Fascinated with ancient cultures and global music from a young age, Simon Yugler is on a lifelong journey to bring people together through celebrating the wisdom and beauty of world cultures. With an academic background in anthropology and religion, Simon has found himself studying the didgeridoo with a tribe of Aboriginal Australians, living on the banks of the Southern Nile, traveling East Africa overland, participating in Zimbabwean ancestral ceremonies, and learning from indigenous shamans in Peru. He currently writes about transformational travel for his blog, Travel Alchemy, and when not abroad, can be found enjoying life in Oregon.
My mission is to facilitate initiatory transformation through cross-cultural experiences, and to live a life that inspires wonder and catalyzes change. I believe that in connecting with the diversity of human cultures, the beauty of the natural world, and with our deepest selves, lies the surest path to finding meaning in our lives.
Most Transformational Travel Experience
In 2009, fueled by an academic grant, I spent the summer traveling across Australia, finally settling in an Aboriginal community at the farthest reaches of the Northern Territory.
On my final day on the continent, I caught up with my “uncle,” a local elder and community leader who I had developed a special friendship with. We came to know each other at the annual Garma Festival, a massive gathering that hosted many local tribes and families, as well as a handful of intrepid white attendees.
We would sit on the ground, often in silence, while he and his wife would watch the young people dance in the traditional style- kicking sand through the air, making war-like gestures and imitating the animals that inhabit the Dreamtime landscape. Amidst the peaceful rustling of eucalyptus trees, sounds of the didgeridoo and clap-sticks reverberated through the balmy night, carried by songs sung in an ancient language that I would never comprehend.
Placing his hand on my shoulder, he bid me farewell. “I’ve never met a white person like you before,” he said.
“You listen to us, and you understand.”
In that moment, I knew that no matter what came of my research, my journey had been a success.
“Be a traveler, not a tourist. Value experiences over possessions. Life is a mythic journey- Embrace it!”