I’ve always believed that travel adds to your character by opening a new and unexplored territory to add to your life’s experiences. And my love for travel stems from that very fact.
So this weekend, my sister and I took a short trip to Pondicherry and it was an enriching experience that not only laid out the beautiful history of the city but also provided a sneak peak into the soul of modern Pondicherry.
While the museums and libraries that my sister and I visited were a treat, as was the delectable food, the real highlight for us was the people who made our visit truly memorable.
Right from our Airbnb hosts, who rent a place by the name Paradise Nest, to some of the staff at the 10 restaurants we walked into who went out of their way to ensure our travel was safe and secure, the hospitality was genuine and reflected an unadulterated goodness that was absolutely heart warming.
Here are some places that are etched in my memory and that have left a mark on me forever.
What I realised after I returned from this pretty little city is that it is the people who really make experiences come alive. In different situations in life, the goodness within people can shine through all odds and make this world a better place to live.
Yes, I know! I’m talking like the idealist again but don’t you think the vice of racism and intolerance can only be solved if we get to know people and understand where they’re coming from?
I faced absolutely no discrimination of race in Pondicherry and while I sadly cannot say the same for sexism, this travel experience certainly made me believe that racial biases can be bridged if we are open, accepting and accommodating to other people’s situation.
It is, of course, a give and take, but I really feel that constructive dialogue is the best way to make social headway.
And constructive dialogue cannot, and will not happen, unless we travel extensively and travel productively.
By productively, I mean that we need to see life in another town or city from up close. This may not always happen by staying at a hotel or confining ourselves to tourist attractions, but by genuinely interacting with the people who have made their livelihood in the city. And I absolutely love Airbnb for making that possible.
Okay, I am not saying that we don’t need those one off trips to unwind luxuriously but what I am saying is that in whatever form of travel we partake in, we need to have honest interactions with people who make up the soul of the city.