“DISCOVERING A SENSE OF PLACE” WITH ERIC WEINER

NOVEMBER 10TH - 20TH, 2019

“One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”

This sentiment, from the writer Henry Miller, lies at the heart of the Himalayan Writers Workshop. What is it about certain places that spark personal transformation, self-discovery? How can we best convey the depth of the travel experience, this “new way of looking at things,” in our writing?

Best-selling travel writer Eric Weiner will guide participants through these questions, and more, during the ten-day workshop. We’ll seek inspiration by reading, and evaluating, some of the classics of travel writing. We’ll also, of course, do plenty of writing of our own. We’ll discuss roadblocks to good travel writing and how best to overcome them. The workshop provides a collegial, nurturing environment, with the glorious Kathmandu Valley as our inspiring backdrop.

Please note that for this workshop we are pleased to offer more luxurious accommodations throughout our 10-day journey.

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Day 1: When you arrive in Kathmandu our drivers will be there to pick you up from the airport.  You’ll be transferred to the Hotel Vajra, where you can unwind from your journey, rest, enjoy the garden and soak up the atmosphere.  Once everyone has arrived, each person will have private one-on-one meeting with Eric. Afterwards, there will be a brief orientation meeting & group dinner on the fabulous rooftop, before we turn in for the night..

 

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Day 2: After morning meditation & an early breakfast at the Hotel Vajra, we’ll gather in the library for a brief opening meeting and then head out on our first adventure.  We’ll walk up to the nearby Swaymbunath stupa (also known as “The Monkey Temple”) for a spectacular view out across the entire Kathmandu Valley. We’ll also learn a bit about the local architecture and about Nepal’s rich Buddhist & Hindu religious traditions.  After lunch, we'll spend the afternoon writing, or relaxing before heading out into the lively Thamel neighborhood for some shopping & some excellent authentic Newar cuisine.

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Day 3:  After morning meditation & an early breakfast at the Hotel Vajra, we’ll meet in the library for a morning of discussion with Eric before journeying to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Patan, with our expert local guide Anil Chetrakar.  For centuries, Patan has been a town of artisans & craftsmen and today we’ll have the chance to meet some of the people who continue to give this city its unique beauty.  After a patio lunch at the peaceful Patan Museum Restaurant we’ll we’ll return to our hotel where you’ll have some time on your own to reflect & write before joining the rest of the group for a typical Tibetan meal at the beautiful rooftop restaurant of the Vajra.

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 Day 4: After breakfast at the Hotel Vajra we’ll again gather in the library for a morning of individual writing & discussion before journeying across town to Boudhanath, the Tibetan Buddhist heart of Kathmandu.  For centuries, this vibrant place of spiritual power has been the destination of pilgrims from around the world. For the next three days this will be our home as we explore and gather seeds of inspiration from the sounds, sights, tastes & smells swirling around the Great Stupa at Boudhanath. This evening we will have the opportunity to meet with & receive a teaching from a world-renowned Buddhist teacher at Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling, one of the oldest monasteries in Boudhanath. 

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Day 5: Today our morning meditation will be to join the 6am crowd that circumambulates the Great Stupa at Boudhanath, as one of the most vibrant spiritual communities in the world begins to awaken. We’ll explore and gather seeds of inspiration from the sounds, sights, tastes & smells swirling around stupa, before returning to to our hotel garden for the morning meeting. The rest of the day will be spent reflecting, writing & capturing images in this rich & colorful neighborhood.  This evening we will visit Pashupatinath, one of the most sacred Hindu sites in the Indian subcontinent & home to wandering holy men, cave yogis, and Shiva devotees, along the cremation ghats on the banks of the Bagmati River   In the evening you are free to explore the colorful side streets of Boudhanath on your own.

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Day 6: Today, for our morning meditation, we will sit in with the monks as they do their morning chanting at Jamchen Lhakang, the oldest Tibetan monastery on the kora. Once again we’ll immerse ourselves in the teachings, visual expressions and rituals that bring this vibrant neighborhood to life.  In the afternoon we’re free to spend our time reflecting, writing, or just wandering the streets of Boudhanath. This evening, we’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have tea with a “hidden” community of street beggars & economically-challenged Indians who have created a project to provide jobs for women & to send at-risk girls to school. This is always one of the favorite stops on our journey!

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Day 7: Ascending to 1,550 meters feet above the Kathmadnu Valley, today we journey to our new home for the next 3 days: the Namo Buddha Resort.  This beautiful hotel offers both beautifully landscaped gardens and, when the weather is clear, stunning views of the snow-peaked Himalayan mountains.  It is a short 30-minute walk to one of the most sacred "power places" for spiritual practice and retreat in the Kathmandu Valley. We'll arrive at the resort in the late afternoon, settle into our cottages, and soak up the scenery. Here in the deep solitude of a mountain retreat we will have uninterrupted space and time to refine our individual writing, and to get inspiration & ideas from others.

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 Day 8: After a hearty breakfast in view of the snow-peaks, we will take a leisurely 45-minute hike to Thrangu Monastery, a large Tibetan Buddhist monastery perched high on a ridge overlooking the valley. This monastery is situated on one of the most important Buddhist sites in Nepal.  Later, when we return to the Namo Buddha Resort, we’ll have all afternoon to reflect on the experiences of the week, to write, or have one-on-one meetings with Eric about crafting our own individual writing.  After a fabulous dinner from the resort’s own organic garden, we’ll linger around the fire-pit with other travelers, before heading off to bed.

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Day 9: We will spend our last full day in the mountains, reflecting on the time we’ve spent together and creating space to draw out key insights & inspiration for the journey home.  It will be a leisurely day, spent at your own pace, with an optional 2-hour guided hike to a local Tamang village for a glimpse of real Nepal village life. After reconvening for sunset cocktails, under Eric’s guidance, we’ll have a casual evening of sharing our own work, or the work of others, before enjoying another fabulous dinner prepared by the Namo Buddha Resort staff. 

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Day 10: For the final leg of our journey, we'll return to Kathmandu mid-afternoon and spend our last day at one of the city's finest addresses: the luxurious Dwarika's Hotel. Lonely Planet calls it "a cross between a museum and a boutique hotel, with a lush, pampering ambience."  In the evening we’ll head over to Babar Mahal Revisited for a private dinner, prepared by one of Kathmandu’s premier chefs, Dolma Chudon. After dinner, The featured writers from the Himalayan Writers Workshop's will read from their own work and, if you feel inspired, you are welcome to add your voice to a final celebration of travel & creativity!

 

 Day 11: After luxurious breakfast in the beautiful courtyard of Dwarika’s Hotel we’ll have one last group meeting and then it's time to say goodbye and head back home.  Our staff will be ready to help with airport transportation & anything you need for your onward journey…

Please note that for this workshop we are pleased to offer more luxurious accommodations throughout the 10-day journey.

All rooms are shared, but private rooms are available for an extra fee depending upon availability.

You'll spend a total of 3 nights at the Hotel Vajra, an authentic, Newari-style hotel with some Tibetan touches. You'll have everything you need for a very comfortable stay. Rooms have parquet floors and the attached bathrooms all have shower and running hot water. There is a old-style Library with several writing tables at the Vajra, which will be used for our workshops.  Rooms are also equipped with chairs and writing desk and there are quiet corners to work in the gardens. Some rooms have a coffee table and private balcony.  Internet services are located on the ground floor.

 

During your 3 nights in the Boudhanath neighborhood of Kathmandu, you’ll stay at the the Shambaling Boutique Hotel. A 10-minute walk from The Great Boudhanath Stupa, through the narrow brick-paved lanes, Shambaling Hotel (meaning “paradise garden”) opens its door to the comforts of authentic Tibetan culture, fused with five-star Swiss hospitality. Adjacent to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Shambaling Hotel is nestled right in the heart of Kathmandu’s Tibetan community. You’ll rise to the sound of monastery horns, enjoy early morning meditation practice at the Boudha stupa, and be completely inspired by the many sights and experiences that this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers.

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Our next 3 nights will be spent at the beautiful Club Himalaya, tucked into the mountains on the eastern edge of the Kathmandu Valley.  Perched on the foothills of Nagarkot, the hotel has sweeping views of the rice terraces below and a stunning view of Nepal’s famous snow-peaked Himalayan ranges.  Here we’ll have time to relax, and process what we’ve experienced in an inspiring environment… with plenty of time to go deep into our individual work and our personal creative process.

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For the final leg of our journey, we'll return to Kathmandu mid-afternoon and spend our last day at one of the city's finest addresses: the luxurious Dwarika's Hotel. Lonely Planet calls it "a cross between a museum and a boutique hotel, with a lush, pampering ambience."  Here we'll not only have time to relax and indulge a bit before heading back home, but we'll also host a final reading event, open to the public. The featured writers from the Himalayan Writers Workshop's will read from their own work and, if you feel inspired, you are welcome to add your voice to a final celebration of travel & creativity.

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We always seek accommodation that strikes the balance between modern comfort and local flavor.

Program Fee:

$4,490 (USD) regular program fee double occupancy (+$800 for single room depending upon availability)
Final payment deadline: October 10th, 2019.

A non-refundable deposit of $600 is required at the time of registration to hold your space.

Late registration: After October 10th, 2019 we can accommodate late registration only in the event that a space remains available. If a late registration is possible after After October 10th, 2019, full payment is required at the time of registration to hold your space and the entire payment is non-refundable.

Please note that for this workshop we are pleased to offer more luxurious accommodations throughout the 10-day journey. The program fee includes: 10 nights accommodations, 3 vegetarian meals per day on most days, bottled water and tea/coffee at meal times, scheduled excursions to pilgrimage sites, knowledgeable guides and teachers, all entrance fees, land transportation within Nepal, and airport transfers.

Fee does not include: air fare to and from Kathmandu, airport or departure taxes not included in your air ticket, visa fees ($50), additional hotel nights before or after scheduled program dates, unscheduled activities and excursions, soft drinks, alcohol and espresso drinks, phone calls, massage services, shopping, laundry or other personal expenses, additional meals, drinks and snacks, travel insurance, trekking extensions, or single supplements ($800 depending upon availability).

The program begins Saturday afternoon (around 1pm), November 10th, 2019 and ends after breakfast on Tuesday, November 20th, 2019. If you're pressed for time, you may arrive on November 10th and depart on November 20th. You're also welcome to arrive a few days early, or stay for awhile after the workshop has concluded. Please inform us if you require an extra night or two on either end of the trip and we'll make a reservation on your behalf. (A cost for extra hotel nights would apply)