The first week of each September, all of the Carpe Diem leaders gather in a cozy house-turned-hostel in Portland, Oregon to prepare for the upcoming semester. For leaders, it is a time to meet new staff, reconnect with old friends, better get to know our co-leaders and program directors, and set goals and intentions for the next three months. Throughout our ten-day training, in addition to studying our budgets and itineraries, we discuss topics like health and safety, risk management, diversity and inclusion, ethical travel, and collaborative problem solving. Much like a semester, the days are long but the week flies by.
We are beyond excited to be returning to India, each leading our third India semester with Carpe Diem, but for the first time working together. We are excited to visit some of the great cities in the northern part of the country— including the bustling capital of Delhi, the “Pink City” Jaipur, Leh, Rishikesh, and Amritsar— and we are also excited to be the first Carpe Diem group to have the opportunity to experience cities in the south including Kochi and Puducherry. India is such a large, diverse, and culturally rich country and each week of our semester will offer a new chance to expand our knowledge of the subcontinent as well as practice responsible travel and group skills.
In addition to cultural studies, some of our interests and passions include environmental studies, literature and movies, and social justice, and we look forward to sharing these passions with the Shanti group this fall as well allowing space for every group member to bring their own passions and interests into our group.
We are especially grateful for the dedicated staff at headquarters in Portland who make this experience possible, our friends and families, the amazing contacts in India we collaborate with in designing a meaningful semester experience, and, of course, all of the participants who have decided to devote these next three months to traveling and learning. These last few days before taking off are a great time to pause and reflect on the many privileges that come with the opportunity to travel, and to express gratitude to those who have supported us in our lives.
Looking forward to meeting the group in just a couple days in San Francisco and embarking on the first leg of our journey— a 19.5 hour flight to Singapore!
Rebecca and Peter