#NaniboujouLadies2019 – Re-entry Into the Real World ….

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We were up.  Packed.  Ready-to-go … BUT NOT REALLY.

Photo by me


A lodge upon Superior’s shore

Was but a dream and nothing more

But here upon this gentle hill

The dream comes true a dream that still

Seems more like fantasy than real

Through all the radiant hours I feel

The golden air, the sapphire sea

Bring home eternal truth to me.

For Here the turmoil of the street

And all the stress of hurrying feet

On foolish errands never done

Are known no more from sun to sun 

So-what the world, with its fever heat

When here I find in this lone retreat

My soul once more and all to me

Than life has been, or can ever be.

This poem was found in the Great Falls, Montana library by a Naniboujou guest.      Author Unknown

Each of us had our personal way of saying ‘Goodby’ to Naniboujou.  Mine was walking on the beach.  Standing still.  Letting the waves come to me.  I knew way back when we made our reservation in the winter, June 9th was the anniversary of my little sister, Anna‘s drowning.  50 years ago.  11am.

As I walked Lake Superior’s shore one more time, this stone was sparkling white and called to me.

20190613_081746_HDRI held it to my heart.

And in the sun and the waves, I said my ‘Thank-you’s’. 

To Life, To Fambly, To Friends, To Experiences, To Lessons Learned and Wisdom Gained … To God.

It was time to go.

I headed back to pack the car.  Wow, are we good at packing!  Leslie and I rode together, with AnnMarie floating between Becky’s car and Pam.  I had told my Besties, I wasn’t leaving until a reservation was made for next year … and we all agreed, we needed to look forward to replenishing both body and spirit in this place called Naniboujou.

Reservations are made!!  We WILL BE the #NaniboujouLadies2020.  Yay!!

On our long drive home, we stopped at the Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger, MN.  Our last time sharing a meal together … for a while.

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Me, Leslie, Pam, AnnMarie and Becky.

The sign ‘just happened’ to be there!!

We made it back to Brainerd, dropping AnnMarie off and sharing one more group hug.  Everyone made it home.  Safe and sound.

It was hard.

Re-adjusting.  Sometimes one is ready to go home.  Sometimes … not.  I wasn’t.  Which made me realize, I need more play-time in life!

Wise words from Evans Bowen helped – and good for all of us who return from a travel adventure, trip, pilgrimage – somewhere – away from the 4 walls of home.

“Be gentle with yourself, try to build a little buffer to your return.  You will have laundry and mail and the life you are used to, but you have changed.  You may feel very alone on your return.  That’s okay.  You’re not finished yet.”

The call of the pilgrimage (travel adventure) is actually a call to the home of our authentic self.  

Home is the true destination.  To return home transformed … with a new consciousness.  You have returned your new best self back to the world …”

Yes, we have changed!  Our new best selves are delving into the days and weeks ahead.  This shared experience was priceless.  I have a grateful heart.

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I often say to my clients … and reminded myself:  We can travel the world seeking and find … the longest distance is … between our head and our heart.

I have a grateful heart, indeed.

Thank you so much for following me/us on this adventure!

Do you have a favorite place to get away from it all?  I DO need more play-time!!

Until next time …

Blessings and Love,





A Reminder …

20180803_080715_0001Iona’s Beach on the Shore of Lake Superior

This summer, one of the places I was mesmerized with, was Iona’s Beach, on the Shores of Lake Superior.  This pink stone beach is known for the “tinking” sound you hear as the waves ebb and flow against the stones on the beach.  I’m familiar with sandy beaches, so walking here was very purposeful … with my sandals on!

I love the energy of Lake Superior.  The stones on this beach were soft rounded edges, smoothed by the consistent washing of the waves over thousands of years.  While strolling, I discovered a beautiful teal/gray stone in the midst of the pink.  It took my breath away.


It was a gentle way for Mother Earth and Spirit/God to whisper,

“There is no one like you.”

We are not alone.

We are surrounded by many.

But in this whole wide world, there is only one YOU.

How wonderful is that?!

In the busy minutes of life … I remember that beautiful stone … I pause … and embrace the ebb and flow … allowing it to soften my edges … and breathe!

Blessings and Love,



I Found It! A Treasure Trove of Wisdom

This book is for anyone who is called by Spirit – that whispered voice within – nudging us to go on a sacred journey. A Pilgrimage is both an external journey to a place longed for and an internal journey to the center of our most authentic self.  So … it can be right out your own back door, or … to a holy shrine …  a Camino journey … a bus in Peru … a horse up a mountain … a car dodging crater holes and on-coming traffic in the Himalayan Mountains … you get the idea!

I don’t know Evans Bowen, yet.  I hope someday, I will.  She has traveled all over the world with her eyes, heart and spirit open to all that is sacred … and BEing her authentic self.

I am loving her insight:

“Each of us is called to different places, to different journeys, as we seek our most meaningful and authentic lives. – Pilgrimage is about devotion and initiation and transformation.  It is a journey from one way of seeing to another.  The specifics are be between you and the Divine.”

PILGRIMAGE A Modern Seeker’s Guide, starts with the basics, from explaining the History of Pilgrimage, to the Stages of Pilgrimages.  I appreciated her practical information for first time travelers:

Preparation – Have the right equipment, be physically ready, read up, get your house in order and paper work set, travel arrangements organized – so when the thinking part is done, you are ready to embrace the experience.

You head out the door – your journey is real.  It has begun.  You are officially a Pilgrim!

And then you arrive …

“When that moment comes for you – take a deep breath of thanksgiving.  In can be overwhelming, and it might be different than you imagined.  There can be tears or just quiet joy and wonder.  Sometimes when I get to my destination, all thinking just stops.  My conscious mind is on overload.  It can be a challenge to stay present, the energy can be so overwhelming.  Accept that your reaction is right for you.  Use all your senses to feel, hear, touch, smell and see the magic.”  – Evans Bowen 

After untold magic, you return “Home”, transformed … and begin to integrate the ‘transformed you’, into your life.  It can take you off-guard.  I wish I would have had her advice before leaving on my trip to Nepal.  “Re-entry” for me, was not easy, it took me much longer than I expected to find my balance following my arrival home.

Part 2 – 40 Day Pilgrimages – Here’s where the treasure trove of wisdom really connects!  Evans is incredible with daily spiritual and practical insight.  I found myself not wanting to finish the book, because then it would be over!  Thankfully, mindfully, I am going to enjoy and embrace the daily sacred time this book offers me over the next 40 days.

To summarize PILGRIMAGE A Modern Seeker’s Guide, ( not my words, but perfect!): Combining practical steps for the physical journey and 40 days of inspiration for the spirit, this guide book gives this time-honored journey to the Divine to inform the whole person in our increasingly fragmented world.

Oh, how I hope you will get this 100 page book of wisdom!  You can pre-order:  Click here!  It’s coming out in May.  It’s been an honor to get an advanced copy so I could write this review.  Thank you, Becky Flansburg … you are right, my Spirit resonated with every page.

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Just wanted to say …

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She is Love.

She is Compassion.

She is Hope.

We’re in this world together.

Let’s follow her example.

Seldom do I write thoughts that are lending to political conversations.  This morning,  I put this together … taking a breath and sharing.  We come/came from different places in the world.  With kindness and love, we build bridges.  We have different strengths and weaknesses, views, and circumstances in life.  In listening, we can gain understanding.

Let’s believe love is the flame within us that is spreading … no matter where in the world we live.  No matter how tired or poor or rich or brave we are.


I believe in what Lady Liberty stands for – friendship between nations and freedom from oppression.



Re-entry to Life after Nepal … #10


A brief update!

After cancelled flights and an ambulance ride from the airplane to a Seattle hospital for Amy (she’s hopefully home tomorrow feeling better than ever), I’m home.  It’s taking me more time to adjust than I expected.  Partly due to lack of sleep, partly antibiotics for intestinal bugs, and my body catching up with time, along with concern for Amy.  That’s not including the processing and ‘downloading’ my brain is doing following this amazing experience.

Yesterday, to get grounded, I layered myself up with tee-shirt/long sleeved flannel shirt along with a red hoodie – and headed to a lake in my neighborhood.  My Spirit was calling for nature.  I remember the Chitwan jungle and how restored I was in being surrounded by trees, plants and animals.  Mother Nature is healing.  Yesterday – Brrr! (Chilly-ness and beauty surrounded me).  I love autumn, and was thinking I would miss all the colors – I didn’t!

Gotta love Minnesota and the ever-changing seasons!

I’m still processing – and giving myself time to BE in this space of brain-fog, healing and sleep recovery.  There will be a post or two more about my thoughts on Nepal.  This is mostly letting you know Amy’s soon to be home, I’m home … and sharing this adventure with you, has been a gift.  You have no idea how your support, encouragement and love has touched my life.  Because of my sister, Kyung, and her providing me this journey, all of us have been connected with the sharing of this story.

My cup runneth over with gratitude and so much Love …



Giving Back to Nepal #9

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~Portal Bikes ~

We have a few hours left in Kathmandu … before we head home to Minnesota, USA.  I really want to share about Portal Bikes before leaving.

As I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts, it’s hard for me … heart-wrenching …  to say “No”, to people who ask me for money, or send their children to me, pleading for money.  Portal Bikes, is my gateway to donating.  I know this awesome non-profit has the integrity and heart, to touch lives, in a big way throughout Nepal.

William’s absolute enthusiasm led us to visiting the Nepal Store where Amy and I were able to visit with Kevin Persson, the Director of Logistics, and have a tour.  We were able to see how the long and mid tail bikes are put together and hear stories about the impact these bikes are making for Nepali’s – from employment, to growing individual businesses.  They also worked to rebuild villages after the earthquake in 2015.


Kevin Persson


Portal Bike Employees – Photo by Amy McLain

Throughout our 3 week stay in Nepal, we saw bicycles used to haul all kinds of things – ladders, garbage, vegetables, and fruits, appliances, groceries, children/families, fish, furniture – and they were often older bikes.  Portal Bikes are making life easier and safer, and for many Nepali’s, their work delivering product is done with speed – thus having the ability to do more and increase their income. Being able to spend time with Kevin, solidified my desire to make a difference for someone in Nepal.

There are different ways to donate through Portal Bikes:

  • One time donation
  • Donate $300 for a Portal Cargo Bike
  • Donate Monthly

Portal is a registered 501c3 organization.  Donations are tax deductible, and they directly impact the lives of people trying to escape poverty.  We work hard to keep our expenses low and our impact high.    


I’m going for the $300 for the Portal Cargo Bike.  Here’s where my money – your money, too – will go regarding the Bike:

We will use your generous donation to manufacture and deliver a bicycle to a person in need. Since we focus on serving the poor, oftentimes we “finance” the bikes, allowing the customer pays an amount upfront and then make weekly payments. Once the bicycle you donated is paid for, we use those same funds to manufacture and deliver another bicycle. The cycle repeats itself indefinitely, meaning that your money will live for a long time, making a difference again and again.

How awesome is that?!

Making a tiny difference in a great big world … one drop that ripples …

Perhaps you’ll join me?

Make sure you mention “William sent me!”  Without his passionate heart, we never would have known about Portal Bikes.

And so, we’re off for home.  Leaving a country that has made a lasting imprint in my heart.

Sending love to all …




Our Friday … #8

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Narayanhiti Palace Museum

Musings about Friday on Saturday Morning.  Our days in Nepal are winding down.  Yesterday, Amy and I had breakfast at Top of the World Coffee, and I commented on how we have established a rhythm to our days.  It’s so enjoyable.  As I sit in the early morning, putting this blog together, William is already up and brought me a cup of coffee – how spoiled am I?!  Kyung and Amy are still nestled in, gathering energy for a new day.  Kyung is leaving today for a weekend work gig, down by Chitwan, so we have a bit of time this morning to share some sightseeing, creating a few more precious memories.  Last night was our last evening together in Nepal.  Kyung, William, Amy and I celebrated by having supper at Vesper Cafe & Restaurant.  My wine friends in Minnesota would love this place.  Italian food and wine – beautiful presentation and scrumptious.  We were able to go into the wine show room …


Earlier in the day, we decided to take a cab – at a ‘chok’ (intersection), across from our coffee shop, and head for Narayanhity Royal Palace, home to Nepal’s kings for over a century.  It was converted into a public museum, in 2008, signifying the country’s transition from a monarchy to a republic.

The holiday is over!  Oh my goodness, the traffic was in full swing!  Our masks were back on – Kathmandu is one of the highest ranking cities (5th) with air pollution.  Arriving at the palace, the line for admission to the palace was long, but we got through quickly.  We were required to leave everything but our billfolds and water in a locked, locker.  Everyone had to go through a body search and walk through a scan before actually entering the grounds.  No photos allowed.  Armed guards were at various posts throughout the property.

It’s a beautiful palace, and the history and various rooms were displayed with descriptions also in English.  Beyond the palace is the house where the Nepalese Royal Massacre occurred on June 1, 2001 – the story goes – after a dinner party held at the palace, Prince Dipendra shot his parents, brother, sister and several other members of his family before turning the gun on himself. In total 10 people died and five were wounded – he was unhappy with his father not allowing him to marry the woman he loved, because she wasn’t in the ‘social class’ he was.  Horribly sad.  It was good to be out on the grounds after that … wandering (under watchful eyes) various paths, viewing ponds and sculptures.

We decided on a late lunch before heading back.  On a top floor outdoor restaurant, I was able to take a picture of the palace – 1st photo of blog.  I’m also including the roof-top of another business.  Solar power is used everywhere here.  Much more-so than the USA.  Even the street lights (only in parts of the city), use solar.  So impressed.  Readily available resource, hm?  Put to very good use ….

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Solar Power

We caught a cab back ‘home’ – (I’m getting pretty good at handling pricing and crossing streets with crazy traffic ; ))  It was a great adventure.  Also time to take a break – we’re getting better at pacing ourselves, too, realizing going at top speed, leaves one too exhausted to do more.  We went for a trek later in the afternoon, stretching ourselves with neighborhood boundaries.  I have always felt safe here.  It’s a nice place to BE.

Sending Love and Light …



Our 5 Night/6 Day Tour #7

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Elisa Korenne Hundred Miles to Nowhere landed here!

Our tour consists of 3 stops in Nepal: Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini.  There were 2 hard parts of our drive.  1st one – Due to the holiday, was getting out of Kathmandu to Pokhara. The roads were filled with cars, buses, trucks, and scooters, packed to the brim, including animals.  We visited with a man at supper the night before who was leaving to be with his family.  He was going on an 18 hour bus ride, most likely standing most the way.  Kyung and William’s house keeper’s trip, would be 2 days driving and 1 day walking to be with her husband’s family.  The roads are not all paved smooth like America – it’s a JOURNEY of love – of being together with family.  We made it to Pokhara – kuddo’s to our driver, Kumar.  I’m going to be giving him lots of kuddo’s with this blog!  Amy went paragliding, it was a thrill for her – and a thrill for me to keep my feet on. the. ground.  We visited the Seti River gorge, temples and a cave.  We also enjoyed an evening boat ride on Phewa Tal (Fewa Lake), and stopped at an island with a temple.  We could hear the insects humming … Amy heard them from the sky when she was paragliding. The area we stayed was very low-key compared to Kathmandu and less dusty.  The shops were along the lake and it reminded me of a huge Nisswa, Minnesota!

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Our third day, Thursday, we headed out early morning for Chitwan National Park.  The 2nd hard part … It was a 7 hour drive – 28 miles of it was not paved, with many holes to dodge, dusty, and hot.  It reminded me of my grandson showing me an intense video game of dodging all kinds of objects and surviving!  The road is 2 lane with huge buses beeping, cars and motorcycles, flashing lights and horns – coming towards you, or passing you before the next on-coming vehicle misses you.  Women exquisitely dressed, with scarves flying in the wind or covering their faces to keep out the dust, children nestled tightly between parents on scooters/motorcycles, with packages tied to the sides.  The drive was an adventure of its own – with the mountains keeping you company – and Kumar expertly maneuvering every mile.  Chitwan is worth every minute of the drive – I promise!

We had a guided walk in a typical Tharu village, a jungle walk, seeing different species of birds, a canoe ride on the Budhi Rapti River and saw crocodiles, who were not interested in us, but watchful.  An evening walk delighted us with a rhino … and the next day an elephant back safari.  Our mahout was determined to discover animals for us and his elephant walked with ease through the jungle.  Lastly, a fun bonus … we enjoyed being with an elephant – and I think he enjoyed having fun with us – cooling us down with many, many sprays, before letting us down in the river.  What fun we had!  Santa was our guide and a brilliant man with a great sense of humor.  He spoke 6 different languages.




I think we’re all having a great time – look at that smile on the elephant ; )                                He loved being in the river.

Our last leg of the journey was Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.  We made it in 4 hours and the terrain changed greatly.  We were in the southern plains.  The temperature felt even hotter than in Chitwan. “Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world’s great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from as early as the 3rd century BC.”

We first toured the international monastic zones and saw temples from different countries – China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand.  Then we went to the Maya Devi Temple.  Pictures weren’t allowed.  I wish we could have spent more time here.  It was spiritually moving to me, and I’m so grateful to have experienced spending time in this holy city.

As we were leaving for the day … I looked up to the sky …

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A beautiful closing to our journey. 

We decided rather than drive the 8 hours back to Kathmandu, we’d fly – a 30 minute flight.  We were exhausted.  The bonus was being able to see the snow covered mountains – spectacular!  Kumar said “Ok” to a hug, and sent us off. What a great guy!  We had a driver waiting for us at the Kathmandu Airport – and delivered us to Kyung and William’s.  All was done with so much ease.  Shikhar, with Himalaya Expeditions, Inc, did an excellent job planning this trip for us.  He followed up on us periodically – details were taken care of and I highly recommend him for travel planning!

Words are difficult to express emotions, as they are felt with the heart.  This has been an emotional journey on so many levels.  I am grateful for the gift of life and the ability to be able to live in a time where travel can be done with such ease.  Most people on this planet are filled with kindness – it’s a wonder-filled world.

Our days continue in Kathmandu.

For now … I wish you love and peace.


Nepal Adventure Continues – #6



Debbie and Amy

For friends, not on Facebook … you’re getting updates!   I’m back with a computer.  Facebook Friends … you’ll be getting some repeats! 

Saturday 9/23 – We went to Le Sherpa’s Farmers Market and saw a wonderful variety of food, art and people visiting and enjoying a picnic on the grounds. What a great morning.  We also stopped at a shop, where I found some beautiful tunics and was given a discount because of the upcoming holiday.  From there, Amy and I went to Kathmandu Durbar Square.  Stunning temples … extraordinary architecture and history.  Lots of shops and lots of people, particularly crowded due to the upcoming holiday.  What is this holiday?  It’s from September 20 to October 5 and called Dashain. “Dashain is the most important festival to Nepalis. It is a celebration of good prevailing over evil. Most families offer male goats, ducks, chickens, eggs and coconuts to the goddess Durga. People return to their home villages and spend the fifteen-day festival with their families. Large swings are set up for children, and from the tenth day, family members receive Tika (rice, red vermillion and yoghurt) on their foreheads from their elders.”
One more stop: Wisdom Book & Aroma Shop in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur .  It was a great finish for our day.  We visited with Vipin Kumar, the owner, and his delightful wife for a few hours.  Great book selection for young and old, trekkers and tourists, plus gifts and scents that will pleasantly remain a memory for a long time.


Vipin – Said “Yes!” to photo – by Amy McLain

Sunday – We stayed low-key and rested – sort of.  We’re meeting with Himalaya Expeditions, Inc – in the morning for details regarding our 6 day/5 nights, “Golden Triangle” tour, beginning on Tuesday.

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Leaving Kathmandu Valley to explore the “Golden Triangle”

Will write more later!  Thanks for your good wishes and comments, they are appreciated! xxxxx

Namaste ~ Debbie


Our Friday … #5

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At The Great Boudha Stupa

Friday?!  I think it’s Friday!! Amy and I ventured out on our own, finding a taxi … is not a problem, as they are everywhere and seek YOU out.  We have yet to pay the same price for a ride, no matter where we go!  Our morning was spent at Swayambhunath Stupa … or The Monkey Temple, it is one of the holiest Buddhist Chaityas in Nepal and the oldest of its kind.  Legend has it that Swayambhu was born out of a lotus flower that bloomed in the middle of a lake that once spread across the Kathmandu Valley.  This sacred pilgrimage site is also home to hundreds of monkeys considered holy to Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus. According to legend, Manjushree, the bodhisattva of wisdom, was in the process of raising the temple hill when the lice in his hair transformed into these monkeys.

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Swayambhunath means self-arisen and is derived from that legend.The stupa is on the top of the hill, to reach it, you climb very steep stairs – 365 of them – and it is worth every. single. step.


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Buddhists and Hindus visit the Monkey Temple through out the day, it is said it’s perhaps the best place to observe religious harmony in Nepal.  It’s so amazing to be in a space where honoring each other, no matter who you are, matters.  There are several ornate temples and shrines surrounding the Monkey Temple and we spent time BEing there, trying to absorb the grandeur of it all.

There were also many, many vendors, and poor people, all hoping you will stop and buy their goods, or give out money.  That was/is hard.  Tiny children are sent out to beg … saying no, is heart wrenching.

After resting at the bottom of Monkey Temple, we decided our next stop to be: The Great Boudha Stupa.  There are several people who seek you out and offer their services as a guide.  A young man, who said to call him Susan (pronounced differently than our English version), was persistent and polite, so we agreed to have him join us in our next adventure. (Note: it’s good to get a price for services before you head out … we didn’t!)  Susan is Nepali, and had a friend with an air conditioned car, so off we went in crazy traffic (holiday, so people heading out of town, just like we do)!  I have to consciously let go of angst while being in the midst of it – and we also wear our masks to filter the air pollution.

The contrast between the outside world and entering this stupa was amazing.

The Great Boudha Stupa’s massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.  You walk clockwise around it.  Budda’s eyes are on you always.  Buddist people believe that the relics of Kashyapa Buddha, were enshrined in the dome.  It is religious, cultural and archeologically very important and a major destination for pilgrims all over the world … and we were one of them!

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There are 4 Monasteries – The Guru Lhakhang Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries around the Boudha area.  The public is not allowed inside, but we were able to take pictures.

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A Holy Place ….

Included around the Boudha Stupa: The Ajima Temple – The Temple of Goddess Mamo Pukasi who is known as the protector of the stupa area.  She is also known as wish fulfilling goddess. The Ghyoilisang Peace Park and Historical Tinchuli – name originated from the 3 big rocks which were used in the fireplace for cooking for workers during the construction of the Boudha Stupa.

All of this was emotional … I’m trying to soak it all in.  BEing present.  BEing filled in ways, Spiritually, that cannot be explained with words …

It was time to take a break at Cafe Du Temple.  I chose a traditional Napolise food – it was delicious!

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One more stop for the day … Pashupatinath Temple …. in order to save words, it’s easier to share by clicking on the link.  It is the largest temple complex in Nepal, it stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River which is considered holy by Hindus. Cremation of Hindus take place on raised platforms along the river. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gates of the main temple.

The human body and the universe consist of five elements in Hindu texts – air, water, fire, earth and space.  The last rite of passage returns the body to the five elements and its origins.  The circle of life.

All those who attend the cremation, and are exposed to the dead body or cremation smoke take a shower as soon as possible after the cremation, as the cremation ritual is considered unclean and polluting.  The cold collected ash from the cremation is later consecrated to the river

In some regions, the male relatives of the deceased shave their head and invite all friends and relatives, on the tenth or twelfth day, to eat a simple meal together in remembrance of the deceased. This day, in some communities, also marks a day when the poor and needy are offered food in memory of the dead.

The reverence and logical passage of life is powerful to witness.

…. It was time to go home … our guide and taxi driver delivered us to Top of the Hill Coffee – we were given the price for the 5 hours spent – and without bartering skills, we accepted it!

The experience …. priceless.

We chatted with Kyung and William – learned more about the technique of pricing for services and also discussed an over-priced quote we had gotten for a 3 night/ 4 day tour.  We’re learning!

… And then, I had a melt-down!  Emotional over-load.  The energy experienced over the past days caught up with me.  Crying is a great release … and and understanding travel partner ; ) along with Kyung and William … and daughter, Jessica.  Whew!  A wonderful haircut and a bite to eat, helped alot, too.

I went to sleep with a grateful heart ….