A Family's Exploration Of Gross National Happiness

We zoom-called Kathi to discuss the (March 2023) trip we designed for her family in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Here are a few excerpts.

So, why Bhutan?

Well, it's such a precious gem; a country that has remained untouched by it's powerful neighbours, and one that thrives in harmony with nature. Guarding ancient traditions, it stands at the threshold of what our humanity needs more of - tolerance, integrity in human rights, and respect for mother nature. We wanted to experience living Buddhism, and see first hand Bhutan's quest to make history by continuing to implement and uphold the unique philosophy of 'gross national happiness'.

What were you hoping to experience on this trip?

To feel the pulse of the people and the spirit of their traditions - to immerse ourselves in the arts and spirituality of the land.

Do you feel like you managed to feel the true essence of Bhutan, and its people?

Yes, we were very impressed by our authentic integration into the country immediately upon arrival, and subsequently our deep cultural immersion during the rest of our trip. The entire week was embellished with inspiring conversations with individuals who are at the forefront of their work in Bhutan. From musicians and dancers, to royal environmental advisors, yoga practitioners and our wonderful guide; each and every one provided the cultural stimuli for us to weave an incredible journey through the country and provide insight into what we, as part of humanity, should work towards during our time on planet earth. The whole trip felt like spiritual and philosophical poetry in motion.

To what extent did Whistling Arrow deliver what you were looking for?

Multiple unique and truly value-added experiences (at least as many as we could fit into a one week trip) were definitely delivered, and in comfort. Our ten year old daughter was also in such good hands, and made a deep and friendly connection with our guide, who, even within such a short period of time, became like an older sister to her.

What was the highlight of the trip for you all?

We particularly enjoyed glamping, with local people from all around. We could have stayed longer in Haa, learning the local dances, and enjoying the songs more. We also loved visiting the nunnery, and went back for a second visit. There too would we could easily have just stayed for a few days. With that said, we will be back!

With hindsight is there anything you didn't do that you would have liked to?

In the Tigers Nest, perhaps I would have liked to have participated in a more focused ritual. We had heard about certain esoteric practices on how to prepare for death, and would have been interested in going deeper into such practices.

Would you recommend Bhutan, and Whistling Arrow to other families?

I already have. I recommended Whistling Arrow to two friends recently - Maria and Katrina, who I am sure will contact you in regards to Bhutan. I would also love to return and follow up with those that we met, and would be keen to bring a group to do a retreat one day - something to discuss further with you when the time is right.
Thanks again,