A Rebel is someone who has decided to make an impact on the world NO MATTER WHAT, and a pilgrimage is a journey with a purpose to a place of great significance.
The Rebel Pilgrimage India is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a small group of Rebels on an extraordinary journey across the Indian Subcontinent based on spirituality, selfless service, and a lot of fun.
There’s no experience like this available in the world.
My name is John T Strasser, and I am the creator of Rebel Against Yourself.
The Rebel Pilgrimage India is not a vacation or some exotic trip…
It’s a chance to understand the true reality of the world…
To see for yourself the happiness, the levity, the suffering, and the sometimes shocking…
And to appreciate your own life more and be forever changed as a result of the experience.
To the eyes, India is a kaleidoscope of images…
A wonderful medley of human and Divine flavors…
Colorful, beautiful, sensual, and teeming with vitality.
India is compelling in a way that can never be fully described…
It can only be experienced.
My first world religions professor said, “True understanding comes only from experience.”
“And if you want to understand yourself,” he continued, “you must understand others.”
My first visit to India was in 2010, and it forever changed the direction of my life.
In my mid-thirties and pursuing a bachelor’s degree back then, I immediately changed my major to religion.
After focusing on Indian religions, which included the chance to live and do research in New Delhi, I graduated and went on to pursue a master’s degree in South Asian Studies at Columbia University.
There I studied Buddhism and Sufism, while completing my graduation thesis on Hinduism.
I speak a good amount of Hindi, and I’ve been back to India 12 times.
As a result of all of this, I have an incredible ability to help you make sense of everything you see from an outsider’s perspective, but with the insight of an insider.
This is key, and this is also what differentiates this experience from any other trip you could take.
The Rebel Pilgrimage India is not a tour you would sign up for where you are taken by tourist bus to all the major tourist spots.
We will be traveling as Indians travel, across the country on Indian Railway Trains and throughout the cities by auto-rickshaws, metro trains, cars, and of course by foot.
We will be visiting the houses of worship of all the world’s great religious traditions, learning about them firsthand and in some cases actually practicing them.
And we will be embracing the human connection through selfless service, giving to others what we cherish the most and can’t get back—our time.
I love India in such a deep way I cannot even understand it myself.
The sights, the sounds, the smells… the Subcontinent has become for me my own personal place of pilgrimage—sometimes aggravating, always challenging, yet delightfully fulfilling and forever calling me back.
With you, I want to share all that I love about India… if you’re the right fit.
Here’s how The Rebel Pilgrimage India works…
► The journey is 10 days long, and 6 people will be going, including me. This is the perfect size group.
► Saturday, March 7, 2020
►We meet in New Delhi where we will stay at a Buddhist Temple with monks and other lay practitioners.
► We officially begin the pilgrimage by spending the day helping to feed thousands of people at one of the most important Sikh temples in the world.
► In addition to visiting the most amazing temples, including the world’s largest Hindu temple as well as the Lotus Temple, we will visit Gandhi’s house where he took his final steps before being murdered.
► Monday, March 9
► On our third day in New Delhi, along with thousands of locals, we will celebrate Holi, the festival of colors and one of the two most important holidays of the year in India. We will get to “play Holi” by throwing colored liquids and powders at each anyone and everyone in public. Doing this in India has been by far my funnest experience there!
► Holi is many things. It is a celebration of the coming of spring, a time of fertility, love, renewal, and rejuvenation of the land. In India, it is harvest time, not just the fruit of the crops, but of human passions as well. Among the celebrants, there is a tremendous sense of excitement and also forgiveness, as partakers let go of grudges and attempt to begin the new season in a friendly atmosphere. Holi also functions as a New Years holiday. While New Years in America consists of people drinking to celebrate the end of the previous year, similarly in the case of Holi, there is a process of commemorating the disintegration of time—letting go of the past year and marking it with ritual through another form of debauchery—playing Holi.
► Wednesday, March 11
► After a few days in New Delhi, we will take an over-night train to Varanasi, the holiest city in India located along the banks of the Ganges River where the bodies of devoted Hindus are cremated. A firsthand experience of the notion of impermanence, witnessing this can be life-altering.
► In the city of Lord Shiva, the great ascetic and yogi, we will have the opportunity to practice yoga along the banks of the Ganges River (no experience necessary) as well as attend one of the most spectacular fire rituals in the world—an offering of light to Ganga Ma, the goddess.
► We will also spend half a day working with underprivileged children and adults at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Varanasi, a much smaller facility than the one in Calcutta.
► Friday, March 13
► After 2 days in Varanasi, we will board an airplane and continue heading east to Calcutta, our final destination near the border of Bangladesh.
► In Calcutta, we will volunteer at Mother Teresa’s House, mostly likely at the home for the sick or the home for the dying, although we usually get to choose where we volunteer. During the 2018 Pilgrimage, one pilgrim chose to volunteer with infants at one home while the rest of us volunteered at the home for the dying.
► At Mother’s House, you will begin to grasp the impact she made on the world and continues to make beyond her death. It’s a museum, but a living one with pilgrims visiting from all over the world. We will have an opportunity to begin the day attending mass very early the morning with her nuns. Her body is there as well, encased in marble and adorned with garlands of flowers.
► Pilgrimage ends Tuesday, March 17
► We return to New Delhi on a flight to connect with our return flights home.
Here’s what Matthew, one of our 2018 Pilgrims, wrote about his experience…
“I am 56 years old. I have raised 4 children and been married to one wonderful woman for 23 years. I have had many amazing experiences and accomplished many things in my life. However, the two and a half weeks we spent together in India rank as some the most important time in my life.
The whole experience of India is indescribable: the spiritual culture, the generous warm hearted people, the colors, the tastes, the views!
But with the center of our trip being “service to others” it went from being a fun adventure to a deep and abiding experience that will remain with me forever.
From feeding the hungry in New Delhi with the Sikhs to working with the mentally handicapped in Varanasi to finally working with the sick and dying in Calcutta the profundity of theses experiences and depth of these human connections cannot be quantified.
I went to India to change my heart. Because of the trip you planned and the guidance you provided that mission was accomplished.
Your understanding of the broad and sometimes confusing culture was invaluable to the trips success.
Your facility with the language was equally invaluable.
But it was mostly your ease and comfort with India itself that helped us all relax and open ourselves to the absolute dazzling sensory overload that India expresses at every turn.
Walking along the Ganges with you in Varanasi and meeting the holy men and the beggars while watching the people cleanse themselves in the river will be a memory I will always treasure.
Making friends in bookshops and yoga studios and in various temples was part of the richness of this unique experience.
I can go on and on and still not even touch the truth and vibrant presence of what still lingers inside me from our pilgrimage. My whole family noticed the change in me.
So, thank you, John, for your sharing freely of your knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm for the vastness of all that is India.
Because of you it will rank among one of the most important experiences of my adult life. Let’s go back in 2020!”
The cost of the Pilgrimage is $6000.
What’s NOT included in the price:
► Your flights to India and home (usually $1000 or less).
► Your India Visa ($135), vaccinations (approximately $200 to $300 if your insurance doesn’t cover them), and travel insurance ($40).
What IS included in the price:
► Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
► Many surprises.
► Your own private room each night in a very comfortable hotel and at the Buddhist Temple.
► Train and plane tickets and all other transportation expenses.
► Admission tickets as well all expenses related to our daily activities.
► Copies of the extraordinary pictures and videos I will be taking.
► And my expertise and ability to make this experience truly unbelievable!
The Rebel Pilgrimage India is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the stuff dreams are made of.
And it’s not just about the journey…
It’s about who you become along the way…