You can make a difference. Yes, You!

Dalai Lama said ” If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”.

Every traveler can make a difference no matter how big or small they are. Travelers impact the world in a big way. Their spending patterns, likes, dislikes etc influence communities in different parts of the world.
You do not need you to shell out a lot of money or have reserves of courage to make an impact. Here are a few tips to make an impact. These tips are easy and simple to follow.
1. Do not litter. This is such a simple obvious thought yet one we always forget.

2. Cut out the middle man. When you go to buy souvenirs try to find a co-op or a women’s group. In addition to being able to see the  artisans at work you can also make  sure that you are helping a family and paying the artisans the money they deserve.

3. Before you order fish at a restaurant ask around for the seasons of the different fish. It is illegal to catch certain species of fish during a particular season.The reason is that they breed during that season. So if you find an off-season fish on your menu do not order it. If you do then it starts a vicious cycle – the restaurants buys more of that fish causing the fishermen to go out and fish and soon the species nears extinction.

4.When you pass by local people stop and talk to them before you take their picture. You may not know it but some of them will know a little English but lack people to practice it with. Your short 5 minutes can do a lifetime of difference with the confidence they gain.

5. When booking hotels ( this is a tough one) try to book one run by a family. Unlike big hotels who order large supplies from vendors family run business reach out to their community.Plus you get an authentic taste of life in that community.

These are just 5 simple tips ( there are more, but baby steps ok!). They are not difficult to follow. Like how little drops of water make the mighty oceans these simple actions of yours will go a long way to create a ripple effect and eventually make a difference.

Travel is possible while chained to a desk

I have read my share of stories where a person one day quits a desk job, picks up a backpack and gets on a plane.  It has become so cliché!

It’s come to a point where now people believe that if you want to be happy and free you need a backpack and you need to be  a nomad. Not true. You can have a desk job and still travel the world and be happy and free. In fact sometimes it works out a lot easier.

So, if you have a desk job which you don’t want/can’t afford to leave, read on. Here are some reasons why traveling while chained to a desk is feasible and advantageous.

1. You constant day job makes you realize the value of vacations.

2. You have a steady cash inflow so you need not be worried about landing odd jobs in different countries.

3. You can plan your vacation from the comfort your home instead of using the time to explore a new place to plan for another one.

4. You have a shelf in own home where you can display all your souvenirs. Imagine tugging all your souvenirs from place to place. Worse still imagine  NO Souvenirs at all.

5. It is so much easier to get over post trip depression since you have a routine to get back to.

6. You can plan your vacations with like-minded friends and relatives. Imagine the hours of fun pouring over guide books and blogs and trip planning.

7. You know the hard work that went into maintaining  the balance in your bank and hence you will be conscious of your budget.

8.  Sometimes the best part of traveling is coming back home. Back to the familiar comforts and familiar people.

So all you people at your desk reading this… Go, get out, travel!

It is the only thing that makes you richer the more you spend.

Blessed are the travelers

Blessed are the travelers for they will have adventures!

My first solo trip of sorts was Hong Kong. I didn’t speak the language, didn’t have people to hang out with. I got lost, got food poisoned and had a time of my life. I have not stopped since. I have learnt more of this world on the road than I think I ever will otherwise.

On this the first day of 2014 make a vow to yourself that this year you will get out of your comfort zone and explore this beautiful world.  Exploring need not involve buying an expensive flight ticket . It can be as simple as venturing to the nearest town. All it takes is the first step from you.

In my favorite E.E. Cummings own words

Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.

May this year bring adventures of all sorts right to your door step. May new experiences and lovely people find in everywhere.  May this blog inspire to travel and travel some more.

 

The Communist World Map

 

 

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This is a picture of an  actual map taken from the textbook of a fourth grader during the time of Communist Hungary.

Every time I look at this photo it just cracks me up. Communist Russia sure had a way of handling its enemies : – convince the world that they do not exist.

Mother Russia is at the center of the world. She dominates the entire world. Poor Australia is squeezed into the right bottom corner almost as an after thought. Maybe the fact that our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a socialistic outlook helped in India’s size and position in the  map.

Europe I suppose had to be there owing to the proximity. I mean you could not simply ignore that large land mass next door. Or wait  maybe its because some of the Eastern European countries were communist. Yes that must have been their saving grace.

Poor Africa has been cut in the middle. At least she gets a place ( half) in the map.

Oh dear!  where is South America? I mean understand why North America is not part of this map, but what in the world did the unfortunate continent do other than perhaps have an ‘America’ to it’s name?