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.
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
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
Suddenly 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.
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.
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,
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
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.
Dates vary: Apply for your private training October to September
3-Day or 5-Day Intensive
Call me 808-542-4566,
or email, email@example.com
Escape the city, relax and refresh your soul on Kauai, the pristine, sacred, and undeveloped island of Hawaii where no building is taller than a coconut tree.
Learn how to get the best photos you’ve ever taken, shooting from the heart.
Don’t read the dry camera manual, join me and have a spectacular time discovering and shooting power spots on Kauai even if you’ve never picked up a camera before.
Each day will be different starting with Yoga and Meditation under swaying palm trees on a bright green lawn next to your oceanside luxury accommodation.
Or you can sleep in if you like, this is your private retreat for you solo or with a friend/partner.
Poipu Beach www.bartnikowski.com
We will explore, discover, eat delicious food, and be astounded at the lush landscapes and stunning shores of Kauai.
What Shirley Wu said after her 4 Days of Yoga and Photography Guidance:
Optional Morning Yoga, it’s guaranteed you will recharge and transform doing kundalini yoga and meditation every morning. Even if you’ve never done a pose before.
This session is not for advanced yogis, it’s for beginners. But if you’ve been doing yoga for a while, I am a certified instructor and can inspire you more deeply with your practice.
Yoga blooms open your heart. You’ll enjoy the day more fully and get that little kid ecstasy feeling.
Yes, you get the benefit of teachings I’ve learned and practiced from saints and meditation masters in Thailand, Nepal, and India.
Private Retreat Waimea www.bartnikowski.com
This is not only about learning photography and yoga, it’s a kick in the pants for your spirit that will open your world to a new you and change your life.
This is what Kauai did for me and this is why I live here now.
You’ll discover the power places of enchanted Kauai, the most gorgeous island in the world. Yes it will all be revealed to you from a local who loves living here.
Contact me for more information and to schedule your 3 or 5 day retreat at a time that is good for you in the next 6 months:
Phone: 808-542-4566 in Hawaii HST
Who Am I?
I’m an author of 4 books, award-winning photographer for 27 years, and educator in Silicon Valley and worldwide.
I’ve led programs at Stanford University, Apple Computer, Intel, and globally.
You’ll get the benefits of the photography business I founded in Palo Alto, California in 1985 shooting for $500 per hour, down the street from Steve Jobs. I worked with clients from Apple, Intel, Yahoo, Google, and the lawyers, angel investors, doctors, CEO’s and realtors who lead and inspire Silicon Valley.
All my secrets are revealed in my private sessions.
It’s guaranteed you’ll see improved results in your own photos, learning my tips from photographing people and nature in 32 countries. And it’s fun!
Your deluxe room is included in your private retreat. You don’t have to hassle with searching for the perfect spot to stay, this is it!
Here is the view from your private lanai, above.
In the afternoon/morning we’ll be visiting potent power places on Kauai.
Secret Beach in Kilauea,
Ke’e Beach on the spectacular North Shore,
Poipu, on the south side…
Does this appeal to your sense of adventure? Join me!
You’ll get the benefits of living life here as a local. But with deluxe accommodations by the ocean in a stunning setting.
After your heart-expanding yoga session, we’ll discover remarkable, secluded places and learn how to mindfully capture the incredible nature here with any camera you have. Angle, Light, Composition and Timing are the focus, not Photoshop or fancy digital trickery. Nope!
You can shoot with a digital or film camera, point and shoot, or DSLR with all the bells and whistles.
It’s guaranteed you will return home with amazing photographs.
You’ll be visiting Ke’e beach, a sacred Hawaiian (Hay-ow) where we’ll swim, snorkel, and enjoy the Bali Hai cliffs around us. And Polihale State Park, the longest pristine beach in Hawaii.
Allerton Garden, www.bartnikowski.com
We are all flowers on this earth and we need open space around us.
You’ll get that here. And smiles are plentiful on this island.
Come with me to catch the seductive effervescence of ocean, sky, and emerald green cliffs. Serene places, stunning nature, waterfalls, and art walks in picture perfect tiny towns, Hanapepe Art Walk, and dinner at Hanapepe Cafe which is only open Friday night.
Yoga and meditation every morning under swaying palm trees on an emerald green lawn.
Or you can sleep in.
Easy photo walks every day and I do mean easy of Kauai’s incredible and stunning power places.
April to October private retreats are available
3-Day or 5 Day personal retreat
Your private retreat on Kauai includes
Oceanside deluxe lodging. 3 nights.
All yoga/meditation, photography, and guidance
Bon Voyage drinks and pupus for a divine sunset at the St. Regis on Kauai photo below
5 Day Retreat
Testimony from the last private retreat I led here on Kauai:
“It was the best vacation we’ve ever had and I never would have gotten the amazing photos I got without you.”
– Obie V.
“It transformed my life.”
– Shirley Wu
Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Or best to call me in Hawaii, 808-542-4566, you’ll get a real live human on the phone, me.
More Praise from private photography sessions with me:
There’s mucho meat in Argentina – I think there’s some beef in my bra right now. They even give you a meat ration on the bus in case you go into withdrawal after not eating it for more than an hour.
We just crossed the border into Brazil. It feels more sensual all ready or is that just my bikini wax talking? I’m ready for the beach in Rio but I may stick out a bit with my bathing suit from Maui that covers both butt cheeks.
I like my butt but I’m not sure I want to share it with the rest of the world in Ipanema.Oh what they hell maybe someone will write a song about it.
I arrived in Rio and strolled along Ipanema beach gasping for air with my eyes agog. People of every stripe, weight, and age were walking by in bikinis and sprayed on Speedos showing every detail of their anatomy.
It was way more information than I needed.
Beer guts flopped, swollen breasts jiggled and no one even noticed. How refreshing although horrifying.
But I am in Brazil, where carnival and cleavage was born. So it only took me five decades to figure out string bikinis. It’s for tanning every inch of your body. The strings untie at the bra back and ride high on each thigh. While sunning the strings come undone. It is not for the faint of heart.
Hedonism is rampant here. So I might as well join in. When in Rio do as the Brazilians do and this country was built on pulsating music and plunging necklines.
And to think I have not been dating madly every night. There’s still time. I’ve been looking over the livestock and the strong, dark, and handsome men appeal to me. They sure aren’t Hindus like in Bali – they want to tango.
But I don’t want to catch an STD or start anything without firewood. No smoke and mirrors for me.
Maybe I don’t feel so horny because I had my menopause. I plumb ran out of eggs so now I’m free to roam the earth and do what I want. But the best thing I ever did was having a baby.
He is now taller than me and is out saving the world. He’s helped a lot of people and inspired me to do the same.
People can say whatever they want about me but if anyone ever said anything against him I would rip their heads off and stomp on them; they’d be toast.
See how wandering in the Himalayas has helped me be calm?
At first I thought this country was over-priced for what it is but finally I am falling for Brazil. It took a tropical island, a travel companion who is a professional bartender, and my own bathroom.
Add sudden warm rainstorms with sandy paths and a car-free landscape to calm me down. There’s no traffic here in Barra Grande! We have donkeys with carts to carry things.
Everything is tranquil and my tan is deepening. That is my true wealth to be outside in the sun and fresh air and not cooped up in an office. Good thing I got my bikini waxed. It’s fun to always be ready for a string bikini no matter what. No panties or shoes; this is the way I like to live. I haven’t worn a bra in weeks or bothered to hold my gut in. I feel rich. My assets are: experiences, cameras, and jewelry. And a few stocks.
And I am safe as I don’t travel alone – I travel with my angels. They speak to me in gentle whispers, give me short directions; go there, stop, don’t buy that.
Major tip to self: always listen to the inner voice. It’s never wrong.