"When I signed up to go to Tibet with Dianne, I told her all I wanted to do was what most people never get to do—meet real people living their daily lives, with me as a bystander—or hopefully even a part of it. One day in the street of a large Tibetan town, I met some Americans who were on a tour. They loved their tour, but the one thing they wanted to do was stop the sightseeing and really spend time with Tibetans. Not me. I was living in a village down the road, spending all of my time getting the up close and personal experience.
Dianne provided me with an adventure I will never forget. We stayed with Tibetan families, ate with them, went to the hot springs, watched their kids dance and play and herd yaks. We spent time with monks and nuns and elderly neighbors. We laughed a lot. When I left, I felt as if I had just acquired a new family—I was totally connected to them and them to me.
I was also on an India tour with Dianne in 2006—she goes the extra ten miles for the tour guests and has an upbeat, we-can-do-this attitude that is reassuring and infectious."
"Every now & then there are experiences in one's life that create a huge shift in one's psychic-events that are life altering. My trip to India with Diane and Carol was one of those life altering events. Sitting at the Norling Cafe at Norbulinka I wrote in my journal:
'I am sitting in the filtered sun, the birds singing, not quite able to absorb it all - the contrast, the intensity - the beauty; the pollution; the indescribable poverty; the feelings of love, sadness, joy & most of all a feeling of intense appreciation for the human spirit. At some level I sense that someplace deep inside a foundation of understanding is forming which will help me live my life with more compassion, courage & inspiration."
"The spiritual tour of 2000 led by Dianne Aigaki and Carol Adrienne, and the magnificent scenery of the Himalayas was a perfect match. Looking out over these great mountains on an early morning listening to the chant of the monks --- magic.
The entire tour was packed full of activities, meeting spiritual people of every level, learning firsthand of the plight of the Tibetan people, their culture and their beautiful attitude. Visiting monasteries and nunneries, hearing them talk about their lives and spirituality and learning about their way of life was a truly enlightening experience.
Dianne's enthusiasm and knowledge of the area, the people, and the Tibetan culture together with her forever cheerful personality made this expedition both enjoyable and memorable, one I will treasure for years to come. Thank you Dianne!"
"Visiting the Tibetan community in Dharamsala was more inspiring than I even imagined. There was a magical chemistry present in the grandeur of the scenery, the ancient cultures of India and Tibet, the outstanding spiritual leaders with whom we met privately, the people who came together from all over the world for this trip, the natural good humor of everyone, and the openness to new experiences that made this journey a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The glue that held the magic was Dianne Aigaki's knowledge of the area and her contacts and relationships which brought us into the heart of the spiritual community -- not to mention her desire to serve the group, her never-failing humor and her fearless leadership. Am I gushing? I actually mean every word of it."
co-leader of the 2000 expedition.
". . . We embarked on the trip hoping to experience India and Dharamsala on terms only an "insider" like Dianne could offer, but we discovered much more. Yes, it proved to be an adventure on a recreational level as we encountered the sites/shops of India, but importantly, it proved to be an adventure on both spiritual and educational levels.
We felt extremely fortunate in meeting with many members and organizations of the Tibetan community of Dharamsala. While they were grateful for our charitable donations, we felt we received the greater gift for having met them all. We left with a sense of spirit, knowledge and understanding difficult to obtain through TV news, photos, books or magazines. Getting to know Dianne, Carol and the Tibetan and Indian communities proved to be the lasting of all the memories..."
May and Jeff Young
"Dharamsala 2000 wasn't a typical tourist tour. This kaleidoscopic view of the Tibetan Life-in-Exile became a meaningful experience through the personal, inspirational stories of the refugees' struggles for escape from Chinese oppression and their efforts in this beautiful Himalayan setting to preserve their traditions of culture, religion, and language and to prepare for the return to their homes and families in Tibet eventually.
Our days were filled with opportunities to visit monasteries, nunneries, temples, schools, museums, libraries, medical institutes, and handicraft centers to learn about Tibetan ways. Individuals could choose to participate or not according to their interests, needs, and energy. Sometimes shopping or resting became priority options.
One of the most satisfying aspects of the tour was giving directly to people or projects in need and seeing the immediate effects for the living conditions and education of these wonderful people.
Due to Dianne's work with the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, we had the privilege of meeting with some very special people like the Dalai Lama's sister, Ghandi's grandson, and the Karmapa, the future spiritual leader who had just escaped from Tibet. Each encouter topped the next!
Our group was quite congenial and the trip was just long enough to keep it that way. The most difficult part was the long bus ride from Delhi to Dharamsala but the experience once there was well worth it!"
Carol A. Geer, Ph.D.
Santa Barbara, California
"Reflecting back on my experience is always pleasure; my trip to Dharamsala was unique and I think I can say, absolutely cathartic. The colors and landscapes are what I seem to remember most; I found Diannes' India to be very beautiful... I can't imagine a better way to experience that part of the world, especially if it's your first time. It's all true; still such a wonderful memory for me."