Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
On this page you will find the answers to these common questions regarding the Yatra:
- What should I bring?
- Can I stay in contact with friends and family?
- What if I cannot come?
- Who can participate?
- Are children welcome?
- How much does the Yatra cost?
- How do I register?
- What do the teachers do?
- Will all of the Yatra be in silence?
- Will the Yatra be different from previous years?
- How far do we walk each day?
- How often do we move camp?
- Do I have to carry my luggage?
- What is the registration fee for?
- Why are you asking for a registration fee for children?
- Will I be able to help out on the Yatra?
- What about my car, where can I leave it?
- What will the weather be like?
- Do I need to speak French?
- When can I join or leave the Yatra?
- Can I bring my dog, my cat, my pet fleas?
What should I bring?
Please pack lightly, with a maximum of 15 kg per bag, 10 kg or less being preferable. All the luggage has to be transported to each new site! Bear in mind the volunteers who will arrange the luggage into the vans, so 2 smaller neatly packed bags are better than one very heavy bag.
Travel lightly! The Yatra is not a fashion contest, choose a sensible amount of easy going and comfortable clothes.
You need to bring with you the following:
- Tent - DO NOT BRING a single skin tent. Whatever they may tell you in the shop, they are NOT waterproof.)
- Camping mat and a warm sleeping bag. (It can be cold in the evening/night times even in the south of France!)
- Sun hat and protective clothing for hot and sunny weather
- Waterproofs (umbrella, jacket, leggings) for wet weather
- Warm jumper or jacket for cool weather and for fresh evenings and mornings
- Good walking sandals, shoes or boots
- Water bottle(s) at least for 1 liters preferably for more
- A box for the lunch (baguette) sandwich
- A small bag for the walk
- Sun screen, insect repellent, blister plasters
- A torch and spare batteries
- Cup, plate, bowl and cutlery
- Toiletries, towel, swim wear, etc
- If possible all soap, tooth paste, shampoo etc should be eco-friendly and biodegradable (they will stay in the nature)
- Driver's license if you are willing to drive one of the hired vehicles or if you are a parent who will share in driving the crèche vehicle (please contact us to send a scan or photocopy before July)
To help you with packing we have compiled a list of the items in excel format (.xls)
Be aware that opportunities for shopping on the Yatra will be very limited and only for essential needs.
Can I stay in contact with friends and family?
The Yatra is happening in a countryside area where mobile phones are not always connected. Some days you’ll be able to phone, others not...
Naturally there are no cybercafés and we cannot be responsible for any lost or broken electronic devices, so we recommend to leave them at home. There will not be any electricity on the Yatra so they will quickly run out of power.
What if I cannot come?
If your plans change and you need to cancel please inform us straight away via the Contact page. Many times we have a waiting list and your place will allow someone else to attend.
Please note that your €100 registration fee is non-refundable.
Who can participate?
Anyone who can walk and wants to explore Dharma. But the Yatra, moving nearly every day, can be a real challenge for those with health problems and for parents with young children
Parents and children are welcome but the Yatra is not a family camp! Parents with meditation experience will hopefully find it easy to continue their practice with their children. Nevertheless, the practical constraints due to the presence of one’s children make practice difficult, especially if it’s new.
For single parents, we advise to come with someone your child knows and who can share everyday logistics. A minibus, run under the responsibility of the parents, will provide the possibility for children to walk only a half day (morning) by picking them up at the lunch spot and bringing them to the Yatra campsite. Note that we are limiting the amount of children at 25 for various practical reasons.
Are children welcome?
Children of all ages are very welcome on the yatra and it can be a wonderful and enriching experience to come as a family. There can be challenges for both parents and children and also lots of good support. Everybody needs to be able to walk at least for half a day. Small children can be carried and older ones walk in the mornings. Usually there is the option for them to be transported back to the camp in the afternoon accompanied by as many parents as necessary allowing other parents to walk.
Most important is that everybody needs to be flexible and realistic about keeping up with yatra rhythms and the practicalities of life with children on the move. Single parents and large families are encouraged to come along with a friend for extra support.
How much does the Yatra cost?
On the Yatra we are trying to work in a different paradigm than price, fee and worth. For this reason the Yatra is entirely supported by donations, but in two somewhat different ways.
Firstly we have the Shared Costs which we hope will cover the costs of the Yatra; all the practical things that have to be bought and prepared for the event to happen.
Secondly we have Dana a freely given act of generosity to support the acts of kindness, wisdom and care offered by the teachers and organisers.
How do I register?
To register for the Yatra please use our Online Booking Form when you are ready to commit. Please book early as places can go fast with 125 adults as our maximum. Once we receive your form we will send you a request for the registration fee, your place will be confirmed only after we receive that fee.
What do the teachers do?
The teachers will offer guided meditations, meditation instructions, facilitate small groups, give short talks and meet with people individually, if requested. Teachings will be given directly in English with French translation, or in French with English translation, but only in those two languages. Christopher is the senior teacher, accompanied by other teachers. Christopher has participated in every Yatra since we began in 2001. Visit our page about this years teachers for more details.
Will all of the Yatra be in silence?
The walking, as well as meditation periods, are held in silence. Other times of the day allow for structured discussions and teachings, and unstructured connection with Sangha (also known as hanging out). The Yatra explores the integration of silence and solitude, with relationship and interaction. The meditation tent will always stay silent, aside from the time for teachings.
Will the Yatra be different from previous years?
Each Yatra is unique but also similar to the others. While the spirit stays the same, the location, weather and people do change.
How far do we walk each day?
Between 8 and 15 km. Some days are only half-days of walking, to allow for rest, and for more Dharma activities. We walk in single file with regular (usually hourly) 10-15 minute breaks.
How often do we move camp?
We usually spend two nights at each site, so we have a rhythm of one day moving the whole Yatra infrastructure, and one day of making a circular walk.
Do I have to carry my luggage?
No. We hire vehicles to carry the luggage, however we do ask that you pack lightly. If 150 people have 15kgs, that already is more than 2 tons to transport! It’s only possible if everyone is reasonable and packs light!
During the day you only need to carry a bottle of water, rain gear if appropriate, sun protection and your valuables.
What is the registration fee for?
The registration fee helps us cover some of the expenses needed before the start of the Yatra. It also adds a level of commitment from the people who register to participate. In 2006, we didn't have a deposit, we were soon oversubscribed and had to turn some people away. At the event itself about 40 registered participants didn’t show up. We realised we need some system so that all the people who wish to come can. Since we introduced this registration fee only 2 or 3 persons have ended up not coming.
Why are you asking for a registration fee for children?
Although many of us may imagine that children don't cost much to have around on an event like the Yatra. In reality there are a few extra expenses we need to cover to have the pleasure of their company. Among these expenses is the renting of an extra minibus.
The registration fee assists with the set up costs for child specific expenses, as well as helping with the other general expenses of the Yatra.
Will I be able to help out on the Yatra?
The Yatra needs you! Everything from route planning to vegetable chopping is an act of dana; a donation of kindness and support. During the Yatra we need people to help in the kitchen, site crew, washing up and so forth as well as driving various vehicles. There will be a work rota to sign up for at the beginning of the Yatra. Please come prepared to help.
If you are willing to drive one of the vehicles, you need to be more than 21 and must have had your driving licence for more than 3 years. If you are interested in helping with some driving please contact us to send a scan or photocopy of your license before July.
What about my car, where can I leave it?
There will be a field for the cars near the starting point of the Yatra. They will stay there during the 10 days. At the end a van will bring the drivers back to pick them up. The directions to get to this parking will be sent with the confirmation of your place on this years Yatra (after you register).
What will the weather be like?
Generally it is warm in August in this area of France. Bring suntan lotion, a summer hat and a bathing suit. (It is not proper to swim naked in some places!). The evening times can be surprisingly cold, and it can easily rain during the Yatra. Please bring warm clothes for the evening and night and rain gear in case of summer storms. If a heavy storm comes it can be very chilly.
Do I need to speak French?
No. All announcements, signs and talks are given in both English or French, with much translation from one to the other throughout the event.
When can I join or leave the Yatra?
Only on the first and on the last day of the Yatra. The Yatra lasts 10 days, without any change-over day like in the previous years.
Can I bring my dog, my cat, my pet fleas?
To help us offer a hygienic event with an outside kitchen, young children, cattle, road hazards, etc, we regret that animals are not invited on the Yatra. Thank you for respecting that.