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Lessons Learned from the Himalayas – Nomads, Monks, & Me!!

The most important life lesson I have learnt so far can be summarised in just 2 words!! And it can really change your life - for the better...

The most important lesson I have learnt so far was whilst I was living with and teaching Tibetan refugees in India at the foot of the Himalayas.

And it can be summarised in JUST 2 WORDS!!

I was working as an English teacher, teaching Tibetan refugees at the foot of the mountains, and my bedroom window looked out over the Himalayan mountains.

Based in Sukkar village, Himachal Pradesh, I was working with the most amazing Tibetan people, men and women, mostly in their twenties, who had risked life and limb, literally, to escape the Chinese government. They had taken their life into their own hands, fleeing their beloved Tibet, in search of freedom and a better life.

They had walked and climbed over the Himalayan mountains, not with sophisticated mountaineering equipment, but with a simple day bag and shoes, and barely enough provisions. Many had been shot at by the Chinese army, or captured and imprisoned.

Only to later be released from prison, and try again, and again…

For some it was their fifth or sixth attempt when they finally made it safely over the mountains into India.

They had taken the same route that the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader, had once made, who now resides in McCleod Ganj, also in Himachal Pradesh.

The people I met and lived with had made their way and had somehow been lucky enough to find and take refuge in an English School, where they could receive English lessons, have somewhere to sleep, and food to eat.

Previously, they had either lived a nomadic life, living off the land, and rearing yaks with their families, or they had lived in monasteries as Buddhist monks.

Many of the monasteries had been closed, burned down and destroyed by the Chinese army.

And the nomads were also severely targeted by the army, either having their yaks confiscated or taken as fines, and moved off their land, having to leave everything behind, losing all their belongings and with no livelihood remaining.

Living off the land was the only life they had known, with little knowledge of the outside world.

The twenty-somethings had been encouraged by their loved ones and elders to escape in search of a better life…