I have redefined retirement at age 23. I have a lifestyle where I do the things I like, with the time I have and still get paid for it. I designed my freedom these two decades, traveling to more than 40 countries. I run a successful business doing consulting works as a Corporate Writer, Corporate Emcee, Event Producer and a Workshop Facilitator. I am also a talk-show host on an Internet Radio station with two programs "A Course In Miracles for Work-Life" and "Freedom Speaks". Life is Healthy, Rich & FREE! You can design this lifestyle according to your willingness. I hope mine will inspire you to achieve that freedom too.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Awakened Lumbini, Nepal

Mother with children from Lumbini.

Maya Devi, Prince Gautama's mum, bathed in this pond.
The sardine-packed mini-van which the people from the Indian continent call it a bus, sped into the darkness in the middle of a winter night.  The bus was so jam-packed that some passengers were sitting at the steps to the door.   It felt like there were 50 of us on the bus which was made for 20 passengers, seated.

There were no street lights.  Visibility was narrowed to the lights streaming from the van's two dusty and bugs-infested headlights.   I stretched my neck to look over the dashboard amidst the shoulders of some sleep deprived locals, and saw to my horror, how fast the trees were swept to the back.  The van must have been speeding over 120 km/h.

Village comes alive.
I squeezed myself between the Indians and the Nepalese, so close I was almost breathing onto the neck of the person in front of me, while the one at my back, probably doing the same to me too.  The warmth was comfortable.  I was thankful, nevertheless, that after a 24-hour train ride, arriving tired and without shower, at 12 midnight, those body heat had kept me from the torment of the winter cold.

Women cooking in the open.
It was going to be quite a distance before I reached the border, crossing from India into Nepal.  So, I decided to keep myself as warm as possible, thanks to all the passengers on the van.  Being packed like sardines was a blessing after all.

I was on my way to Lumbini in January, 1998.  Just one year after it was declared UNESCO heritage site.  Since then, many Buddhists have put Lumbini as one of their pilgrimage stop.  Many Buddhists countries started to build temples and monuments with designs and buildings depicting the respective cultures of the country.  They would have been completed by now.  When I was there, the place was still very quiet and there was only one hotel available.

Activities abound in Lumbini.
As always, I didn't plan my itinerary.   I had an idea to take a flight to New Delhi, then to fly back from Kathmandu after 3 weeks of traveling.  But travel to which part of the two countries?  I didn't know then.  I knew only 3 places that I will want to be, ie New Delhi (because the SQ flight stated so), Taj Mahal (that is one of the seven wonders of the world) and Kathmandu (because SQ flight takes off from there).  I wouldn't want to go back to New Delhi after three weeks of traveling, so the next best place to come home, I thought, would have been Kathmandu.  That was how I made the decision to fly back from there.

One thing I must confess, I didn't know Taj Mahal is in Agra!   I only found out after I spent a night in New Delhi.  Oh my gosh, Agra is 3 hours by road.

So, how did I find my way around one of the most populated countries in the world, traveling for three weeks, cross the border and found my way home from Kathmandu?  I didn't find them, the places found me!

I call this experiences the Sacred Intervention.  Especially Lumbini.  Read more about how I discovered Lumbini, click here.

Lumbini, is it still the same?
As I look at these photos now, the children could have grown up, maybe in their 20s.  Is the village still look the same?  Where are the goats now?  Are the men and women stacking hays and laugh as they used to?

Will I be making my way to Lumbini again?  I don't know.  I have left my heart open, I am sure Lumbini will fill in the answer.