The Ladakh trip I took with JwM was an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. The places and landscapes have left a lasting impression on me. The Ladakhi people I met and their way of life have given me a different perspective while thinking about the planet’s sustainability.
I have always been an avid traveler but never really cared about the long-term effects my travels had on the places I hold so dear. JwM has opened me to counting the ecological cost of every decision we take – air-travel vs train/road, drinking water vs bottled water, imported vs locally sourced fruits and vegetables. etc.
It’s good to know that every little action we take towards sustainability would have a significant effect on preserving our only home, Planet Earth.
I would recommend making such ecological trips mandatory for all school and college going kids.Pradeep Dantuluri
Our daughter went on a trip with JwM in May this year. The concept is fantastic — that we don’t just consume as tourists but learn and contribute, in whichever way we can. That we get to know local issues and get responsible. Also, being a bit of an introvert, our goals for our kid included going out there and talking to people.
Well, she hasn’t stopped talking about the trip since they came back. The group coalesced and the kids are still in touch with each other, some beautiful friendships. One of the first things she told us was: Guys, there are going to be some lifestyle changes in our home. We waste so much!
A realization in a home that prides itself on being green, organic, going low on waste, et al. Something that will get into her value system given this trip and the exposure she got.
Thanks a ton, Vinod, Neha and Michelle! They were so well taken care of in the best way possible – not cosseted but cared for. Loved that, the independence given with an eye being kept on them.Sangitha Krishnamurthi
A fantastic mix of culture, adventure,and wildlife… the trip to Meghalaya in December 2015 with JwM was an experience like no other travel experience I’ve had so far. Rather than tick-marking the tourist attractions, I was more than glad to get a real feel of the place and get opportunities to interact with the locals and camp at a breathtakingly beautiful, dream-like place. Cannot wait for my next trip with JwM to Ladakh this year!Namrata Shah
I first heard about JwM from a friend who was pushing me to join one of their trips to explore a different perspective of life. Well, she was right. I joined JwM not just for one but two trips — Ladakh in June 2015 and Meghalaya/Kaziranga recently in Nov 2017. JwM has definitely left a marked impression on my being and been a turning point in my life. One thing that JwM leaves you with, is that it encourages you to be very conscious and aware — of places and the environment, of the people and the beings you meet, and of yourself. I think this is what makes each trip memorable than just the typical touristy sight-seeing.
Some unique points of JwM:
1. People you meet are people — friends, co-travelers, NOT servers/ servants, drivers, helpers, etc. Respect and dignity for the local people and their ways of living are integral. It is heartening to observe that cultures not much known, are not exoticized.
2. Accommodation is mostly at home-stays or local guesthouses. You get to spend more time in the villages. I have found this more homely and the warmest than the biggest 5 star hotels.
3. Locations selected in any itinerary are very different from the popular tourist spots/destinations. Please be assured that such locations are always beautiful and more closer to nature. You will definitely find your peace and space.
4. Vinod, Neha, and Homi are a lovely bunch of unusual and attractive people. You can easily reconnect with them even after your trip ends.
5. You make a lot of connections — with people, with things, with nature, with the environment, and with yourself. I have personally come home after every trip with friends who are close now, with self consciousness and with life lessons.
JwM has let me find inspiration and possibilities in so many ways, despite testing my views and abilities. It is worth taking a trip with them. I always feel tempted to join them again.
I spent 2 weeks in the mystical, magical, Leh-Ladakh in Sept 2016. The traveling experience with Journeys With Meaning is like no other. With long winters and short summers, the people of Ladakh have survived for centuries despite harsh conditions; they have learned to make the best of what is available, with a smile. There is a lot to learn from their ancient customs and traditions, and their style of community living.
It was an experience which will remain forever etched in my memory… the mesmerising and ever-changing landscapes, the most cheerful and friendly people, rich culture, beautiful monasteries, very unique architecture, and thrilling adventures. The mountains, streams, rivers, valleys, the lakes, and the passes, are all so different from what one would expect elsewhere. One would have heard and /or read many stories about SECMOL, Khardung la, and Tso Moriri, but nothing… absolutely nothing prepares you for what you see, feel, and experience first hand.
I was totally mesmerised with the beauty of the place. Everywhere you turned, you saw breathtaking views. The contours, the colors, the smells, the sounds, touch and feel is like no other. It’s been almost a month since I’ve returned from Leh, but it feels like some part of me is left there… or it could be that I carry some part of that place in my heart. The experience does something to you, changes something in you. You will never be the same again.
I was fortunate enough to spend those 2 weeks in the company of an awesome bunch of people along with #JourneyswithMeaning. No other experience would have brought us so close to each other in such a short time!Bavani Balakrishnan
A trip with JwM gives you a hangover for life. Journey with a different perspective. The whole concept of responsible tourism, home-stays, and local food gives you a lifetime experience and you witness strangers turning into friends. My trip to Ladakh with them a few years ago is still crystal clear in my mind and was one of the best trips of my life till date. Thanx Vinod, for some lifetime memories.Geetanjali Advani
A trip with Journeys With Meaning is surely something that everyone must do. I was on the Ladakh trip this June along with 11 wonderful people. Theses 15 days have not only given me a completely new perspective on ecological issues but has also given me a chance to retrospect into myself and realise a lot of things. Would love to go on more trips along with Vinod, Neha & Homi. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this amazing journey.Abhijit Nag
Journeys With Meaning is the difference between a 5 star hotel and a five billion star universeKunal Mithril
I did the Ladakh trip last month with JwM. Beautifully paced, and conceptualised in a way that will make you wonder if they just read your mind and tailored it for you.
JwM creates a kaleidoscope as you travel with them – letting you discover for yourself, while subtly bringing you forgotten wisdom, stories of value, and beauty in little things. Highly recommended for anyone who desires to travel naturally, and learn first-hand from the locals themselves.Sukanya Ghosh
The trip to Meghalaya and Kaziranga (Nov-Dec 2017) was one of the best trips I have ever had. I am grateful to the JwM team for the best and novel arrangements. The stay at, both, the eco-friendly homestay at Meghalaya and Nature Hunt Resort at Kaziranga was an experience in itself. The hosts at the homestays – James and his family, and Lakhmie at the village were very warm, caring, and accommodating. The food they served was amazing. The stroll in the markets of Shillong and Pynursla was fun. The local food and fruits was a delight to both the eyes and the stomach. The trip was truly, as titled, “Meghalaya – INTO THE WILD”. The day and night walk in the Sacred Grove was mesmerizing, healing, and rejuvenating. The campsite was breathtaking –- right in the middle of the forest, facing the waterfall and the river. The games and conversations over the bonfire were very interesting and engaging.
The treks to the campsite and living root bridges opened up the whole Pandora’s box of philosophy to me. The treks taught me to live in the present, showing me every step that I take and I execute is important. The living bridges are a testimony of selfless work done by the elders of the community for future generations. The community work at the living bridges and in the villages made me realize the difference between I-You vs US. The feel of just being on the root bridges was extraordinary. Also though the treks were physically difficult for me, I could sail through.
Thanks to the JWM team and co-participants for motivating and helping me. The spirit of comradeship was all over in the whole trip. The bird and the animal sanctuaries at Kaziranga were a world in itself. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive in the sanctuary. The 8-day journey was full with meaning –
(a) carrying our own water bottles, thus minimizing the use of plastic
(b) being aware of water usage which was limited, but enough for all of us
(c) not picking and plucking things from forest, treks or bridges
(d) understanding the web of life
The trip was much more than just staying in beautiful resorts and exploring normal touristy places. Grateful to JWM for exploring the unexplored and bringing that in the itinerary. Shall join soon for another trip.Pinky Sitlani
Taking a trip with the JwM folks (Vinod, Neha and Homi) is definitely an experience that should not be missed. It is the right blend of information, adventure, exploration and socializing that is bound to keep one both satisfied, and craving for more. For travelers with an open mind, and the desire and propensity to learn, I’d say – go for it, and have a great journey!Chetan Prasad
I’d like to think I’ve travelled some before, but this trip to Ladakh with ‘Journeys with Meaning’ is continuing to leave me with new meaning, even after more than a month of return. I think there are too many sides of this vacation that make it ‘different’. I must admit I started as a cynic, with clear intentions of spending my time in my own way, and was in no mood to explore meaning as I thought defined by anyone else. But when Vinod and Homi started introducing the group to the local (read global) issues, when the group started discussions on meaningful stuff, when our trips were not just to stunningly beautiful places but which were stunningly beautiful and intertwined with real, inspiring stories behind them, and everything around was natural and genuine, I started to see the meaning behind this journey.
SECMOL was my first high point, and the experience that was most mind-stilling for me was my bicycle ride down the Khardung La pass.
I guess if it were not for JwM, I may not have learnt about and visited the Artificial Glacier(s) conceptualized by Chewang Norphel, after his retirement, and what benefits can come out of applying good thought. Trekking in the brown mountains challenged and awed me, the camping was a new experience, and Tso Moriri makes you breathless (this time not necessarily literally 🙂 ).
It felt good to re-fill my water bottle and not buy new plastic. It felt good to start using the Ladakhi dry-toilets over the tempting full flush (with Ladakh’s scarcity of water). Actually, quite a few ‘small habits’ that were introduced that make you feel ‘lighter’, you know. And soon how reflexively home meant our hosts’ at Leh, while away on one / two day trips (speaks of how comfortable they made us feel).
And I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that absolutely everyone on this trip feel so special; they are fun, intelligent, funny, interesting, what not. Take your space when you want to, hangout when you want to.
Homi, Vinod, thank you… 🙂 I’m hoping these two words will somehow convey all the thank you I actually mean for you both.Lata Kopalle
I didn’t know what I was getting into signing up for the JwM trip to Ladakh 15 months after I’d been there the first time. And I was apprehensive joining a group of 10 unknown people. Looking back I’m glad I did it because of the “quality” of the interactions I’ve had.
Using dry toilets taught us about the Ladakhi way of making do with available resources in a way in which you minimize (actually eliminate) any form of wastage (in this case, water) and conserve better (that being compost). Trekking, cycling down Khardung La, camping outdoors and rafting the Zanskar through the dry, arid landscape with the Ladakhi summer sun smiling generously on us, we learnt to be mindful and find our own pace while enjoying the wind in our hair and the warmth of the sun on our back. Through homestays and interacting with the locals, we experienced warmth, genuine concern, gracious hospitality, beaming smiles, simplicity and humbleness served with humility to a bunch of strangers like ourselves.
And what would you make when, standing in the sacred grove of a 2500 year old juniper tree, your host says in a matter-of-factly manner that there is a reason why your paths have intersected. You are bound to believe him.Elita Almeida
I have just returned from the Arunachal trip where we walked in the forests of and around Pakke in East Kameng and then Thembang near Tawang. As a journalist I am always keen on interacting with local people and getting some idea of the local cultures rather than the usual touristy stuff and that is why I chose Journeys with Meaning. It was very well planned and coordinated and a joy to be among the Nyishis and Monpas. It was humbling to see how selflessly these communities are giving up some of the traditional practices and means of livelihood to conserve and protect the forests. Their ability to adapt must inspire us urban dwellers to make the same changes.Freny Maneckshaw
JWM takes you to the most obscure and pristine places that might not be mentioned in any guidebook. They have a good rapport with local people especially those inclined towards sustainability. We were introduced to these local people who nourished us with precious information about the terrain, weather, wildlife, arts, science and culture. We were exposed to the Khasi tribe in Meghalaya who showed us their “sacred untouched forest”. Our primary base was a homestay which was “off the grid” i.e. all their power came from solar and wind energy which they self produce. The food cooked and served by all our hosts was some of the best I’ve had in India.
A friend of mine who had done this trip to Meghalaya in December 2014 was also with us in 2015. She was pleasantly surprised that the 2015 trip took her to new places. “Too many people have started going to that other village, so we now bring people here.” explained JWM. I might do this Meghalaya trip again in 2016, but I might do one of their other trips before that!Girish Menon
Not only did I meet smart, self-possessed people who aren’t afraid to hash out every detail in a debate (fun to listen to and mull over) but Journeys with Meaning has helped me branch out my perspectives on ecological issues and my own approach to them. I certainly wouldn’t have experienced Meghalaya this way if I had been backpacking solo and certainly not with wealth of information and insight into the place JwM puts you in access to. Getting the “feel” of the place is important to me while travelling and the experience with JwM has been rewarding in that aspect (and others).
Highly recommended… 🙂
If you believe in experiencing a place with all five senses — including sight, sound and taste — Journeys with Meaning will fulfill all your dreams of the perfect experience. Every single day and turn on the road was made memorable and i actually lived and breathed Ladakh in the 10 days that I was there. It was adventure, learning, fun, introspection and living life the best possible way. Every aspect of nature and the places we went to came wonderfully alive, making it a life changing experience. Along with making new friends I came away with certain lessons that I will keep for the rest of my life.Thanks a lot! Looking forward to my next memorable journey with you.Alipta Jena
I’ve been meaning to do a journey with JwM for years now but somehow it just kept being put off. It finally turned out to be a surprise trip from my partner and what a surprise it was!
I’ve had the living root bridges of Meghalaya on my bucket list for a while now, so seeing those and not just one but many, made the trip special for me. But it didn’t stop at that. This trip with JwM opened up so much more. It gave me an insight into the lives of the people of Meghalaya, their customs, culture, issues, challenges. I also learned so much about the Kaziranga sanctuary, how it works, why it works and what’s going wrong.
The journey got me thinking about the environment, the earth, it’s life, the life I lead and the way I lead it. I’m still thinking and figuring it all out… 🙂Fatema Freya Rehman
It is not just a trip, it is establishing new bonds for life. It’s about knowing cultures in a non-text book way. I prefer solo travelling but JwM is the only exception to the rule. Their itineraries are well thought out, the emphasis on eating local and staying local is a big plus. I strongly recommend travelling with JwM, it is worth it! 🙂Moresha Benjamin
I was part of just one trip – Ladakh 2009. One of the best and most memorable trips by far. I was always an eco-conscious person and someone who believed in doing a bit for the environment. The trip to Ladakh only made my beliefs stronger and educated me about a whole lot. Things that were going wrong, things that we were doing wrong.
Thanks to Vinod, we met quite a few people who were in their own way, trying to make an effort to sort things out. Little things like refilling water bottles, using solar water heaters to have bath, living like the most ordinary people, and having a great love for the environment are the things I took back from this trip.
I wanted to celebrate my birthday, which fell during the week we traveled, in the lap of mother nature and am so glad we did. At the stroke of midnight, we were lying down in the middle of nowhere gazing at the starlit sky trying to catch as many shooting stars and satellites as we could. I still remember we saw 8 shooting stars and a few satellites!
Thanks, Journeys With Meaning! Thanks, Vinod… thanks a lot for letting me be a part of this! 🙂Sidharth Lodha
They say everything in life happens for a reason and I experienced it first hand right from getting to know of JwM, to the entire Ladakh trip, and how after that my life has changed for the better. If you are looking for an unexpected turn of events that will change the course of your life, this is it!
Take a step with JwM and find yourself surrounded with the best qualities that make up an ideal life: bliss, peace, nature, smiles, radiance, calmness, silence, music, masti, appreciation, encouragement, genuineness, extended family, life long friends, the artist and creative force within you, unlearning, unleashing the potential, how money really doesn’t buy everything, simplicity, humility, unending happiness, and last but not the least you will find yourself again!
Yes, getting lost in/with JwM helps you find you find yourself 🙂
JwM believes in the philosophy of LIVE your DREAM and SHARE your PASSION!
GROW inside out! 🙂
Happy getting lost and found! 🙂Preeti Gujar