ADULT TRAVELERS SMALL GROUP + CUSTOM DESIGNED TRAVEL IN ASIA, AFRICA & LATIN AMERICA
ARE YOU READY FOR A DIFFERE N T KIND OF ADVENTU R E ? If you value meaningful engagement, if you seek greater awareness, and if you hope to realize in each day the biggest learning amidst the broadest and most colorful experiences imaginable, you’ve come to the right place.
Cover: A window to the world. © Sylvia Snow This spread: A gathering at dusk. © Japhy Dhungana
Dragons is a life-changing experience…and does a fantastic job of rendering that experience in such an intentional, reflective, and supportive way that allows you to not just visit these new places, but interact with them and become very much a part of them.” –A L L E G R A C , PA R T I C I PA N T
WHO WE AR E Dragons is a global community united by a mission of nurturing empathy and understanding across borders through authentic cultural exchange. For over 25 years, Dragons has offered transformational learning adventures in unique international locations. This collection of curated programs is designed to deliver the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that Dragons has long been known for providing. With Dragons, you’ll find yourself in places of unimaginable beauty. What might surprise you is the depth of engagement provided once you get there. Are you ready for a monumental investment in yourself that’s much more than a vacation?
PROGRAMS CUSTOM + FAMILY p. 10–11
NEPAL p. 16–17
CHINA p. 12–13
PERU p. 18–19
GUATEMALA p. 14–15
SENEGAL p. 20–21 5
OU R A PP ROACH When you join a Dragons program, an extraordinary opportunity unveils itself. You are invited to enter into a cross-cultural experience unique in the field of overseas travel. Here are some ways in which our programs stand out…
We are experts at connecting participants to place through
When we create space for personal introspection, discovery, and
meaningful engagement within local communities. Seeking out
renewal, we often find we possess a profound capacity for a more
opportunities for discovery within the fabric of daily life, we listen
invigorating perspective on our lives and the world. Traveling
to, connect with, and learn from people with radically different
with Dragons is not just an opportunity to intimately explore
cultural perspectives. You may cook home-made chapati bread
vibrant world cultures, but also a chance to investigate your inner
with your Nepalese homestay host, drink sweet attaya tea under
terrain. We ask reflective questions about who we are, what brings
a mango tree with a Senegalese Chief, or greet a merchant in
meaning to our lives, and how we would like to live as empowered
Mandarin in a bustling market in China.
members of a global community.
Our programs are well-rounded, holistic learning adventures that
A typical program consists of 10 participants and 2 instructors. A
unveil complex layers of the human experience. Participants learn
small group fosters intimacy and a high level of personalized care
through active engagement within local communities: studying
while lessening our impact on local communities. At Dragons we
with a master artisan or musician, visiting development projects,
believe traveling in a small cohort provides the most unique, safe,
or taking a guided tour with an expert on archaeological history.
and educational experience possible. The people who are attracted
Through observation and participation, we reflect on what it means
to Dragons are enthusiastic about learning, open-minded, flexible,
to be human in an increasingly global world.
and ready to share themselves with new people.
Previous spread left: Sacred Valley, Peru. © Japhy Dhungana Previous spread right: A Nepali mentor demonstrates his metal-working expertise. © Micah LeMasters Right: An Andean blessing. © Japhy Dhungana Next spread: Participants receive a lesson in thangka painting. © Amrit Ale
P RO G RA M ELEME NTS Each Dragons program is carefully crafted to emphasize specific program elements that guide the journey and give participants opportunities to engage with host communities.
COMMUNITY STAY Participants stay in a wide range of
DAY HIKING We explore by foot. Whether
APPRENTICESHIPS Participants are paired with a local
accommodations including guest houses,
walking through cities, on market alleys or
mentor to study an intellectual question or
ecolodges, monasteries, and in the homes
along cattle trails, participants can expect
artisan craft, providing an opportunity to
of community members. During our 2–3
to do a moderate amount of walking.
explore specific interests. Whether making
nights with a family, we have the rare
More difficult day hikes are an option for
jewelry, learning a traditional weaving
opportunity to engage personally with our
interested participants. By foot, we enter
technique, or inquiring into the main tenets of
hosts, sharing meals and stories with family
and engage with extraordinary places not
Mahayana Buddhism, participants investigate
accessible by car.
a topic in depth with a local expert.
Quechua, Nepali, Wolof...On all
Participants explore the host
We delve into a specialized line
our programs participants are introduced
culture by visiting historic and religious
of questioning through themes such as
to the local language. This empowers us to
monuments, observing ceremonies and
indigenous identity, music and the arts,
interact with locals and helps to earn the
rituals, conversing with religious, political,
and the intersection of culture and culinary
respect of our host community. Language
and social leaders, touring community
traditions. We learn from local activists, by
trainers teach interactive classes offering
projects, and learning from activists and
hosting guest speakers, reading articles
relevant vocabulary to practice throughout
development workers. We also reflect upon
on relevant topics, and engaging in group
personal beliefs and values in contrast.
CU STO M + FA MI LY PROGRAMS Looking for customized travel for your small group of family, friends, or colleagues? We bring our 25 years of experience offering transformational learning adventures to create a once-in-a-lifetime trip that suits you and your small group’s particular travel dates, needs, and aspirations. When you choose to join us on a custom-designed program, you access our extensive network within our global community that represents over 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Explore the world in a way you never have before! PROCESS
INCLUDED ON EVERY CUSTOM PROGRAM
• Find 3 or more travel companions.
• Custom itinerary designed for your group
• Tell us your vision.
• All lodging, meals, in-country transportation, & entrance fees
» Where do you want to go?
• 4-to-1 guide-to-participant ratio
» When do you want to travel?
• Airport greeting & 24/7 personalized care
» What do you want to explore?
• Facilitated educational experiences & learning activities
• We’ll take care of the rest.
• 24/7 on-call Emergency Response Team
Left: Llamas! © Julianne Chandler Right: Namaste from Nepal. © Tim Hare
This course was a gift that I will always treasure, and I know it has changed my life and my future.” – D E N I S E M , PA R T I C I PA N T
CHINA F I E L D, K ITC H EN, TA BL E 14 Days: September 17–30 “HAVE YOU EATEN YET?” This everyday Chinese greeting underscores just how central food is in Chinese culture. From the Hui Muslim noodle makers of the northwest, to home cooking, foraging, and tea cultivation in rural Yunnan, this is a journey not just for the adventurous palate, but for the head and heart. We travel to farms, temples, street stalls, and kitchens of all sizes to learn about China’s rich and varied food traditions and how food is connected to concepts of
body and health, religious beliefs, identity, and China’s turbulent history. • Learn about China’s regional, ethnic, and religious diversity through the lens of culinary traditions • Enjoy a meal in Chengdu that features medicinal dishes and ingredients, while examining Chinese concepts of traditional health
• Listen to elders share stories of survival through famine and hardship • Hike to a mountainside temple to eat and learn about Chinese Buddhist vegetarian cuisine
• Live with Naxi families in Yunnan Province, cooking with hosts in wood-fire kitchens
Left: The fields of Yunnan. © Megan Fettig Right: Enjoying a cup of tea. © Yingzhao Liu
G U AT E M A L A L A N D & S PI R I T 7 Days: October 31–November 6 GUATEMALA OFFERS US AN OPPORTUNITY TO QUESTION OUR IDEAS ABOUT IMPERIALISM, IDENTITY, AND THE VALUE
OF TRADITION. Unique to Central America, the majority of Guatemala’s population is indigenous. The country thus offers an especially rich context to explore the crossroads of traditional wisdom and ideas of development and progress. Against a backdrop of rolling green mountains and an azure lake, we BELIZE
explore the ways in which Mayan communities maintain traditional lifestyles while adapting to an increasingly globalized world. • Learn about sustainable agricultural practices and local relationships to plants at the Meseoamerican Permaculture Institute (IMAP) • Weave and paint with artisans while learning about the intersection of history and Mayan artistic traditions
G UAT E M A L A LAKE AT I T L A N
• Enjoy a slow-cooked traditional Mayan meal with homemade wine on the rooftop of a homestead • Witness Mayan priests performing ancient spiritual ceremonies • Stay with a family of Mayan descent in a rural community nestled alongside the stunning Lake Atitlan
Left: A local ceremony. © Sydney Yang Right: Sunset on Lake Atitlan. © Laila Skramstad
EL SA LVA D OR
GO GO GO!!! Prepare to be inspired, provoked, and changed!” – K AT H Y M , PA R T I C I PA N T
Soon we will be home in our familiar, comfortable lives. What will be new is a warm place in my heart that will hold Nepalese Newari smiles and cosmology. New fires rekindled. In gratitude, namaste.” – M A R K B , PA R T I C I PA N T
N E PA L AS H R AM S & ART ISA N S 13 Days: October 11–23 CUT OFF FROM MODERN INFLUENCES FOR CENTURIES, THE REMOTE HIMALAYAN KINGDOM OF NEPAL HAS LONG BEEN A HOME TO UNIQUE ARTISTIC AND SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS. Now, influenced by tourism and supported by development aid, the country is undergoing rapid change. In the shadow of the tallest peaks on earth, we encounter awe-inspiring beauty while engaging in the question: How can Nepal’s ancient traditions survive in a time of radical globalization?
• Examine the concepts of cultural heritage and development, exploring the question of what constitutes “quality of life” in a modern world • Explore temples and sacred sites throughout the surrounding hills on optional day hikes • Study a craft that has been passed down for generations with a local Newari artisan • Travel to ancient Buddhist monuments and do a short stay in a Buddhist monastery or Hindu ashram
TIBE T NEPAL K ATH M A N D U VALLE Y
• Enjoy a three-night community stay in the medieval city of Patan, with the possibility of another two-night community stay in a rural village Left: Boudha Stupa, Kathmandu. © Benjamin Felser Right: Visiting a thangka painter’s studio. © Amrit Ale
PERU WO M E N I N T H E SAC R E D VA LLEY 11 Days: June 3–13 WHEN WE STEP INTO THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHERN PERU, WE VENEZUELA
FIND OURSELVES AMONGST THE HIGHEST PEAKS AND GREATEST BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN THE AMERICAS. Our journey takes us just outside of Cusco, where the Sacred Valley once hosted many of the Inca’s most
important cities and agricultural lands. Navigating small communities nestled between high peaks as well as the vibrant cityscape of Cusco, we adventure into both a historic and living culturewhere mountain traditions mix—and sometimes
clash—with modern Peruvian life. • Delve into environmental issues through site visits and discussions pertaining to agricultural diversity and climate change BR A ZIL
• Explore your own connection with the earth through ceremonies facilitated by renowned wisdom keepers from the Q’eros Nation
PERU SACRED VALLE Y
• Learn basic phrases in Spanish through interactive classes and excursions
• Journey by foot along antiquated paths with breathtaking views of lakes and waterfalls
• Stay with a family of Incan descendants in the village of Paru Paru, an offthe-tourist-path community in the Sacred Valley Left: A happy homestay meeting. © Japhy Dhungana Right: An alpine hike. © Japhy Dhungana
The homestay was an unbelievable and incredible experience. The people of Paru Paru are warm, kind, and wise. This was more than I could have hoped for.” – C A R LY C , P A R T I C I P A N T
If all of your programs are as authentic and immersive as the Senegal program, then I’m sold and ready to sign up for more!” – N A L I N I S , PA R T I C I PA N T
SENEGAL M US IC & M YST IC IS M 12 Days: January 14–25 WELCOME TO A CULTURE RENOWNED FOR ITS HOSPITALITY, WHERE STRANGERS CALL YOU TO SIT UNDER THE SHADE OF A MANGO TREE AND SHARE A CUP OF TEA. Welcome to a country of contrasts, where new development sits beside centuries-old customs. Even the music echoes a mix of traditional and modern styles. Known for its vibrant and amicable people, sophisticated polyrhythmic music, and unique interpretations
of Islam, Senegal welcomes travelers into a rich and dynamic cultural landscape. • Explore Sufi mysticism, development, migration, and gender roles • Experience teranga, the Senegalese concept of hospitality • Delve into musical and artistic traditions by studying with master artisans and attending live concerts • Explore bustling markets, historic monuments, and modern cafes in the capital of Dakar • Plant tree saplings in a mangrove forest while learning about environmental conservation and grassroots development • Travel by boat to the welcoming island community of Niodior for a threenight family stay Left: Along the shores of Dakar. © Crystal Liu Right: A homestay portrait. © Nalini Sharma
GUINE A 21
MEET A FEW OF OUR EXPERT INSTRUCTORS Dragons instructors are carefully selected based on their facilitation skills, local language fluency, and regional expertise.
SAMBA SOW, SENEGAL
CLAIRE BENNETT, NEPAL
BA Phonetics & Languages,
M.A. History, University
Cheikh Anta Diop University
Samba grew up in a small
Claire is driven by a
passion for global
in a remote and beautiful
equality and social justice.
nook of southern Senegal.
She first ventured to Asia
As a teenager, he moved to
as a volunteer in Nepal and
Dakar to complete high school and
later returned to found the rural
attend university, obtaining a joint degree at Senegal’s Cheikh
development organization, PHASE. Since then, she has spent time
Anta Diop University. Samba has a long-standing history in the
volunteering in Cambodia, coordinating regional strategies for
field of education. He has served as a supervisor for CADRE,
global education within the U.K. school system, and facilitating
an education and development NGO, has taught French and
Global Youth Action—a global work project for disadvantaged
English at a private school, and has worked as a language and
youth. Claire is an incurable optimist and has boundless energy—
cross-cultural trainer for the U.S. Peace Corps for six years. He
mainly fueled by caffeine from her British tea-drinking habit. She
has amassed over 600 field days instructing profound learning
has recently published a book on the value of learning service,
adventures with Dragons and brings an enthusiasm for sharing his
currently supports Dragons Himalayan courses, and works as a
home culture to each trip he guides.
freelance development consultant.
“As someone who hires & supervises extraordinary educators for a living, I can honestly say that Claire is one of the most gifted instructors I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. Her knowledge about Nepal is deep and grounded in her love and respect for the culture.” – C H R I S T I N A S , PA R T I C I PA N T
VISIT OUR WEBSITE Explore photos, specific program descriptions, and itineraries: WHERETHEREBEDRAGONS.COM/ADULTS
CONTACT US Give us a call at 303.413.0822 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
JOSEPH (JODY) SEGAR, CHINA M.A. Anthropology (Ph.D. ABD), Stanford University
READY TO JOIN?
1 Enroll online 2 Submit a deposit to hold your space 3 Schedule a consultation
Jody grew up in the woods of New England but woke up one day to find that massive Chinese cities had come to feel just as familiar. Since 1996, he has spent more than a decade living, working, studying, and conducting research all over China. Fluent in Mandarin, Jody has worked in China as a teacher, a financial reporter, the host of the Chinese television program, Chongqing Today, a guide on the Yangtze River, a musician, an advertising designer, a writer and editor, and most recently, in the field of Study Abroad. He is drawn especially to the remote areas of China’s southwest and far northwest, where he’s also become fluent in the local version of Sichuan dialect. Jody is currently
CHINA p. 12–13
GUATEMALA p. 14–15
October 31–November 6
NEPAL p. 16–17
PERU p. 18–19
SENEGAL p. 20–21
Dragons China Program Director. 23
China | Guatemala | Nepal | Peru | Senegal | Custom
MAPMAKERS ONCE DREW DRAGONS TO REPRESENT LANDS UNKNOWN.
where there be dragons” IS TO EXPLORE BEYOND THE EDGE OF your MAP. WHEN WE
ENGAGE THE UNFAMILIAR, WE REDISCOVER OURSELVES AND THE WORLD, CHARTING PATHS TO AN EXPANDED HORIZON. ARE YOU READY FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF ADVENTURE?
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