Jeff Bristol sat down with two long-time Fitness Quest 10 Clients, Bonnie and Krishna Arora, to discuss the power of giving back, and to get the inside scoop on a LIFE CHANGING trip coming up in the new year!
The story behind every charily project Bonnie and Krishna Arora have been involved with almost always unfolds from an adventure of theirs. They admit to having no clue a project is headed their way, and shared a few interesting stories with us!
Jeff Bristol: Can you tell our listeners, what is the Camino De Santiago?
Bonnie: The Camino De Santiago is a network of pilgrimage roots from all over Europe. The destination point is Santiago Point Estella in the western part of Spain above Portugal where they believe they have the remains of Saint James the Apostle, who had come after Jesus died and came to Spain to preach.. He went back to Jerusalem, and was beheaded… his followers brought him back and he was buried on the West Coast of Spain. In then became a pilagrame root in the middle ages, people would go either to Jerusalem, Rome, or Santiago Point Estella, so the roots developed from all over Europe. On the main root that starts in the Pyrenees, its 500 miles.. You can’t get lost because there are markings, if you haven’t seen a Camino marking, which is a yellow arrow or scalloped shell, you’ll know that you’re lost. It’s become really popular in recent days because of different documentaries, and it’s been on the news. But there are other roots all over Europe that will converge into Santiago.
Jeff: How many times have you done the Camino De Santiago? And what was your initial motivation to do it the first time?
Krishna: So we believe that everything happens for a reason. Both Bonnie and I made an agreement that after we retire we will do a Hindu Pilgrimage and a Catholic Pilgrimage. We had no idea how these two pilgrimages would affect our lives. One thing led to another and our lives evolved in so many different ways. So, the Hindu Pilgrimage took us to the four corners of India and the Catholic Pilgrimage took us to the Camino De Santiago. It’s amazing when you’re walking the Camino, you really become apart of nature, every step, and every moment you feel like it’s a miracle. So our focus of walking the Camino and the Hindu Pilgrimage affected us in the sense led us to put more emphasis on our spiritual needs opposed to our materialistic needs. So that’s how this whole journey on walking the Camino Started and that was in 2002. As a matter of fact that’s how we found Fitness Quest 10. In 2002 we wanted to get physically prepared and here we are 17 years later, and still a very big part of Fitness Quest 10, cause we feel that FQ10 has played a very significant role in our lives to help us become who we are today.
Jeff: How has each trip added to your life?
Krishna: It certainly has helped us become who we are today. When you become apart of nature, you have a lot of time to reflect on your life and your relationships with others. It brings internal peace, and it sure has made a difference for us. One thing you realize is how little you need in life. You’re walking for days, and days, and you realize you can live off of so little Why do you need all these things you have at home? I think that’s one reason that encouraged us to do a big downside. We left our big home, and moved into a condo. It’s been a life changing experience to us.
Jeff Bristol: I know that community service and philanthropy is a huge part of your life. Tell us a little bit about your service work, and why this has been such a big part of your retirement life?
Krishna: So the funny part is, we never look for a service project. One thing leads to another and long behold we are engaged in building a footbridge in the Peruvian Andes. I’ll give you an example: We were hiking the trail leading up to Masapitchu…
Bonnie: It was our 34th Anniversary, we were actually on the Camino and wanted to go to Masapitchu, and the tourguide said “well, don’t just visit Masapitchu, you’re storing enough to do the Inca trail” and they encouraged us to, and then when we looked at the trail they said “Do you want to sleep in tents every night” and we didn’t, so we did a day hiking trip and our tour guide was an American living in Cusco, she had a fulbright scholarship to study the ethmicialogy of the Caros people who live in the isolated parts of the Andes. So people from that area came and met us on the Camino that day, and since it was our anniversary they did an Inca type ritual to bless our marriage. It took over 2 hours, and we got really connected to these people, they’re very loving. We told them that if there’s any way that we could help to let them know. We kept in touch, and they wanted to build a footbridge because their current footbridge that gets them from their higher elevation down to where their crops are, they make it with sticks and mud, and the rain washes it out every year. So we are providing the funds for a permanent footbridge. They went to the nearest town, talked to the mayer, and it became a political project for him. An architect designed the bridge, the people who live there did the building, and we provided the funds. So we had to come back to visit it… And that’s when we started sleeping in tents…
We’ve gone back twice, had a community home built for them, we had our rotary club help get behind putting solar panel on one of the schools which provides enough electricity for 20 light bulbs. We do a lot of projects in San Diego as well.
Jeff Bristol: So you’re very involved with your rotary club?
Krishna: We have done several projects through rotary, but we do a lot of projects totally on our own. We have donor advised fund with the San Diego foundation and through that we supported THIS project of building the footbridge. We have remedial school that offers remedial classes to the children that live in slum communities of new delhi. We support them every year, and because of our contributions they were able to add 52 kids to the curriculum. We go and meet them every year, they look forward to our visit. We did 2 projects though Rotary in Pakistan, but that’s a whole other story.. Like I said one thing just leads to another. The genesis of who we are today really goes back Hindu pilgrimage and Catholic pilgrimage that we did back in 2002.
Jeff Bristol: It’s in the giving that you receive, you guys have experienced it alot!
Krishna: I think one reason we have been so successful in accomplishing these things is because both of us are always on the same page. If we’re going to do any project, any travel we are always on the same page. That bring us a lot of joy, satisfaction, and makes it more meaningful.
Jeff Bristol: Anything else you want to say about this particular trip?
Bonnie: When you do the Camino you can do it just with your backpack on your own, or van supported. And this trip is van supported and we’ve become very good friends with the people that run this van. She said she doesn’t have time, but she will for a week to support this trip.
The Camino De Santiago trip is limited to 16 people and there’s only about 10 spots left. Early bird special is just 2500 Euros (~$2,700 USD) by October 15th! Talk to Fitness Quest General Manager, Jeff Bristol, to learn more.