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 uncharted 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 missed 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, many 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
conform 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 end 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 tourist hotspots of a town, city or a little
hamlet but they invariably fail to offer 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 cafés 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 assist your host with the day-to-day
activities and unravel the mystery of life itself. By choosing to stay with a
local host you can introduce your country or culture to them or perhaps the
ones they don’t know. Imagine, how proud John Lennon 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!