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Why a Bus Tour of Laughter Clubs?Jeffrey Briar, USA: “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 2011, 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 will be Anne’s mom!  (Another bus rider will be my own mother, Ruthe Gluckson, Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher).  We want to share this awesome voyage with those we deeply love.

This time, instead of coordinating a lot of train trips we’ll rent a bus to make the travel even more convenient. With our own bus (and hired driver) we can stop whenever we wish:  if we see a fabulous view, or if we just want 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 will take place this May (2011), and we will visit Laughter Leaders and Clubs in four countries:

•    Switzerland (Basel, where our greeter/host will be Girish Dave; Interlaken - we’ll meet up with Dr. Kataria and his new batch of Teacher Trainees)
•    Italy (Merano and 4 other towns - 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 will have special events created just for the Laughter Club Bus riders (and the local laughter lovers, as well as others who will join us from all over Europe)!  These special events will include:

•    Public Laughter Yoga Introduction/Sessions (one in Venice in a piazza near the famous Rialto Bridge)
•    All-Gibberish Parties  (an hour, to a full evening, in duration)
•    Laughter Hikes in the Woods
•    Workshops and Seminars on “Laughter and Spirituality,” “How to Create New Laughter Exercises,” 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 will be an All-Day Festival of Laughter, Music and Dance - 300 to 1,000 people are expected to attend!
Because of the possible number of Bus riders (we are planning for twenty joyful souls), we don’t expect to stay in the homes of friends; hotel rooms have been reserved (although, at the end of the trip, we may offer a home-stay at some Laughter Club members’ houses outside Salzburg).

This adventure is certain to be one the highlights of the lifetimes of the people who are on the Laughter Club Bus Tour of Europe (the first!): May 6-15, 2011.

I hope you will join us.

With Love and Laughter,

Jeffrey Briar
CLYL, CLYT, and Master Trainer for the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga