Euro Trip 2014 – A Travelogue

After every trip I think of so many things to write about. So many questions to explore about culture, language, cuisine and technology. But time is limited and life catches quickly!

So what should I write about by three week trip to Europe! I’ll try to capture the essence, some pictures, some tidbits and promise to write more later :). Before leaving I said to friends that I don’t really like Europe but I treasure the travel for opportunity to spend time with friends and family. And above everything else big goal was to practice traveling light. Continue reading

Bicycle Touring Victoria Islands

Over the labor day long weekend I did 3 day cycling tour in Victoria Islands with a good friend of mine. Given the ease of getting from Seattle, good camping and amazing riding – I would say this is a great tour to partake!

The first day we biked about 10km out to a park from the Victoria ferry terminal but then did a 20km round trip to Victoria to get dinner! On the second day we biked about 75km from Fort Victoria to Sooke Potholes park and then onward to French Beach Provincial Park and on the third day we make the journey back to Victoria covering about 65km.

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Fig 1. The Three Day Route

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Festival of Forgiveness – 2014

Over the past year, if I have hurt your feelings knowingly or un-knowingly in any way or form, please forgive me – Michammi Dukham, Khamat Khamana. I sincerely wish that you will also forgive my shortcomings.

So why ask for forgiveness?
Well, today is the “Shyamapana festival”. Shyamapana is a festival of forgiveness; its popular among folks of Jain faith. This day is a culmination of a weeklong fest of repentance called “Paryushan“. To quote an article :

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Santa Rosa Half Marathon

In addition to experiencing the California earthquake 25 miles from its epicenter in Napa, we had an eventful family weekend completing the Santa Rosa Half Marathon. We convinced Shriyansh to run and without training he finished his first half marathon in 2 hours 18 minutes and now he is hooked to run more! Last year we did this event as a family 5K, I guess someday we might consider a family marathon…

I did my all time best (official time – 2 hours 13 minutes for 13.1 miles) but wished I could have run a bit faster the second half (usually I’m able to). Following are my stats from the weekend –

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Prior to the run, I did a hard week of 8+ miles runs and had hurt my back. One lesson learnt from this half marathon is to stretch and take care of that back and not to over train!

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I’m thinking to sign up for the Seattle Rock n Roll in November, it will be great to keep to cadence of a half marathon every quarter or so! May be buy the Rock n Roll pass.

The Sramanas– Embracing Spiritual Hacking

Every year I try to keep some focus on fasting, meditation, spiritual pursuits and reflection during the week of Jain Paryushan. This year is no different – I’m making sometime to learn more about Jainism, other spiritualties and reflect. My goal is to complete reading the book “Goodness without God” this week, more on it later. In this post I wanted to focus on Sramanas, and their effect on world spirituality as early as 6 B.C.

Wikipedia talks following about Sramanas:

The Pāli samaṇa and the Sanskrit Śramaṇa refer to renunciate ascetic traditions from the middle of the 1st millennium BCE.[4] They were individual, experiential and free-form traditions, independent of society; and in religious competition with Brahmin priests, who as opposed to Śramaṇas, stressed mastery of texts and performing rituals.

Growing up I heard the word Sramana quiet a bit and it is mentioned fair times in the Jain religious scriptures I have by heart. Only this week I’m getting to learn more about the broader context of the movement and associated thoughts. The Shramanas were the free thinkers and spiritual hackers of their time. They gave up the worldly life and the existing Vedic traditions to explore and discover new ways. Since they didn’t believe in authority of Vedas they would be termed as Nastiks.

Among the multitude of Sramana movements a few created their own thought stream and philosophical or religious schools. The Carvakas believed in perception, and to an extent established one of the earliest hedonistic school of thought – in ones life equation net pleasure should be more than net pain. They did not believe in cycle of life and birth. On the other hand the Jains stressed on non-violence (Ahimsa) believed in karma, cycle of life and birth. Whereas the Buddhists thought stream believed in a middle ground. A notable fact in all of these philosophical and religious viewpoints is that they were the rebels or reforms in Vedic thought process (or the mainstream if you will), trying to simplify and make spirituality relevant from the technicalities of time. They were spiritual hackers!

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Fig 1. The Sramanas

So why did I pick to read “Good without God”? I think the Sramanas very much like the modern days atheists or agnostics did not believe in one almighty powerful force controlling the fate of each individual and the premise of “Good without God” seems to imply that. I’m looking forward to reading and learning more..

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Fig 2: Reading Assignment

Bicycle touring with me !

With Miyar Adventures I’m hoping to offer some guided bike rides this summer through early fall.

Currently  three trips are on the dock with flexible dates.

  • Seattle to Vancouver Bike Ride (3 days):
    cycle-ride
  • San Francisco to LA (6 days):
    cycle-ride-sf
  • Banff to Jasper (6 days):
    cycle-ride-jasper

I would love to gauge interest on this – please drop me a note if you would like to join.

I’m also game to host a seminar to go through the biking prep for long rides.

Learning to Ice Hockey!

Early in March (2014) Heidi, Colleen, Chris and myself started doing some public skating just for fun. In midst of our public skating and me almost not knowing how to skate – Colleen suggested that we sign up to learn how to play hockey. Heidi was eager to do so and in all my craziness I thought it will be cool learn skating my learning hockey! So we signed up an adult beginner ice hockey camp. Over period of 5 weeks I almost went from despair to actually having fun!
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