Nepal 2016

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


You know, I often wonder when I people watch on holiday, just what it is someone is thinking or how their day is? Quite often I come across other tourists who have made themselves very at home in the places I might have set up camp myself. Inadvertently not considering what has brought us to the same place.

I have thought many times, why do people come all the way to a new country if they are only going to sit by the pool in a hotel resort, find a way to loose themselves in alcohol or spend all day shopping at various locations for things they may never wear or use again or throw away when they return home.

This recent trip to Nepal has made me consider this practice, and the trigger has been the one thing I have tried to avoid, animals.

Animals seem to be a universal token or symbol it seems throughout this trip. The global symbol of what animals represent has been both familiar yet a little tedious to me. My worldview I feel to be exceptionally skewed due to my roles in animal related industry over the years. Although I have found myself not only wondering about the interaction that the locals have with other species that reside here, but also about the way in which tourists interact with them. The way they find familiarity in them and find comforts of emotion that resemble home. It seems that exploring these feelings is beneficial as it begins to allow bridges to be built into the communities we are visiting.

  If we choose to embrace the feelings of familiarity, are we actually building connections with the cultures we are visiting? Does it give us an opportunity to find intrigue and ask more questions?  It would be nice to explore the benefits of opening your heart a little further when you find familiarity in a foreign environment. It not only makes you more comfortable but provides an opportunity for the local to connect with your familiar emotions and together more bridges can be built.

What's your perspective?
Kristy Waddell, Pokhara, Nepal.
(Image, Henry Kramer)

Monday, 18 January 2016

Feelings of peace in Nepal

Let the practices of those in Nepal help you find a space of peace and enlightenment. So many opportunities to see, hear and feel your own soul.

Pashupatinath, said to be the beginning of pilgrimage to Buddhism. The beauty of walking through this space was mind blowing. The wailing and noise that was created by those returning the dead to the afterlife was both enchanting and beautiful. The smell of smoke that filled the air, filled your lungs with a sense of life that has left the chests of those that gave their lives back to the water of the sacred river. Getting lost in the sea of people there to connect to Shiva, gave a sense of the depth of culture that makes Nepal. Being lost in the crowd was not possible as the compassion and gratitude that fills the air holds you in it's arms and carries you through the new process of understanding.

Even after the earthquakes that rocked Nepal, the magnificent energy that flows through you as you walk around the stupa of the Boudhanath, and consider the thirteen steps to enlightenment, not only flows through you but connects you to all living beings residing within the walls. Looking down on the stupa from above provides you with a vantage that reminds you of the magnificent mandalas that dot the shop fronts. The Tibetan influence of the dragons a reminder of the historical significance of Tibet in Nepal. The steps of enlightenment no longer adorn the top of the stupa, however this only reflects teachings of Buddhism, nothing in life is permanent.

The next stop through the streets of Nepal, was a visit to Bhaktapur, until the 15th century, the capital of Nepal. It holds many unique and historical places of worship, and museums. Even the Kamari princess resides within her palace walls in Bhaktapur, tucked away until she reaches puberty. So many early century pieces to take in and historical buildings to behold. The city that will capture your heart, not only for it's treasures but for the beautiful people that reside here.

"Born as a Sakya Prince, Buddha analysed the mysteries of life. Through meditation he attained enlightenment and preached the realities of the world to the rest of the world." Suyog Prajupati, Glimpses from Nepal and Tibet.

Do you find a space that you can feel the energy of those around you, uplifting you and allowing you time to be held by love and compassion? We all need these spaces in life, how do you achieve these moments of peace in a hectic western life?

What's your perspective?

Saturday, 9 January 2016

The heritage rich and the culture huge, Kathmandu.

Walking through the streets of Kathmandu opens your eyes if you choose to look to the rich heritage of the unique place. Many travel to Kathmandu, Nepal, and have their minds opened to the world of possibilities available.

Moving away from the tourist hub of Kathmandu, Thamel, the rich history of it begins to unfold and Hindu and Buddhist way of life emerges. Not as an individual but as collective belief systems and customs that create an energy that gives Kathmandu a vibration that can be felt and infects your soul with a peace, excitement and wonder.

This is the oldest Buddha in Kathmandu
The 15th century stupa in Thahti Square, the intricate passage ways that lead to the 9th century stone depiction of Shiva, or the statue of Buddha only about 60cm high and remaining in one of the many intersections since the 5th or 6th century. In the same intersection and very at peace sits a Ganesh depiction, ornately adorned with marigolds and dye from numerous offerings. Needless to say there is an eclectic mix of vendors selling spices, pottery, sweets, and clothing among other things in every direction.

The streets are adorned with prayer flags and so many stupas and temples it is hard not to become curious about the way in which the Nepalese practice their unique way of life, merging a belief in themselves and what will be provided for them if they practise a true and just way of life.

The place is truly unique, a value on the way of life of the people here and the meaning of all the sacred and distinctly historical value of the temples, shrines and symbols of devotion give a beautiful opportunity for anyone to find the value in the culture as it is and in the now, an opportunity for reflection about the space we may find sacred at home and how after leaving here if things will be in a new perspective.


Friday, 8 January 2016

"I bow to the divinity in you"


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Culture and Heritage

My culture, my heritage, what does it all mean?

So many actors in my life shape my worldview.  My experience in within my family, my education, my work place, my community.  All of these experiences set parameters in my life and are based on my cultural heritage.

The fast paced Western environment I live in provides me with so much individualised structure, but the collective structure seems to be lost with so much that is on offer in life and keeps me busy and moving.

When exploring new and foreign environments that some consider third world, the deep cultural history and heritage of the environments shine through the difficulties sometimes seen when first impressions are taken.  The depth of the smallest gesture in a new culture has meaning initially I do not understand in the time and space provided to me.  However by exploring my previously acknowledged worldview I have a great opportunity to understand the importance heritage of a culture plays in the lives of those around me.

It really makes me question the heritage of my family and how I came to use the small gestures I do at home and where these gestures have originated from?  Do you ever consider the way in which you great someone at our home or within your community?  Do you sit at the table to eat your dinner or do you sit on the couch?  Do you grow your own vegetables or have you always used a particular brand of product?  Seems like a little of an odd question but so many things in our lives are shaped not only by those around us but by the people that generationally have formed part of our foundations.

Do you feel connected to your country, your community, your home?

What is your perspective?

Kristy Waddell


Monday, 4 January 2016

Self exploration

So needless to say any type of globe trotting certainly contains some forms of self exploration no matter if you consider yourself a traveller or a tourist.  Questions are raised such as how do I connect to my own history, my own culture, my own country?

Traveling to various countries gives us varying examples of the depth of connection we find ourselves experiencing.  Quite obviously much of this comes from the way we project ourselves and our personality traits dictate this.  Prior context of learning and experiences that create who we are are sometimes referred to as schemas.

The role I play in my home environments are set in motion via the social norms I find acceptable, and expectations I have in various contexts. Travelling to other countries I carry these expectations with me. Nishida (1999) p766, discusses that most impressions are initially schema based and can be felt as non-intimate. Finding myself in this situation in a new country makes me explore the depth of the way I project myself. I have discovered an aspect of myself that holds back and observes my surroundings. I feel a need to establish a trust with those around me, which to some may not be a social norm.

At an inter-cultural level, I have to ask myself how my reaction and quiet approach may be observed? How many of my prior experiences are limiting the experiences I might have? But then how many of my schemas are guiding me, and allowing me to see what others may not? Every experience is an opportunity and by letting others guide my experience and taking on board many perspectives so much within me can be expanded.

Do yet others guide your experience when you travel, or do you choose to follow the set agenda as there is so much to see and explore? 

What is your perspective?

Kristy Waddell

Nishida H, 1999, 'A cognitive approach to inter cultural communication based on schema theory',  Elssevier Science, vol.23, no.5, pp. 753-777.


Am I a traveller?

Am I a traveller?

Am I a traveller or should I define myself a tourist? How does one term define me as opposed to another and do I in some way dissociate myself from one culture or another in doing so? 

The question has left me wondering if my intrigue is causing a lasting impression that socially, economically or culturally defines a people to the rest of those around me. Many I know define themselves as travellers, and they do so with a voice that appeals to them. Week, L (2012), defines travellers and tourists and recounts the experiences of some. In her depiction, Merilyn enjoysbeing amongst   people, Nuno moves with the energy of experience, Caryn wants to explore the more unchartered, Andy does not like material or fixed things and Alyssa takes all her dealings with individuals on face value and feels she needs to be open to the unique aspects of all. These are snapshots of the lives of a few, their statements are based on the actors in their environments but this is driven by the value they place in the experiences they want.

I wonder then, am I a traveller, or should I be defined as a tourist? A tourist has specific motivation, a tourist has a form of agenda. It seems an odd question but something I feel important to consider as my choices have impact on the global community, no matter how morally more correct I think I may be? Does my travel impact the communities I visit in a positive way, culturally, economically or socially?

What is your perspective? 

Kristy Waddell

Week L, 2012, I am not a tourist: aims and implications of travelling, Tourist Studies, Sage, www.facebook.com/planetperspectiveevents 12(2), pp.186-203.