Please fill it out in detail, let us know why you really want to come on this bus tour, and why we should select you from among the many applicants. Carefully read the About the Tour, Guiding Principles, The Four Regulative Principles, and Seeing the Bus Tour as a Journey sections, and respond to the questions below each of these sections to let us know if you are willing and ready to put up with some of the austerities this tour will involve, in exchange for the many benefits.
Applications will be reviewed in the order they were received. Please respond as soon as possible and take the time to answer each question thoughtfully and in detail, where needed. Leave us your preferred messenger contact info so we can reach you in real-time for follow-up questions. We may also need to conduct a phone interview with you at some point.
The organizers reserve the right to accept or reject applications, for any reason, at their sole discretion.
The Euro Bus Tour is organized by volunteers for ISKCON Youth Ministry, to inspire youth in Krishna consciousness. Most of the organizers grew up in the movement and can relate to the challenges we face, as devotee youth, in balancing our material and spiritual needs.
On the Euro Bus Tour we want to offer you a retreat from ordinary life, and provide you with opportunities to absorb yourself in blissful, spiritual activities that fill your heart with joy, build strong friendships with like-minded devotee youth, and have amazing transformational experiences in Krishna consciousness. We’ll go on adventures, camping, swimming, hiking in the Alps, seeing some of the most beautiful sights and landscapes Europe has to offer. We’ll participate in Harinamas, Ratha-yatras and Kirtan festivals, and we’ll have our own morning and evening programs. There will be lots of opportunities to engage in practical devotional service, from beautifying temples to the daily services that make the tour run smoothly. Most of all, we hope to have a ton of fun on an extraordinary spiritual adventure together, making memories to last a lifetime.
A typical day on the tour might involve waking up around 6:00 AM, attending a youth-led morning program with kirtan and themed philosophical discussions based on our scriptures. Breakfast by 8:30, followed by a variety of activities during the day, such as sight-seeing, going on an adventure in the area, attending a workshop, playing sports, free time, or engaging in a service activity together at a temple. We'll help to prepare meals and clean up afterwards. On weekends we'll often go on Harinama Sankirtana in a nearby city. In the evenings, we'll sometimes perform our bus tour play (drama / theater production) for the local devotees or guests, followed by dinner prasad, a little chill time, and then we'll usually get ready to go to bed around 21:00 (9:00 PM), especially when staying at temples. It will be important to establish a routine of everyone going to bed at a similar time, and waking up at a similar time in the morning, so we're on a similar "awake" schedule for each day's activities.
One of the concerns we hear from applicants is that they're afraid the tour will be too strict. "Will I be required to wake up for mangala arati?" they ask. Or "do I have to chant a certain number of rounds?" The answer is no. While we want you to have an amazing spiritual experience on this tour, we will not force you to engage in spiritual activities. We require that you follow the four regulative principles and a few basic rules, and hope that you will demonstrate an interest and enthusiasm to participate in the spiritual activities. Devotional service to Krishna is based on love, it's a voluntary agreement, and we'll encourage each other to do our best. There will be some people on the tour who get up early, and some who don't. There will be some who chant more japa, and some less. There will be some who don't usually go on Harinama Sankirtan or attend regular programs at temples, but who will push themselves to the edge of their comfort zone to do so. Whatever level of spiritual commitment you're currently at in your life, we want you to feel welcome on the bus tour. We are here to inspire each other. None of us are perfect. Let's go on this spiritual adventure together.
Do become addicted to flooding your senses with the sweet nectar of kirtan, prasadam and serving the Vaishnava devotees and the Holy Name, and take up voluntary austerities (like traveling on the bus tour) to engage in spiritual activities that will be to your eternal benefit.
Every moment of our human life is precious. Take guidance and shelter in the good association of saintly Vaishnava devotees. Work on solving the real problems of your existence. Find out who you are, who Krishna is, what your relationship is, and how you can go back to your eternal home with Krishna, back to Godhead. Thinking you have all the time in the world to absorb yourself in material pursuits now, and become Krishna conscious another day, is risky business, much like gambling. Time is your most valuable asset, it's ticking away, moment by moment, and you have no guarantees that you have lots of it. If you gamble it away, you cannot buy back even one second with all the riches of the world.
Don't be the one kid who refuses to go to bed at night, and won't wake up until after breakfast. Don't be the stranger who hops off the bus at every sight-seeing opportunity and says "See you all in a couple of days when you're ready to leave." Give yourself to the process that is the bus tour; let Krishna's magic act on you and see what happens.
You've heard the proverb that you are what you eat, similarly, that you become who you associate with. On the bus tour we're trying to follow a Krishna diet for body, mind and soul. We're feeding our tongue Krishna prasadam, our mind the sound vibration of Krishna's Holy Name, our heart the loving exchanges of the interactions between Vaishnava devotees. We're training our eyes to see the world with Krishna-colored glasses. A seemingly mundane activity like hiking in the Alps can be transformed into a mystical spiritual experience when it's done with a group of devotees conversing about spiritual topics, with the mindset of seeing Krishna's amazing energies everywhere, murmuring the Holy Name on our japa beads while letting the breathtaking scenery sink in, stopping for snacks of Krishna prasadam sandwiches. The activity becomes spiritualized, and an opportunity to bond with Vaishnava devotees and develop meaningful friendships that will last a lifetime.
Or, you might suddenly find yourself in the middle of a city square, singing and dancing joyfully in an ecstatic Harinama Sankirtana procession, mesmerizing onlookers, who stop to ask what it's all about and might even walk away from the exchange with a prasadam cookie or a spiritual book. You begin to realize your good fortune, and that the curious onlooker's lives have just been changed forever by appreciating the Holy Names and the devotees who were merciful enough to go out of their way to share Them. In such situations, magic happens. Special Krishna Shakti energy flows through your heart and overwhelms you, as you begin to realize you've just been an instrument acting on Krishna's behalf, sharing little drops of immortal nectar with the fortunate souls who happened to be nearby. Little by little, with experiences like that, your heart becomes transformed, and before you know it, you want more. And you begin to realize that we, the next generation youth, can do this. We can help continue the Sankirtana Movement of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in our little way, distributing the ripened fruits of Love of Godhead to every person in every town and village, passing on the gifts that we have been given.
While sitting casually around a campfire, you might find yourself immersed in a really deep conversation with another devotee youth who is going through similar struggles in life. You begin to realize you're not alone, that you now have a whole new family of devotee friends who will be there to support you in good times and in bad.
And that, in a nutshell, is the bus tour. Creating a series of extraordinary experiences with lots of devotee youth your age where Krishna's magic can happen, and then just waiting to see how it unfolds. So why not give it a try. Go with the flow, embark on the journey, and see where it takes you.