Changing The Narrative.
I stayed recently at the rather fabulous Indian Summer House in Kerala. The owner happened to be out of station and so we had a video call. I think my opening gambit was, “Well you don’t need me to tell you how fabulous this is.” His reply, “Thank you, I have always believed that if you have the accommodation right, your guests can focus on the people and the experiences.” I can’t tell you the sheer joy that sentence engendered.
Don, like me, believes that to travel to India and, to truly get to appreciate India, one needs to take time, venture out, interact, chat and learn. Travel isn’t about clicking an Instagram pic, or rushing around at a rapid rate of knots to tick off as many monuments as possible and hear, and instantly forget, the accompanying history lesson. It’s about the people and experiences and creating special moments, those are the memories people treasure.
They’ve got that right too. One is a charming excursion in which the local boatman takes you across the river, followed by a walk through the village to the 75 year old chai shop, where I discovered banana bondas for the first time, and where the locals love to chat. Then jump into an auto and head to an old medicine shop, for a rummage around, a fair few questions and another unique insight, before heading back to base, again by auto. Just look at how many local people benefited! They also arrange a breakfast with the tuk tuk drivers. Again, on their own turf, a local interactive experience. There’s more, but I don’t want to ruin more surprises.
But that’s another key word, “interactive,” so much about tourism, especially off beat tourism is voyeuristic. Have you ever stopped to consider how we would feel if people just marched into our homes or work places, stuck a camera on your face and left?
Creating experiences, people interactions and benefiting the people whose lives we glibly invade are factors which need to be considered and time. Slow travel allows people the time to have these experiences and it’s better from a sustainable perspective too!
For further information on travel to India: firstname.lastname@example.org
My novel, Escape to India based in Madhya Pradesh is available on Amazon.