I was traveling for about 6 months before the idea of spiritual travel entered my space. Believe it or not, Burning Man 2012 was the catalyst for the idea. I had what I call a spiritual tickle at Burning Man, after which I returned home and had the biggest emotional releases. I needed to see where this spiritual path could take me, so I cancelled all my travel plans and headed to the only place i knew that was "spiritual"....India.
There, I studied at a small family-operated ashram in Vrindavan, learning about Ayurvedic medicine, yoga and meditation. My experience at the ashram was great but there was an unexpected outcome that has changed my life. There was a school attached to the ashram that the family built, ran and paid for. They literally funded everything for the very poor, underprivileged children who attended the school. Many of the children, most of them female, were extremely poor and outcasts as defined by the caste system in India. Most of the parents who sent these children to school didn't care about an education because they weren't educated themselves; they just wanted the free food, clothes, and childcare.
I had the experience of doing yoga with the children in the morning, eating lunch with them in the afternoon, and playing with them during recess. These children touched my heart in so many ways. I spent some time attending the classes where they learned, Hindi, German and English, along with arts and crafts, reading and writing. There were about 60 students at the time, and the family had a waiting list but didn't have the money to build an addition and hire new staff. I made a commitment at the end of my stay to help these children and pledge my financial and professional support to get them a new school addition. Which proudly opened in Jan 2014!
This event in my life would lead me to help others, and put philanthropy as a main focus in my life. While I travel, I continue to discover grassroots projects in communities that have everything to be successful except the finances. This is something that I will continue to do and help in any way that I can throughout the world.