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My Creative Journey To The East On A $1000 Budget


University of San Diego

When I think of the paradigm for a simplistic lifestyle, I think of life in a Buddhist monastery. The way in which I would travel outside of the US with a budget of $1000 would be to stay at a Buddhist monastery in one of the eastern countries. It does not cost money to stay at a monastery, but in exchange for their hospitality, I would take part in Buddhist studies and help out with daily chores. Since I am a practitioner of the Dharma, studying with the monks or nuns would be a great honor; both parties are mutually benefitting from the arrangement. When I am not studying, meditating, or partaking in cleaning duties, I will explore the area that is around the monastery by strolling through the villages and hiking in the terrain. Seeing breathtaking sights and historical landmarks are free of charge in these areas. Celebrations and social events of the lay people are often open to the public as well. I would be able to experience and observe the culture without having to pay a visitor fee. Back at the monastery, the food is donated so I would not have to pay to eat there. However, I would probably spend some money at a market trying different cuisines, but the prices are all incredibly inexpensive. When staying in a room at a monastery, I would not have to worry about paying for electricity or water because there are neither! At night, I would live by candlelight or the bright glow of the moon. When I need to bathe, I will simply wash myself from a bucket of water. Transportation would be the most expensive part of the trip. The bus fare to and from the monastery is very cheap though and occasionally I could find myself a free ride on the back of a truck or motorcycle. The flight to and from the eastern countries would take up most of the budget, but as long as I have a couple hundred dollars to spare for minor purchases, I should be able to happily enjoy my stay in a monastic community. "If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change." -Buddhist saying

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