Well, what words could be used for an experience like those where strangers that met on a Facebook Group (India: Travelers and Backpackers) decide to come together for the love of travel and the perks that it has to offer? What tales could one weave about twenty-two 20-30-year-olds sitting across a bonfire on a forest island and talking about the tales that have/could/will make them the person they are?
What memoirs would one keep about these young Indians showing around their spirit of travel, environment, and respect for cultures in a group where you have guests from foreign lands? Could one imagine the range of stories that could be/were exchanged?
We managed, toiled and achieved all of this. In our quest to see how well and good we are doing in enabling the #backpackers as well as the natives of the land we travel to and to share this amazing village near the Pundrik Rishi Lake, we hosted a camping, trekking and inter-cultural experience-based weekend trip to Aastha Homestay (Bawray Banjaray Home, back then) home here in Upper Neahi Village.
When we thought of hosting a group of like-minded travelers, here at home in Sainj, we were very skeptical – to be very frank, actually scared of bringing in around 20 travelers from different parts of India to a village which has a total population of 120 voters.
For, we realize that every time we (yes, even ourselves) step into the village, we leave an impression of ourselves on the people here. If we look at it in a way, every single individual that has ever come to this village in Sainj will impact its generations to come – for good or not – would be judged and seen. We do try to be very sincere and careful about maintaining a safe and respectful distance from the daily lives, cultural values and promote environmental sustainability.
And, we did it! We cleaned after us. We made sure that no plant saplings were disturbed. We ensured that we gel around with the villagers in a way that they feel the spirit of cultural exchange.
Take a look at some of the memories we created together: