Nepal, Inside the Jungle, Chitwan National Park

Sauraha, Nepal

Sauraha, Nepal

I’m sitting in a lush garden in Sauraha, at a restaurant that was open at 7AM. With wifi and espresso. This. Never. Happens. Here.

So I’m eating my fried eggs with yak cheese (locally made) in this stunning botanical landscape when I hear from one of the servers that rhinos show up here quite often.

We’re talking wild rhinos. Not the kind at Disney Land. In this garden.

The actual location of the photo above is a mere few feet from the edge of the jungle so elephants, tigers and rhinos often roam over that line.

It’s their home not ours.

I was instructed last night by a long time local who was born inside the jungle before it was a national park that if you’re chased by a rhino you have to run away zig zagging as they like to run in a straight line.

Important fact to know. 

Last time I was here I was almost crushed by a few elephants who were fighting. I don’t want to die on my vacation. Sometimes things are too exciting.

Here’s the link to the near crushing. On YouTube.

And more of the twin baby elephants that were born here the last time.

But the most fun thing to do is hang out with the villagers.

First visit to the village of Dharmpor in Nepal

First visit to the village of Dharmpor in Nepal

 

I was sure I didn’t hang out anymore but I discovered that this is what many people do here. Rest, relax, and don’t kill themselves working. This may be just for the men, the women sure look like they’re working non-stop.

We had an amazing day yesterday working on the land that is being developed for Beyond the Four Walls, which many of you know empowers women. Little do most people know, Wolf Price, the founder has been here in Nepal for 10 years and it really takes a team to get anything done. The fact that plumbing and electricity get installed at all is a huge undertaking. The workers don’t always know how to do it even when they say they do. So you have to know people and get help from others in your network.

This is not easy, it is similar to any business, where you have to cultivate a network of people who you really like and want to spend time with. To make your businesses evolve.

I’m learning tons, and yesterday I pulled rusty nails out of recycled bamboo to be used to build a fence, everything gets used here.

I’m also eating things I can’t identify but it sure tastes good.

If you want to know more about this social venture and donate check it out here.
www.b4wnepal.com

www.bartnikowski.com, Nepal, Chitwan Park

www.bartnikowski.com, Nepal, Chitwan Park

www.b4wnepal.com

www.b4wnepal.com

Remarkable Nepal

 

Nepal_bhaktapur_flowersSuddenly after 33 hours of plane travel I’ve arrived in the lap of the Himalayas, Kathmandu Valley.

I’m staying in Bhaktapur the most ancient place in the country surrounded by intricately carved wooden temples. One of the best parts?

Walking in the square buying flowers to do love offerings with all the other Hindus, at 6AM.

I love the people here. They are the kindest people I know. Their smiles come in spades.

Truth.

How to act like a local? Smile a lot and pretend you aren’t from half a world away. It usually works.

But I tried a different tactic on the pack of dogs outside my window rabble-rousing last night. I shouted from the 2nd story window where I sleep for them to cut their shit and shut up. They listened. The howling stopped.

This New York girl is not going to lose sleep.The temple bells start ringing 10 feet from my window at 5:30AM there is no sleeping after that.

But there is a cacophony of local color outside my pad at the Shiva Guesthouse, the oldest guesthouse in Bhaktapur where the management knows me and allows me to put my yogurt in the refrigerator with the Cokes for sale.

But don’t tell anyone.

Bhaktapur_www.bartnikowski.

Bhaktapur_www.bartnikowski.

After walking around Bhaktapur getting my “curd” which is yogurt, and there is no better curd made worldwide, you’ll drop your Greek Fage and never eat it again if you get to taste King Curd.

Pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top and that’s breakfast.

Yesterday and today will be helping out over at the women’s shelter, check it out here,

www.bartnikowski.com

www.bartnikowski.com

This lovely girl has been living at the shelter for a year. I met her in 2013, in her village, a 13-hour drive from Kathmandu. She was in a domestic abuse situation and is now free. I’ve never seen her happier. She’s going to school and helping at the shelter. She learns at lightening speed and I’m standing in her glow watching it all.

Wow, this is how to change lives, one person at a time.

$700 a year is all it takes to feed, educate, and house one girl in Nepal. This is what Beyond the Four Walls is doing now.

Do you want to come and stay with us?

You’ll have a Nepali immersion adventure and a low cost amazing place to stay.

Your small room fee pays for the costs associated with running Beyond the Four Walls, a foundation that empowers women, providing employment, housing, and education for women who want to change their lives after being abused and neglected.

Girls and women learn to make empowered choices and not fall prey to sex slavery and early marriage.

Wolf Price, Founder of Beyond the Four Walls

Wolf Price, Founder of Beyond the Four Walls

Yesterday we cleaned up rooms and got the kitchen in order for the cafe that will re-open soon. It’s a garden cafe at this location, before it was on a busy street so this new place will be more serene and provide smoothies, premium coffee, lasis, and hamburgers. Stop by and see us. It will be up and running after we get the water system fully installed.

Namaste!

Make a donation, no amount too small, even $10 helps. http://til.tt/8qrA

cleaning up and organizing at www.b4wnepal.com

cleaning up and organizing at www.b4wnepal.com

Kauai Private Yoga and Photography Retreat

 

Private Yoga and Photography 3-Day Retreat

Discover the best island in the world. Relax, rejuvenate, and re-set your life.

Escape your jam-packed life and luxuriate in one-on-one private photography instruction with any camera you have.

Breathe pristine air, see astounding emerald green cliffs, swim in silky turquoise water, and experience rainbows almost every day. There’s one in my backyard right now!

Soothe and ignite your spirit with me, a Kauai local, guiding you to discover the potent power places on island.

Yes being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the furthest land mass from any other chunk of land, has its secrets.

Kauai is a blended holiness of earth, sea, and sky.

Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com

Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com

What’s Not Included:

1. Crowds of people.

2. Bad food experiences (I know the best places to eat from surprisingly simple locally sourced food to lavish top notch restaurants.)

3. No wasted time doing things you wish you hadn’t done.

You’ll see remarkable vistas.

Anini Beach, www.bartnikowski.com

I guarantee you’ll fall in love with Kauai.

 

yoga_meditation_islander

Yoga and Meditation with me on the stunning property of the Islander Resort where your gorgeous studio is located.

What’s Included:

Wake up and do yoga and meditation with me every morning, or sleep in after sweet dreams in your ocean side luxury studio. No driving, I come to you.

Daily private shooting guidance with any camera you have.

Learn how to use the specific camera you bought.

Relax under palm trees on a drop dead gorgeous beach. Read a book, get a massage.

Eat at the best places with guaranteed fresh food, your culinary masterpieces are a foodie’s divine experience. I know where the best restaurants and local dives are that will make you swoon with a satisfied smile on your lips.

3 nights accommodation in a luxury studio on the ocean with your own private lanai. Hear the ocean waves all night long.

Every day, you’ll experience enchanting power places that will open your heart and as Shirley Wu, a recent private retreat participant has said below, “It will change your life.”

Get a new lease on life

Private Retreat Waimea www.bartnikowski.com

Private Retreat Waimea
www.bartnikowski.com

 

Experience the magic of Kauai and see your luxury studio here

Discover Kauai, See Your Luxury Studio

Have the best sleep of your life hearing ocean waves all night from your luxury ocean side studio with private balcony overlooking the turquoise sea.

Your Studio on the Sea www.bartnikowski.com

Your Studio on the Sea
www.bartnikowski.com

Who Am I?

I’m an award-winning photographer, author of 4 books, certified kundalini yoga teacher, and worldwide educator.

After shooting professionally in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, for 29 years, raising my family, and leading programs at Stanford, Apple, Intel and in 32 countries my home is now on Kauai.

Yes, I sold my belongings in Palo Alto, California in 2009 after photographing 722 weddings, families, babies, angel investors, and authors. I kickstarted my global life teaching, shooting, and writing.

Meeting saints, sages, the Dalai Lama, and remarkable people worldwide taught me how to change my life and stop worrying.

Yes I teach photography and yoga but the true essence is this, how to have more happiness and peace in a have not world.

I love what I do and strive to empower you to have profound adventures and live life full throttle at the highest octave.

3 Day Retreat for you solo or with your friend/partner, includes all one on one private photography guidance, 3 nights in a luxury oceanside studio with private lanai being lulled to sleep with the soothing sounds of ocean waves, and morning yoga/meditation under magnificent palm trees and a sapphire blue sky.

$2000 includes 3 nights accommodation

Private and exclusive for 1 or 2 people

$4500 includes 5 nights accommodation

Dates Available November 2016 to May 2017

Your retreat is scheduled at the best time for you. What dates are best for you?

Call 808-542-4566 and talk with me.

Or schedule a phone conversation at a time that is convenient for you and I’ll call you, to answer your questions.

Email [email protected]

Obie V. said about his retreat:

“It was the best vacation of our lives! I never would have gotten the photos I captured without you.”

It transforms your soul.”

– Shirley Wu

“I can’t wait to come back, my husband and I loved it!”

– Lynne

See you in Paradise. Book now as these spectacular oceanside units are taken fast!

If you want to learn more, get in touch now before 2016 steam rolls into 2017.

Here’s what you’ll discover here…

Suddenly you’ll be swimming with sea turtles, or simply luxuriating on spectacular Anini Beach on the north shore of Kauai. Here I am enjoying the crystal clear turquoise water with wild and free turtles, below.

bartnikowski.comI swam with sea turtles here yesterday. Don’t wait. Join me on Kauai – you may never want to leave.

Private retreat shooting in Princeville www.bartnikowski.com

Private retreat shooting in Princeville
www.bartnikowski.com

The flora and fauna is off the charts astounding. They don’t call Kauai the Garden Isle for nothing.

www.bartnikowski.com

www.bartnikowski.com

You get 3 days of a customized program:

You decide what you want to do without an ironclad itinerary.

You want to go to the longest beach in Hawaii? No problem, we’ll take the day and go see this world treasure below that the Dalai Lama says is the place where souls leave the planet and you may feel like you’re in heaven here too, I do.

Polihale State Park

Polihale State Park

Or you may want to see what National Geographic says is one of the top 50 tours you have to go on in the world, Allerton Garden, in the National Tropical Botanical Garden. This is where the former Queen of Hawaii personally gardened and where Jacqueline Kennedy retreated after JFK was shot.

This a power place extraordinaire you’ll feel it in every step you take.

Allerton Garden, Poipu www.bartnikowski.com

Allerton Garden, Poipu
www.bartnikowski.com

Aloha and many blessings from Kauai,
Mary

808-542-4566

[email protected]

Mary, Morning Practice www.bartnikowski.com

Mary, Morning Practice
www.bartnikowski.com

Best Beach in the World

lanikai

Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Oahu

How did I get to live on this incredible beach? I googled it.

Where are the most mesmerizing beaches in the world I wondered, 2 months ago, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Lanikai Beach in Kailua popped right up. It’s official. Its been voted on by global citizens and travel warriors; Lanikai is in the top ten of divine shorelines in the world.

I’ve traveled the planet in 31 countries and this is the best beach, the one I live 2 blocks from right now.

No matter how I wake up in the morning, on the wrong side of the bed, happily, or didn’t get enough sleep; I open my eyes and remember where I am.

I am walking distance to nirvana.

So I literally jump out of bed and get into my bikini, throw a dress over it, and walk or bike down the hill to my personal portal of the divine.

Lanikai means heavenly water in Hawaiian. Boy did they get that right.

kailuaBeachPark.bartnikowski

Now I’m spoiled for life. Nothing compares to it. This morning I could not even wait for my cup of strong coffee I bolted out the front door knowing I could get an Americano at the old style Hawaiian market, the only store within walking to this hallowed and holy spot on earth.

It slips my mind a bit how luscious it is until I round the tennis courts and see the 10 billion dollar view cresting in front of me. A swath of cobalt blue with emerald green lush islands beckoning good morning. I quicken my pace or I slow it down. Depends on the moment.

The salty air calls to me.

I relax into my bones and my spirit is renewed. You can’t look at that view and be blasé.

It’s drop dead gorgeous. Nothing matters now. Only the crisp air warmed by trade winds, and the salty sea for swimming. Our local Lanikai beach with no facilities, no showers, no toilets, no cars, and no loud bad taste music blasting in your ear drums while people blow smoke in your face and yell at each other. No that does not happen here.

So that’s why there are 2 to 4 million dollar homes here. And most people rent out there homes to make a good bit of money. I’m renting a room now in a lovely townhouse overlooking volcanoes, trees and the golf course where Obama golfs for goodness sakes.

People are affected by the gorgeousness. We say good morning to one another. When I’m driving, other drivers let me in the line-up if there is a backlog. Politeness is off the charts here.

It must be because of the heavenly nature of the sea, the fact that turtles like it here and are regularly spotted, paddlboarders, babies and lovers frolic in the turquoise pristine water.

Every morning I swim at Lanikai, after doing yoga and chanting. I feel blessed.

Maybe I did something right in another life to land here.

This place is better than the photographs reveal. But if you can feel the energy in these photos and it tells you to come then you must, you will never be the same person again; this will change and renew your mind and soul.

Don’t think about it just do it.

Check out my perpetual travel of the most astonishing countries in the world here

10 Things to do in Thailand

DCIM109GOPRO I am back in Thailand after 8 months of traveling in Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal and India. I am falling in love with the Land of Pad Thai, Dragon Fruit and Orchids. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. Here is what I love to do in Thailand: Motorbiking in the hills of Pai as seen in the above photo. Absolutely jaw – drop gorgeous scenery and no traffic until the tourists arrive in November.

Eating! 

fruitshakes22sushisashimishake22And the best part? You won’t gain weight. No bread or cheese, mostly small portions of noodles or rice with spicy meats/fish and veggies. Barbecued fish is sold on the street for $1 to $1.75 US, what’s not to like? I was looking forward to cooking but since stoves are not standard issue in apartments I just walk out my door, hop on my motorbike and today for lunch I had roast duck with rice and it was crazy delicious. $1.50 US. My neighborhood in Chiang Mai is full of wonder and yumminess. Sap Li! (that’s Thai for very delicious) KhaoSoisoup22Khao Soi soup – my favorite!

Commune with an elephant. VagabondCoverIssue1Read my Thailand issue of Vagabond in the itunes store for your ipad here.

Go see temples in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and in Issan: Wat Suan Dok in Chiang Mai and there is a Vegetarian restaurant in the back. DCIM109GOPROGo to the markets – if you can stand to be shell-shocked by consumerism. But its all in fun and entertaining to watch other shoppers buying bags of loot. And its mostly all cheap too. You can always stop when you are getting overwhelmed. But you never know when the perfect pair of sandals will fall on your head out of the sky or you will just get so hungry you have to eat again – take your pick.

Make Friends. JolieMary22 englishclasswithnong22 Volunteer to speak English with a class – its great fun and you laugh a lot! nongmaryyoga22Do yoga and have a Thai massage.

Enjoy the flora and fauna.

Discover waterfalls and hot springs in Pai.

Write me at [email protected]

Web site: http://bartnikowski.com

See Mary TV

ADDpink flower in paiLove from Thailand!

Vagabond Mary

 

10 Reasons I Love Nepal

Grandma in Inawura, Nepal

Discover the Secrets of Nepal in Vagabond Mag for your ipad click here

It is said that Nepal is the holiest place on earth. Why?

It’s the rooftop of the world, home of Mount Everest and the Annapurna Mountain range but what keeps me coming back is the people. The kindest people I know live there.

Nepal breaks my heart and makes me cry and laugh within the same minute. How?

Well my favorite Grandma in the world lives in the Terai in Inawura.

Grandma in Inawura, Nepal

She’s 90 years old but never complains. She has a lilting girlish voice that resonates with wisdom even though I don’t know what she’s saying because I haven’t learned Nepali but we understand each other.

One day we found ourselves alone with no others around and we were chatting after I made her a hot drink with peppermint and she would say what she wanted to say in Nepali. I would listen to her then I’d talk to her in English and she carefully listened to me. We understood each other but not so much with language.

My son who has stunned me with his generosity and beauty got me there. I’d never heard of this little town but I found myself flying domestic from Kathmandu to get there.

He discovered this village when his friend brought him here to meet his family and now they are my family too.

Wolf Price inspired American Apparell to make a tee shirt to sell globally to fund education and wifi for the girls who live here so they don’t have to get married as teenagers and live a life of servitude. He’s also making a documentary about it all. Find out more about him click here. You may want to donate to empower girls in Nepal and buy the cool tee-shirt.

wolfinterviewingladiesatEnd

I met many wonderful ladies and taught them yoga in the bamboo grove – they were courageous to try it out after saying they had aches and pains.

Yoga Class Teaching in bamboogrove22

It was a non-stop love fest from morning to night.

Mom would wake me up with chai every day. Her smile made me never want to leave.

And then…

I discovered the Sacred Places in Kathmandu Valley
If you want to invigorate your soul go to Namobuddha Monastery

Namobuddha Monastery in the morning
Then go to Bahktapur just outside of Kathmandu.

Bhaktapur on a Misty Morning 6AM

View from my $10 Room

Bhaktapur Stone StatuesWoman in Bhaktapur Doing Puja

Then go to Kopan Monastery on the edge of Kathmandu.

Kopan Garden

And You Will Fall In Love with Boudha below, the largest Buddhist stupa in the world.

Boudha in Nepal

Incense Infusers Boudha

Be Enchanted by Nepal, Learn All About it in Vagabond

Praying at BoudhaDance Recital Near Boudha

Wolf brought me to a dance recital he was shooting so I took some photos too. I loved the girls expressions and their enthusiasm.

If you have time, go to Lumbini where Buddha was born. He was not born in India as most people think he was born here in Nepal and you’ll be overjoyed to be in the sacred garden  –its far from Kathmandu and if you don’t hire a car you have to take a public bus. Or you could fly.

It’s worth it.

I didn’t feel this love struck after the 14-hour bus ride back from the village of Inawura to Kathmandu but have now realized that driving over rocky dirt roads on a night bus will not feed my sanity or give me easy access to a toilet so I will leave this pass-time to the youngsters who can stomach it as I noticed there were no other people on the bus over age 30.

Perhaps this is a sign.

So if you are going and want to do something other than trek check out the sacred places of Kathmandu, go to the jungle and play with elephants, or just stop and go meet some Nepali women, maybe you can come to the picnic next year on Women’s Day March 8– here is me on the bus to the picnic Wolf Price puts on for the ladies.

Going to the Womens Day Picnic my son Wolf puts on every year for the Ladies

We had a blast and my face hurt from laughing all day.

Women Laughing while their Friends are Playing a Game at the Picnic

Women Laughing while their Friends are Playing a Game at the Picnic

My favorite new friend who busted out some amazing moves while dancing right here.

womandancinggoodmark

Do you want to escape the USA? Or just take a break and feel free?

You can travel all the time on a low budget and a high level of fun and adventure. You can work while you travel so all your costs are covered. Find out how in Vagabond Travel Photography Mag for your ipad here

I’m in India now and am head over heels happy I photographed the Dalai Lama here in Dharamsala where he lives. If you want to see photos click here

If you like, Comment below or Write me at [email protected]