home" to Chennai. But each individual rose to the challenges and made them into opportunities--opportunities to connect with each other, to prove that they weren't a quitter, to understand another culture just a little better, to try something new, to explore the unknown or untried--and in the end, we all benefited from it.

But there was a moment of unity and connection when the class was gathered on the top of a mountain and a student was presenting on the benefits of ayurvedic breathing for physical and emotional health. A moment in time when you stop and think that this is the whole point of travel learning--the whole point of exploring another culture while exploring who you are as a human--the whole point of connecting with the self and the other.

Our students rose to the challenge and marked a moment in time.

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