People often quote that when in Rome, do as the Romans do.This proverb, however clichéd, has been a guiding principle for me while discoveringunchartered territories! I believe that the unbridled joy of fully exploring aplace can only be experienced when you mingle with the locals. Personally, travellingmade me confident but it wasn’t until I lived with the locals during my visitto a rather offbeat place – Chaukori, nestled away in the remote corner ofUttrakhand, did I realise what I had been missing all along. If I had notstayed with a local family, I would have never woken up to see the most exquisitesunrise.
It is not just the beauty of the nature that we explore moreintimately, rather, a variety of other phenomena and rituals we experiencefirst-hand if we opt to choose to stay with a local host than a lavish hotelsuite. As millennials, we often try to do things that do notconfirm to a norm but then why do we not try to engage with the locals whiletravelling and end up just looking at the obvious? If we talk about learningmore about different cultures to eliminate the hatred and bring in an era ofpeace, why not take the first step by getting involved with the localcommunities? 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 thedifference one small action can make. As tourists, we often rely on the guidebooks and theinternet which take us to the tourist hotspots of a town, city or a littlehamlet but they invariably fail to provide an intimate connection with theplace! Travelling with the locals mean that you get to see those cobbled stonestreets, those quaint shops that you missed because they were hidden awaybetween a plethora of big banners, those cafes where you could try something thatis 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 andunravel the mystery of life itself. By choosing to stay with a local host youhave the opportunity to introduce your country or culture to them or perhapsclear misunderstandings. Imagine, how proud John Lenon would be! You will realize that your experience in engaging with localpeople has instilled a sense of deeper understanding of the human nature andyou will be able to form partnerships more quickly in even stressfulsituations, don’t you think your boss would be super happy to have a teamplayer on his team? Think what you stand to gain, start from there and thenthink what difference you could make in these turbulent times!