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Transformational Travel: A Permaculture Service-Learning Adventure in the Himalayas

How can Permaculture revolutionize Tourism? Is it possible to travel and still leave a net-positive impact on the planet? How can you have a deeply unique cultural experience, learn, and serve communities at the same time? All of these questions will be explored in these monthly blog posts, as I report my experiences with the PermaculTourism Initiative, a growing global Permaculture Service-Learning Initiative. I’ll share the experiences of myself, my team, and friends met along the way, with the hope of inspiring a new model for travel which goes beyond Sustainable-Tourism, into Regenerative-Tourism, generating more eco-social health through international community service-learning opportunities.

Just before I went to Nepal for the first time in November 2012, I took part in a service retreat at the Bhatti Mines School, in one of the most poverty stricken areas outside of Delhi, India. I’ll never forget the words of the school founder, Santosh Singh, when he said that “the children here absorb more and show more progress in the 10 days that you all come each year, than they do the whole rest of the year”. It really showed me a clear example of how much benefit can result when global communities come together with good intentions. This paved the way for the PermaculTourism Initiative and our work in Nepal, working in the Himalayas with a village-school, a Tibetan-refugee community, a children’s home and two organic farms. The feedback from these people has been very similar to Santosh’s statement at the Bhatti Mines School. When we encounter others who come from other parts of the world, naturally our willingness to learn, and our capacity to learn and impact our surroundings is increased immensely.

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