Jessica Baker

Jessica lb

Jessica Baker

So here's my expedition down in words and photographs for you all to enjoy. I believe great experiences and memories should be shared so I hope you all enjoy reading all about both the good and the bad of my long awaited journey!! x

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj July 7th 2011

This week has been the beginning of a new adventure in India for me, one where I do not just have to think of myself, but also of others. I have led a group of 7 friends and fellow students out to Mcleod to volunteer at the school that I work for and even in just one short week, it has been an eventful experience. It has been much harder than I had anticipated. Mainly because I'm trying to maintain my busy life that I had before they came, at the same time as trying my best to look after them. I can only spread myself so thin! I thought it would be easy, but it really isn't. For this reason, I'm so glad that there are seven of them, as this means that they can ... read more
The beautiful view from Mcleod
Amelia on a drip
Hospital shot..

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj June 21st 2011

I've returned home, or at least that is how it feels. My second home, one that I hold so close to my heart, and miss almost every day that I am away. I had felt a little anxious that maybe I would return and everything would feel different, and I would feel a little lost here, but that has not been the case at all. Of course, some shops have closed or opened, some people have moved away, to be replaced by new faces, but the most important people are still here, the beautiful mountain still hangs overhead and the school is just as I left it. It is as if I never left. In fact, it feels even better this year than it did last year. The relationships feel stronger somehow, I appreciate them much ... read more
A typical Mcleod Ganj street view
Candlelight vigil
Washing our clothes in the river

Asia » India » National Capital Territory » Delhi June 10th 2011

So here I am again, back in a hotel in Delhi, losing half my body weight in sweat and barely able to walk due to heat exhaustion. That may not sound like the most ideal scenario, but I am in my element. I can still barely believe I am here. It didn’t actually sink in, what I was doing, until the pilot told the cabin crew to prepare for landing. I had been sat on planes for 10 hours and it took right up until the last 20 minutes, for reality to kick in. My fellow passengers must have thought I was a bit loopy as I sat there with a huge grin on my face and the worst butterflies I have ever experienced. But now I am here, and still it feels like a dream ... read more
Tenzin greeting me at the airport

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj September 16th 2010

I’m literally heartbroken. That’s the only word for it. There are many Tibetans living in Mcleod that would do anything to be on a plane to England right now, yet I’m sobbing my heart out on the bus as I leave to board mine. Leaving Sadhana Forest wasn‘t difficult, it was just hard when I actually reached home to adjust to normal life, leaving Ecuador was relatively easy as I felt ready to go home. But this, I was not prepared for this. I cried on and off for three days in the preparation for leaving and now it feels like my heart has been broken into two pieces. Lame, I know, but it really does. The reason for this? I have a family, love, friends, a job I enjoy, beautiful surroundings, lack of pressure to ... read more
Turning the prayer wheels for the last time
Choedak and I walking the kora for the very last time
Saying goodbye to my students

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj September 11th 2010

So after missing the first opportunity to attend one of his teachings, I thought it would be best to not give up my second chance to listen to His Holiness’s wise words. I was under the illusion that I’d be insanely bored due to the fact that I know diddly squat about Buddhism, but I was sorely surprised. I really enjoyed it and learnt some of the basics of Buddhism in the process, as well as being able to take part in the taking the 36 bodhisattva vows which was an experience in itself. One of the biggest things I noticed was that the Dalai Lama loves to crack jokes. They’re very sweet and simple jokes that manage to have hundreds of people in one room chuckling to themselves. Everything about his presence is uplifting. The ... read more

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj September 6th 2010

I’ve been to many English weddings and I thought they were fun, until I experienced a Tibetan one. Tibetan weddings and their traditions are fascinating. If you haven’t had the pleasure of going to one, make it your goal to be invited to one in the future. The fun all started the night before with preparing the room for the celebration. I knew Tibetans had weird taste, with their love for 90s boy bands and strange posters of white babies and Chinese girls, but the decorations brought on a new element to my belief in their weird taste. We had around 10 fully grown Tibetan men all helping each other put up the Christmas decorations you and I used to have maybe 10 years ago. You know, the tacky colourful plastic streamer style Christmas decorations. They ... read more
The beautiful bride and groom
Swamped in khatta
The food was devoured!

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj August 2nd 2010

I really am living her life now. For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, her name is Lhamo Tso. She is 37 and has been through more than we can imagine. Her husband is Dhondup Wangchen, somewhat of a hero in Tibet due to the legendary documentary he made documenting the feelings of Tibetans about various things in 2008. As a consequence of this he was imprisoned for 6 years. He is now in a labour camp, despite having contracted Hepatitis B and is receiving no medical care. Lhamo Tso, her four children, niece, Dhondups parents and brothers family had to flee to India in order to be immune from being harassed by the Chinese government themselves. She is supporting so many mouths on the salary of a bread maker selling her bread at ... read more

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj July 6th 2010

July 6th was a special day. Especially for Tibetans. The only birthday celebrated in their culture is the Dalai Lama’s, they rarely acknowledge their own. Obviously Mcleod Ganj, where the Dalai Lama is in residency, saw a big celebration and involved the presence of His Holiness himself! I rose early, put on my best chupa (traditional Tibetan dress) and splashed my way to the temple as the heavens had opened… non stop throughout the night and morning. I must admit, the amount of rain did put a slight downer on the event, as I was getting completely soaked, waiting for a glimpse of the man himself. Shivering and having water running down my arms, face, back, pretty much every part of my body, was all made worth it though when he stood less than a metre ... read more

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj July 5th 2010

After discussing how difficult it is to get people to part with their hard earned money for charities and organisations, like LIT, I came up with the idea of having a festival. Asking people to come and have fun with you and part with a few bob, is much more effective than outright asking them to donate money online. Thus the preparations for the festival for LIT began. This is one thing I like about LIT. You suggest an idea, they let you do it. After all, a volunteer operation relies on it's volunteers to grow and flourish! So I started thinking of different activities and created flyers as I anxiously waited for Saturday to arrive. When it finally arrived, it was an eventful day that turned out to be a real hit. We certainly achieved ... read more
Sangpo, Tamden and Chota cracking up!
Marika, one student and I
The beautiful Lauren (founder) dishing out chocolate tsampa balls.

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Mcleod Ganj June 30th 2010

Life in Mcleod is getting better by the day. Would I be having these experiences without LIT and Lhamo Tso though? I think not. So here I will write a little more about her and LIT, what they stand for and the amazing work they are doing. I now spend my mornings sat at the bus station with Lhamo Tso while she sells her bread. I know I say everything is the highlight of my day, but she is too! I spend around half my day with her and still want to go back for more. If she wasn't so amazing I wouldn't be getting up at 5:30 to go and sit with her for three hours. She's like a ray of sun. You cannot help but fall in love with her and her incredibly sweet ... read more
Lhamo Tso prostrating
Lhamo Tso and her beautiful family
LIT festival! BE THERE!

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