OPERATION ... tourism initiatives that will support the local Mahayana Buddhist communities. We¢â‚¬â„¢ll

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    OPERATION

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    GROUNDSWELL’s

    INDIA

    HImalayan ADVENTURE

    OPERATION GROUNDSWELL www.operationgroundswell.com

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    http://www.operationgroundswell.com

  • The summer of your life is about to begin. This package will get you stoked and fill you in on everything you need to know about OG and your region.

    CONTENTS

    3 OUR APPROACH

    4 A LETTER FROM YOUR PROGRAM LEADERS

    5 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

    6 INDIA COUNTRY PROFILE

    7 GETTING IN & OUT OF INDIA

    8 TRAVEL HEALTH & MEDICINE

    9 SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

    10 WHAT TO PACK

    12 MONEY MATTERS

    13 CULTURAL DO’S AND DO NOT’S

    14 HINDI FOR DUMMIES

    15 WHO WE’RE WORKING WITH

    16 KNOWING STUFF MAKES YOU SMARTER

    17 FINAL CHECKLIST

    WE’re sparking a

    movement of

    globally active &

    socially coNScious

    BACKPACKTIVISTS.

  • OG Himalyan Adventure 3 > >

    OUR APPROACH

    Operation Groundswell is a collaborative organization. It’s in our DNA. Which is why over the past couple years, we’ve sat down with over fifty people close to OG to ask them which values best represent the organization. Together we built what is now called the Backpacktivist Manifesto: a working document that we will use to inform everything we do, both abroad and right here in our home communities.

    Here are the values that every backpacktivist should strive for:

    » Prepared to change: the most important quality in a backpacktivist is the ability to reflect and adapt.

    » Full life livin’: squeeze the sweet nectar out of

    every opportunity the world throws at us!

    » Conscientious: adhering to local traditions and customs allows us to understand the value of cultures different from our own.

    » Respect: make an effort to understand all people... even the ones we don’t get along with.

    » Humility: a backpacktivist may look silly searching for words in a new language, but the very attempt connects us to locals on a whole different level.

    » Solidarity: a backpacktivist stands in solidarity with all peoples, regardless of race, gender, or class.

    » Group-focused: leverage the power of a group to develop a deeper understanding of the world around us and ourselves.

    » » Thirst for learning: the road is the best classroom

    and a backpacktivist is searching for truth.

    » Leadership: we are training the next generation of positive and diverse leaders.

    Backpacking with a purpose is about being conscious and critical of our impact on the communities that we travel to.

  • OG Himalyan Adventure 4

    Z o e

    They say what you believe in floats towards you or finds you...through you.

    And with that, we are thrilled that this program and you have found each other.

    So....are you prepared to have the best, most life- changing summer of your life? Are you all set to experience the land called India, one of the most diverse, vibrant, and incredible countries in the world (or rather, a continent in itself!)

    We are so excited to be leading and facilitating this unforgettable program. Together, we will be experiencing the myriad of exotic sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that India has to offer - ranging from the streets in the chaotic capital of Delhi to the beautiful, exotic magical mountains in the northern region of Ladakh; from the rush and the chaos to the deepest levels of tranquilities possible.

    As one of the oldest, most tempting backpacker destinations in the world, India is an engaging, challenging, and inspiring country whose raw beauty and intensity will stay with you for years to come. You’ll fall in love with the food, mountain views, people, smells, temples, and energy of India. Even crossing the street is an endeavor in itself. On top of all this, our community-requested volunteer projects will give us even greater insight into the reality of life in the sub- continent.

    We will see amazing places, be introduced to interesting people, and have the opportunity to explore ideas of community mobilization. We will meet people from all walks of life with a wealth of knowledge and a vibrant

    drive for global betterment. Our own little group will also be an awesome family of love and learning to keep us going along the way. An open mind (and heart) along with a little patience and perseverance are high priorities on the packing list!

    As leaders of this program, we are not here to create the experience for you, but to facilitate the process of understanding a culture and country that has existed for thousands of years, to encourage each other to be mindful guests, and to work in solidarity with our friends and partners on the ground. As your program leaders, we know the organizations we will be working with and where some of the coolest local spots to explore are. Just like you, we too are lifelong learners and explorers; we are in this together! The bus will inevitably break down and we may be tested by the notorious “Delhi Belly”. Some plans may change, as nothing is written in stone. But the best part is that we are in this together and we’ll learn, laugh, and struggle together as these adventures unfold one step at a time.

    In the weeks you spend in India, you likely won’t be “changing the world,” but you’ll most certainly be changed by it. OG’s mission is to plant seeds of inspiration in each of you to become conscious global citizens of this stunning world. And we will have a heck of a lot of fun while we’re at it!

    In the meantime, make sure you go through this program package carefully and get excited for an adventure like no other!

    With love,

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    > >Natalie & Walker

    A LETTER FROM YOUR PROGRAM LEADERS

    NAMASTE!

    THE SUMMER OF YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN. HERE’S EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

  • OG Himalyan Adventure 5

    PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

    DELHI ORIENTATION We arrive jet-lagged and excited to India’s bustling capital to prepare for the weeks ahead. We will get to know this chaotic city with an introduction to Indian culture and, most importantly, each other. We will navigate the busy streets, interact with local vendors, practice our bartering skills, and sample the delicious local cuisine!

    DHARAMSALA AND MCLEODGANJ HIMALCHI CULTURE From Delhi we will be stepping into the land of momos and mantras! We’ll be working and learning from Students for a Free Tibet who advocate for increased rights for Tibetan people through social action and community projects that are based in non-violence. We’ll get a picture of life inside and outside of Tibet, the local Himalayan culture (Himachali), and why this tiny town has a year-round deluge of visitors from every corner of the globe.

    Spiti EXPLORING TIBETAN LIFE Over the mighty Rohtang Pass, nestled in the cold desert mountains, we’ll immerse ourselves in a landscape and culture identical to Tibet’s – that is until Tibet lost its independence in 1949. We will work with NGOs in Spiti to create sustainable livelihoods through conservation, cultural preservation, and sustainable tourism initiatives that will support the local Mahayana Buddhist communities. We’ll likely be hiking between villages and homestays, as well as visiting the famous Ki monastery.

    RISHIKESH DISORIENTION Arguably the world capital of yoga, Rishikesh not only hosts yoga and meditation centres but also has great opportunities for rafting and hiking. It is the perfect place to debrief and end our experience together. We’ll relive memories of the program, discuss how to stay connected, and collaborate on projects in the future.

    YOUR PROGRAM ON A GOOGLE MAP

    Here is the itinerary for the six weeks that we will be together! In the age of Google, we decided that an interactive map is the only way to roll. Feel free to play around with it, make it your browser’s homepage, and share it with your friends and family. Soon enough we’ll be on the ground doing that route for real.

    Simply plug this link in your browser: http://bit.ly/1Qgga3A

    > >

    6 INCREDIBLE WEEKS. 1 PAGE.

    http://bit.ly/1Qgga3A

  • OG Himalyan Adventure 6

    INDIA COUNTRY PROFILE

    Capital: New Delhi

    Population: 1.25 billion

    Major languages: Hindi, English, Urdu

    Major religion: Hindu, Buddhism, Islam

    Life expectancy: 64 years (men), 68 years (women)

    Monetary unit: Indian Rupees

    Time Zone: UTC +5:30

    Northwest India will amaze, surprise, and intimidate at any and every turn. With its in-your-face diversity, snow- dusted mountains, tranquil temples, feisty festivals, lantern-lit villages, and software-supreme cities, it’s hardly surprising that this country has been dubbed the world’s most multidimensional. Love it, loathe it, or see- saw between the two, India promises to jostle your entire being, and no matter what, it’s a place you’ll n

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