Hotel Royal Dreams: Matt Gessel

Matt Gessel: Hotel Royal Dreams

Time was rendered irrelevant as we traversed continents and time zones, The world’s premier airports each posed unique moods and settings, yet none were comparable to the sensation of stepping into the thick air of Amritsar, India. Instantly, all five senses were bombarded as we loaded the duffels and headed for the Golden Temple. Adrenaline rushed as we experienced the seemingly lawless and infinitely chaotic roads, and navigated the vegetarian menu of an Amritsar McDonalds.. Ultimately, a dark night’s travel took us to the Hotel Royal Dreams in Chamba. Through it felt like a dream, it was entirely real. We had arrived.


The first full day in Chamba brought tasty Indian cuisine and a visit to the YMAD Girl’s House, where the expedition met the smart, happy, girls. The tangible ability of YMAD to change lives was evident as we loved and played. The results of this work are real.


Twisty, narrow mountain highways took us above sheer cliffs and past herds of goats, until we stopped at the entrance to the school of Koh. Described by Jonah as “the best moment of my life so far,” thirty glowing schoolchildren swarmed us with smiles and hugs, making real the joy and love seen in previous expedition videos. Goodwill was abundant as we taught, played with, and loved the children of Chamba. The feeling can’t be summed into words, but it is real and irreplaceable. And more will come