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first class in my new field was solely on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. It was in that class where I made a pact with myself that I would one day travel to Tibet to see the origi- nal home of the Dalai Lama, otherwise known as the Potala Palace. I had always admired those who made spiritual pil- grimages and now I had one to com- plete myself.


Well, it took me almost 7 years to make that pilgrimage, but I finally did it and it was even better than I had imagined! I had been traveling throughout China for 2 weeks before I entered Tibet. I flew into Lhasa, the capitol of the autonomous re- gion, via Xi’an. Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world; therefore it is crucial that one rest for about 24 hours after one has arrived. I sadly did not have a lot of time in Tibet, thus I ventured out right away. Of course, I got a nasty case of altitude sickness, except I did not let that stop me from my mission the next day. The Potala Palace has been the resi- dence of various Dalai Lama’s since


1645. Up until 1959 it was the home of the 14th Dalai Lama, except he was forced to flee Tibet due to a Chinese military invasion. He then found reli- gious asylum in Dharamsala, India and has remained there ever since.


As the car that I was in drove up to the front of the massive monument my heart began to flutter with excitement. It is always such a powerful experience when one’s dreams are realized and never are words enough in describing the emo- tions associated with that experience.


The climb to the top of the palace is definitely not for the weary. To reach it one must walk slopping stone walls that reach about 350 feet, or the equiva- lent of 13 stories high. Even though I felt physically terrible, I was definitely on a high. I just kept remembering sitting in my classes dreaming about this place and now as I was actually there it was quite surreal! Throughout my travels, I have discovered that usually the most special places to get to require some


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