Be Brave Enough To Start A Conversation

by Nupur Saxena (India)

Making a local connection India


I am a motorcyclist and travel a lot. When you are on roads, you end up eating at local dhaabas (small highway restaurants) and spending nights in tents. It is not hard to strike up a conversation with people. An exchange of pleasantries with dhaaba owners, truck owners from around the country stopping there for rest or meal or the villagers or farming land owners, where you camp for the night. You can experience local culture and easily befriend a local. You can have a 2 day stay in a country, or live there for a year, it doesn’t matter. You will still have a more enriching experience if you spark up a friendship with a stranger. Its very easy and simple to connect with locals. I think connecting locally can be simple. You have to be open to hear their experience and not to be hesitant or reluctant in accepting their culture. You don’t have to travel for extended period or go very far or cross country. You can start from a near village. India is one country where culture changes every 100 kms and because of which you get immense opportunities to connect with locals. Once I was on a motorcycle expedition covering approx 10000 kms spread across 9 states taking a terrain which is normally untouched. Even after cautiously checking the route and weather forecast, I got struck by heavy rainstorm. After riding for 9 days, one day I was crossing a forest area where the populated areas were more than 20 miles apart. And due to rainstorm I couldnt ride further. Thats when I found my local connection in a form of a farmer who was taking his cattle away to safety. He not only helped me out finding a place to sleep but also gave a taste of their local cuisine. A warm and dry place to sleep with full belly, what else you can ask for, it was pure heaven. I am still in touch with that person, keep sending him postcard from wherever I travel to let him know that I am still thankful of him and because of people like him, traveler/motocyclers like me can dare to travel on any route they wish to. Making a local connection can be as simple as finding an authentic meal or having a chat with a local at the pub. The difference is in the depth of relationship that you build based on the amount of time you have. Whether you have one day or one year, every interaction is a connection to what it means to live in a place.