People often quote that when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
This proverb, however clichéd, has been a guiding principle for me while discovering
unchartered territories! I believe that the unbridled joy of fully exploring a
place can only be experienced when you mingle with the locals. Personally, travelling
made me confident but it wasn’t until I lived with the locals during my visit
to a rather offbeat place – Chaukori, nestled away in the remote corner of
Uttrakhand, did I realise what I had been missing all along. If I had not
stayed with a local family, I would have never woken up to see the most exquisite
sunrise. It is not just the beauty of
the nature that we explore more intimately, rather, a variety of other
phenomena and rituals we experience first-hand if we opt to choose to stay with
a local host than a lavish hotel suite.
As millennials, we often try to do things that do not
confirm to a norm but then why do we not try to engage with the locals while
travelling and end up just looking at the obvious? If we talk about learning
more about different cultures to eliminate the hatred and bring in an era of
peace, why not take the first step by getting involved with the local
communities? A ton of good comes out by when we get involved with the locals.
Don’t believe me? Then go out there and do your bit and you will realize the
difference one small action can make.
As tourists, we often rely on the guidebooks and the
internet which take us to the nooks and corner of a town, city or a little
hamlet but they invariably fail to provide an intimate connection with the
place! Travelling with the locals mean that you get to see those cobbled stone
streets, those quaint shops that you missed because they were hidden away
between a plethora of big banners, those cafes where you could try something that
is the specialty of a local chef or learn to speak a foreign dialect, perhaps?
You could even volunteer to help your host with the day-to-day activities and try
to unravel the mystery of life itself. By choosing to stay with a local host
you have the opportunity to introduce your country or culture to them or perhaps
clear misunderstandings. Imagine, how proud John Lenon would be!
You will realize that your experience in
engaging with local people has instilled a sense of deeper understanding of the
human nature and you will be able to form partnerships more quickly in even
stressful situations, don’t you think your boss would be super happy to have a
team player on his team? Think what you stand to gain, start from there and
then think what difference you could make in these turbulent times!