Traveling the World with Liam

Maybe you’re considering a gap year for 2020. Making this decision only gets easier with more information and insight – and what better way to learn about a gap year than to follow a Winterline student through the course of their travels? Lucky for you, our 2019-2020 student Liam is creating a vlog series showcasing his Winterline experience. While some things will look a little different this year due to COVID-19, the overall purpose and goals of Winterline’s program remains the same.

Whether you’re looking for a way to have new experiences from home or learn more about a specific program, Liam will take you on an adventure through his own eyes. We’ll update this page each time Liam posts a new episode, but you can follow along or check out his other videos on Liam’s YouTube channel!

Do you have your own travel or gap year experiences you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

Photos of the Week 3/6

In honor of Winterline’s first program in Africa, we’ve decided to focus this week’s blog exclusively on the incredible photos from Rwanda! Squad 3 has been having an incredible time exploring the town and bonding with the locals through their homestays. This week, the students used some of their free time to go on safari and see beautiful animals up close and personal. See for yourself!

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Safari selfie
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Squad 3 on safari
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Giraffe in Rwanda
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Safari ready
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Elephant close up
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Zebras, too | Photo By: Whitfield Smith
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Leon and James on safari
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Whit and James on safari
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A cow full of love | Photo By: Emma Macfayden
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Rwandan homestay | Photo By: Emma Macfayden
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Emma with her host family and FA Hillevi
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Walks in Rwanda
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Emma and FA Hillevi with host mother
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Ashley and Lauren with Rwandan hosts
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Lauren hanging out with the kids
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Bonding with the kids
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Lauren in Rwanda
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Carter in Rwanda | Photo By: Micah Zimmerman
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Strolling through town
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James and Micah preparing dinner
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Streets of Rwanda | Photo By: Leon Louw
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City views | Photo By: Leon Louw
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Learning from the locals | Photo By: Emmie Daswani
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Sherly, Alexandra, and Emmie in Rwanda
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Making friends | Photo By: Emmie Daswani
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FA James with Carter, Eli, and their desserts
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Group photo!
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A local dressmaker at the market | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Dinner duty | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Time for washing | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Homestay in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Alexandra with her weaving

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Photos of the Week 2/28

Happy Friday! This week, Squad 1 is off the grid trekking the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India. Before taking off on this adventure, the students got a course in disaster medicine from the Hanifl Centre. Last week, Squad 2 went through this course, so we’re excited to share photos from their experience. Check out the gorgeous mountain views and examples of life-saving techniques!

Meanwhile, we’re thrilled that, for the first time ever, our students are in Rwanda! Squad 3 is onto the Africa portion of their gap year; after Rwanda, they’re headed to South Africa. For now, the students are living in homestays and exploring the culture of Kigali through artisan skills like cooking and baking, dance, and farming. Stay tuned to keep up with their adventures!

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Zoe, Alyssa, and Lauren in Bangkok
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A biker in India | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Squad 3 boys playing soccer in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Rwandan village | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Views in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Views in Rwanda | Photo By: Sherly Budiman
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Rwanda at dusk | Photo By: Sherly Budiman
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Sightseeing in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Bikers in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Street views in Rwanda | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Pablo and Eli at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Jared, Justin, Liam and Veronica at the Old Delhi Food Walk | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Howling monkey | Photo By: Lucas Massolo
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Liam at the Taj Mahal
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Lauren with her marble inlay project | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Lauren with her decorated cake | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Justin at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Jason, Lauren, and Zoe | Photo By: Jessica Castellan
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Liam, Alyssa, Jessica, and Jason showing off their boots | Photo By: Jessica Castellan
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Views from the Indian Himalaya | Photo By: Jessica Castellan
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Himalayan views | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Alyssa in the Himalaya
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Himalayan views | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Squad 3 baking dessert | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Desserts made by Squad 3 | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Alexandra decorating a cake
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Leon, Eli, Alexandra and James ready to bake
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Bollywood dance class | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Bollywood dance class | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Bangkok at night | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Photos of the Week 2/14

Our three squads are spread across three different countries this week, and they’re each practicing different skills. Squad 1 is nearing the end of their time in Cambodia, where they took a class in bicycle maintenance before riding to Angkor Wat. They also took a class at Phare Circus School, then split up to pursue advanced skills. Our students had a choice between a 5-day meditation retreat, bicycle touring in Battambang, or getting an Advanced Open Water SCUBA certified off the coast.

Meanwhile, Squad 2 is in Nan, Thailand, where they learned the sport of Muay Thai boxing! The students also got to practice weaving and pottery, and spent some free time exploring the beauty of the countryside. Finally, Squad 3 is in Northern India, where they’ll be trekking the foothills of the Himalayas. Before taking off on this adventure, the students are getting a course in disaster medicine from the Hanifl Centre. It sure has been a busy and exciting week: see for yourself through the eyes (and photos) of our students!

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Zoe learning bike maintenance | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Streets of Thailand | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Jason and Alyssa practice Muay Thai
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City views in Bangkok | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Temple ruins | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Liam learns to weave
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Lauren weaves textiles | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Justin and Liam learn bike maintenance
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Moriah, Josh, and Jacob go for a ride on a bamboo train
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Jared learns bike maintenance | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Jacob and Moriah learn Khmer dancing
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Jackson weaves textiles | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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James and Leon at the Taj Mahal
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Taking in views of India | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Disaster medicine training at the Hanifl Centre
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Emma in India
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Lauren and Lucas at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Cooking at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Squad 2 at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Squad 1 at Angkor Wat
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Josh, James, and Peyton at Angkor Wat
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Josh and Moriah at the temples
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Squad 1 at Phare Circus School
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Josh and Jacob at Phare Circus School
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Weaving in Thailand | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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Alyssa and Veronica at Muay Thai practice
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Squad 2 at Muay Thai practice
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Squad 2 biking in Bangkok

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Photos of the Week 2/7

This week, our students have been taking in the jaw-dropping beauty of the Taj Mahal and the grandiosity of the Angkor Wat temple complex. But they’ve been learning, too: creating marble inlays and vision boards, practicing advanced scuba diving, and cooking up a storm. The diversity of skills and culture across Southeast Asia and India are sure to be lifechanging for our students – see for yourself!

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Vision boards created by our students
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Glorious Taj Mahal | Photo By: Whitfield Smith
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Squad 3 at the Taj Mahal
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Lauren at the Taj Mahal
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Justin in Cambodia
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Carter and Micah at the Taj Mahal
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Indian flag
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Carter and Eli at the Taj Mahal
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Pablo and Eli at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Micah Zimmerman
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Lauren in India
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Sleepy kitty | Photo By: Leon Louw
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Advanced scuba | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Swinging in the sun
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Chef’s selfie | Photo By: Justin Newman
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Justin cooking
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Squad 2 boys
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Jason getting ready for scuba
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Squad 2 in the kitchen
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Cooking lessons
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Jared and Liam prepping ingredients
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Jackson and Zoe
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Cambodian dive shop | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Adventures at Angkor Wat
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Jason on the road
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Temple hideouts
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Angkor Wat | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Nighttime views in Cambodia | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Jackson at a waterfall
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Golden Buddhas | Photo By: Alexandra Johansson
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Angkor Wat | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Cambodian beaches | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Lauren swinging

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Location Spotlight: Hanifl Centre

Hanifl Centre, an outreach of the Woodstock School in Mussoorie, India, is an outdoor education center in the Himalaya where Winterline students stay during Trimester 2 of their gap year. 

The centre’s full name is The Hanifl Centre for Outdoor Education and Environmental Study, and it was established in 2003 by Woodstock School alumni Suzanne and Paul Hanifl. The Hanifl’s founded the centre as a way to expand upon skills and knowledge of outdoor education for students and visitors alike.

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Photo By: Emma Mays

To pursue this mission, the Hanifl Centre offers a catalogue of courses ranging from just a few days in length to an entire semester abroad. Some of these courses are on topics like Wilderness First Aid. The Hanifl Centre defines wilderness as “ being an hour away from definitive medical care, which makes it relevant to most rural and urban settings in India.” The Outdoor Leadership Course is another example, which covers two main topics: leadership and outdoor skills. Some of the focuses here are conflict management and risk management, as well as functional map reading, ropes skills, and Leave No Trace ethics.

So what does a visit to the Hanifl Centre look like for a Winterline student? Hanifl Centre’s campus has both a dormitory and classrooms stocked with resources for learning, scientific equipment, and outdoors gear. In order to be environmentally friendly, the building utilizes a passive solar space-heating system and an active solar water-heating system!hanifl centre, india, winterline, gap year

Over your two week stay on campus, you’ll hone a variety of skills, starting off with a multi-day course in disaster medicine. Once you’re confident in these skills, you and your peers will take off on a week-long trek in the Himalayan Mountains! Finally, to wind down from your adventure, you’ll finish off with another multi-day course in which you practice yoga and meditation.

Interested in having this experience for yourself? Join us next year to visit Hanifl Centre and so many more partners on our 2020 gap year!

The Dawn of India

In March of 2019, our Winterline squads spent a month traveling through Western India. During this time, each of us had the chance to choose our own adventure by embarking on an Independent Student Project. Destinations included an Ashram, an Ayurvedic healing center, a farm, and a dance studio.

Be it thoughts, mental images, or sensations, each of us has unique memories of our time living in India. In my case, the sound of the ancient Sanskrit chants played during meditation still ricochet in my head.

In order to showcase our varied perspectives and experiences, I asked my fellow squad members to engage in a bit of self-reflection.

What is your favorite memory from India?

“It was the last day of the Art of Living ISP, where we took a course on how to make your life happier and more fulfilling. We were in an Ashram which is a sort of remote sanctuary where people can go out to connect with nature and meditate. Great vibes had been flowing the whole week and it all culminated after the last meditation session. We were instructed to close our eyes and “let the music flow through you.” Then this funky Indian music comes on. I felt self-conscious at first but we all got into a groove soon enough. It felt incredible to be in the moment and just dance my own dance.” – Sam

“My favorite memory from India was the wild banter that would occur during my time at the Art of Living ashram, particularly at lunch time. We had a cook named Ganesh that would feed us way too much and would continue to put food on our plate no matter how much we pleaded. He didn’t speak very much English but he somehow managed to tease and mess with us purely with gestures and his emotions.” – Caedon

“My favorite memory from India is Red Stone. Red Stone was the location for my self-care project. The food we ate was amazing and the owners of the farm and meditation center were so open and friendly. In the mornings, we practiced yoga and in the afternoons we would learn about sustainable living and meditation.” Tyler

“My favorite memory was the hilarious meals we had during my ISP week at an ashram with 5 other members of my squad. One of the kitchen staff called Ganesh loved to serve us food and would pile on a new portion every time we finished eating despite our protests, to the extent that some of us got 5 servings because he wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was the greatest show of hospitality and friendship that we could have received because it overcame the language barrier between us, and it gave us a sense of belonging within that community.” – Yeukai

The Ashram Crew | Photo by: Suryatej

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

“We spent five days learning about a very specific type of meditation, called pranayama. We would spend multiple portions of the day practicing breathing exercises, as well as beginning to train our mind and enter a calm state of relaxation. I was able to get into this so called meditative state, and it was quite incredible. With time I hope to be in full control of my focus and state of mind.” – Caedon

“I am most proud of my dedication to yoga and meditation during my stay at Red Stone.” – Tyler

“I’m proud of how my group and I woke up early every morning and continued to practice the breathing techniques and meditation skills we learned at the Ashram for over a week after leaving the ashram. It was hard to keep up with it afterwards because of the busy Winterline schedule, but we all want to take what we’ve learned back with us when we go home.” – Yeukai

“I’m proud of myself for experimenting with new cuisines. I tried a different Indian dish almost every day I was there and I don’t think I ever had an absolutely terrible meal.” – Sam

Moo! | Photo by: Suryatej

What was most challenging for you?

“We had to wake up at the crack of dawn every morning and practice the breathing exercises. There was a particular way you had to kneel (vajrasana) that made the three stages of pranayama extremely painful. Luckily I found that putting a pillow underneath my shins quickly resolved my dilemma.” – Caedon

“The biggest challenge for me was not speaking the language. Though many people do speak English in the cities, when we got to more rural destinations few people could communicate in English.” – Tyler

“Having to travel in small groups constantly because of the safety risk to females in India was challenging, because it took away from my independence and ability to be spontaneous.” – Yeukai

“Adjusting to and accepting a totally different way of life in the ashram was more challenging than I expected. Especially when we met an ayurvedic doctor. I remember walking into his hut and seeing this stout man sitting there. He read our pulses and told me that my air and fire elements were agitated, and that because of this I would soon lose all of my hair. It was so strange to experience coming from a western culture where medicine is based more on science.” – Sam

Boat trip with our Art of Living course instructor | Photo by: Suryatej

If you were to sum up your experiences in India with a single word or phrase, what would it be?

“Enriching” – Caedon

“Peace” – Tyler

“Inspiring and introspective”Yeukai

“Exotic” – Sam