Why a Bus Tour of Laughter Clubs?
By Jeffrey Briar
“Where even strangers become your friends…”
(lyric from The Laughter Club Song, © 2010 Jeffrey Briar)
One of the best things about the Laughter Club experience is the development of feelings of friendship. Witnessing and being a part of this blossoming of genuine affection -even between people who have good (cultural) “reasons” not to be friends - is perhaps the main motivation for my having gone to Laughter Yoga Teacher Trainings every year since I attended my first one (Switzerland, May 2005). I did not need to go to Teacher Trainings because I needed to remember the information. I wanted to go to the Trainings, to meet and make new friends!
In preparation for each year’s Spring, I would contact my laughter buddies from past years’ trainings and arrange to visit them. Ideally, I’d go to a new Laughter Club (and be greeted by an old friend) every 2 or 3 days. The experience is indescribably wonderful: I am always welcomed like a cherished, long-lost relative, given the finest sleeping space (despite my protests), and everyone treats me with great honor and joy.
The sad part is the long train ride between friends. I finish a wonderful morning laughter session in Basel (“Auf wiedersehn, Girish!”), hop on a train to Paris (“Bienvenue, Fran?oise!”) - and now have 5 or 6 (sometimes 8 or 9) hours with no one to laugh with. : - (
After an hour or so of journaling, the train trip isn’t much fun. So last year, when I was about to begin another long, lonely ride in a train, I thought: Wouldn’t it be great if this whole train compartment was full of other people like me; and we were all going to the next Laughter Buddy’s house, together? What fun we would have on this ride! Thus was born the idea of a whole group of Laughter Lovers traveling together, going to different Laughter Clubs and Laughter Leaders’ homes, making friends and having fun - everywhere we go.
About a year ago I began contacting Laughter Pals in Europe in hopes of arranging a trip with many laughter-loving travel companions. Near the end of 2010, Anne Timpany (a recently-graduated Laughter Yoga Teacher from the USA) came on board the project, and we began working together to make the Bus Tour (and other Laughter Adventure Travel programs) come into reality. Thanks to Anne, we have a delightful website www.laughterbus.com and a fun video online. And one of the bus riders was Anne’s mom! (Another bus rider was my own mother, Ruthe Gluckson, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher). We wanted to share this awesome voyage with those we deeply love.
This time, instead of coordinating a lot of train trips, we rented a bus to make the travel even more convenient. With our own bus (and hired driver) we could stop whenever we wished: to enjoy a fabulous view, or just to get off the bus to stretch our legs - and leap onto the rolling green hills of Austria to sing “The Hills are Alive, with the Sound - of Laughter!”
The first Laughter Club Bus Tour took place in May (2011), visiting Laughter Leaders and Clubs in four countries:
• Switzerland (Basel, Interlaken - we met up with Dr. Kataria and his new batch of Teacher Trainees)
• Italy (Merano with our hostess Margot Regele; Venice - Anna Maria Parisi)
• Slovenia (Ljubljana - Andreja Kranjc; Maribor - Simona Krebs)
• Austria (Graz - Elfi Seher; Vienna - Thomas Topolanek; Salzburg - Ines Salfer and Gabi Fink)
In some cases, there was no Laughter Club meeting scheduled on any day that was convenient for our itinerary… so we had special events created just for the Laughter Club Bus riders (and the local laughter lovers, as well as others who joined us from all over Europe)! These special events included:
• Public Laughter Yoga Introduction/Sessions (one was in Venice in a park with grass and tall trees!)
• All-Gibberish Parties (an hour or more in duration)
• A Laughter Hike in the Woods
• Workshops and Seminars on “Laughter and Spirituality,” “Laughter and Creativity" e "Laughter Yoga Combined with Hatha Yoga,” and other topics
• Musical Concerts with themes dedicated to Laughter… and Romance!
• Playing/Frolicking and Film-Making in historic sites (castles, riverbanks, forests)
In Slovenia, on May 12, thanks to Simona Krebs and her supportive friends there was an All-Day Festival of Laughter, Music and Dance - hundreds of people attended!
Because of the potentially-large number of Bus riders, we did not stay in the homes of friends; hotel rooms were reserved (although, at the end of the trip, we had a home-stay at some Laughter Club members’ houses outside Salzburg).
This adventure was one the highlights of the lifetimes of all the people who were on the Laughter Club Bus Tour of Europe (the first!): May 6-15, 2011.
I hope you will join us next time. Our next trip will be in the Massachusetts area (New England, USA), October 17-23, 2011.
In Spring of 2012 we plan to return to Euroep for TWO Bus Trips: late April in the north of Italy, and late May/early June from Paris to Hamburg.
With Love and Laughter,
CLYL, CLYT, and Master Trainer for the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga
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