For other people, there’s nothing special in places that are far from everything. No skyscrapers, no malls or fancy restaurants nearby.. if you’re lucky, no cellphone or internet signal too. Others may think that locals who live in very rural areas are poor. But for me, these people are lucky they are living in a hidden paradise. That’s what I observe during my travels around Asia.
There’s no shopping malls, but most people in the remote areas grow their food so they don’t need to buy.. And even in places that have no farm, cost of living is very low. I usually spend $10/day for myself, but in a far flung province in Nepal, $10 will let you feed yourself, 7 kids and the kitchen lady.. and I’m not even required to contribute that much.
Despite not living in condominiums or posh houses, members of communities are even generous enough to share what they have.. even to strangers. Like what I experience during Fiestas in the Philippines.
Kids from the tribes may not be exposed to ballet school or proper gymnastics, so it makes them very creative.
These local communities may not have skyscrapers, sky trains, nor fast cars; but they have natural springs, mountains full of greens and the sky has birds that freely fly.
They may not have cute dogs or cats as pets, coz they have exotic animals already roaming in the house. Below is a picture of a Tuko, a big lizard, in my ancestor’s house in the far flung province of Antique, Philippines.
Whenever I travel, I love to appreciate the differences of religion, language and tradition of a place.. For me, they are the spices that make’s a country beautiful. This is a traditional Tiboli tribal dinner down south of the Philippines.
And you think because the country is poorer than yours, people will take all your wordly possessions once you visit? My friend even gave me Vietnamese coffee when I visited her in Vietnam. She even accompanied me to her favourite beauty salon.. Maybe I’m just lucky.
Yes there are struggles. But the strength of their soul inspires me. Below is a picture of me with a tribe girl while people are crossing the flood in the background in the Thailand border.
I remember my friend from Myanmar, whom I haven’t seen in 5 years, cried tears of joy when I get to visit her country. I also felt guilty that I have seen most of her country while she was stuck in her job.. I wish locals will have the chance to travel in their own country too..
That is why I support additional sources of income like homestays so travelers will have the chance to visit beautiful places and directly contribute to grassroot families too.. and probably learn a thing or two. This is taken while celebrating Christmas in India.
I’m not really a tourist that travel just for leisure. I travel to also connect with locals in the community. It is because of them that a place has become beautiful anyway.