Slow travel, commonly labelled as experiential travel among the voyager's community, has the potential to return the favour to the caretakers of rural areas. Call them villagers, mountain people, or rural dwellers; their efforts have enabled homelike hospitality and facilities in far-off Indian regions.
As part of an integrated society of humans, helping remote populations with community development ideologies and techniques is our duty as responsible travellers. We can enlighten them on how communities can be educated and empowered despite various social and economic inhibitions, lack of education facilities and fewer government privileges.
For example, suppose villagers assemble and strategise means to promote eco-tourism guide books or materials to promote sustainable travel in their region. Slow travellers can help the community members in facilitating activities like writing, reading, artwork, sustainability, tourism sciences, etc., setting the foundation for a lettered establishment.
Inter-cultural exchanges, conservation of natural resources, rural tourism decorum – the scope of slow travel’s impact on community development is tremendous.
1. Setup a Midday Schooling Session for the Children
Organising sessions for school children in a village makes you the harbinger of educational activities to teach them common subjects used in the real world. For instance, you can create mathematics lessons and train them on using basic operators for everyday calculations.
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Accounting for their usually perfect whereabouts for star-watching, use graphic content to explain what constellations are, the rotatory movement of celestial bodies, and how on-earth navigation becomes more manageable by using the sky as your map.
2. Encourage Social Welfare and Inter-village Partnerships
Introduce these communities to the basics of conducting business. This can include topics such as trading, negotiations, leveraging their socio-cultural and natural resources, sustainable business frameworks, and so much more.
Though villagers often know the principle of unity, business collaboration often isn't their most skilled area.
Give them ideas on how they can partner with neighbouring villages, increase their revenue and thereby improve their living conditions.
3. Explain How Multiple Utilities for Sustainable Materials Exist
Inform them of how large cities face the wrath of pollution because of poor material choices by packaging companies. Simplify these explanations by showing them chip packets, plastic products, or other packaging choices which are scarring city habitats.
Once they’re acquainted with the fact that greedy money-making mindsets in the city are leading to unhealthy communities, share some tactics on how their local materials (bamboo, mud, lattice screens, hemp, stone) can come to the rescue.
Some practical examples of sustainable solutions include:
- Mud houses
- Rainwater harvesting
- Solar energy farms
4. Avoiding Expensive Third Parties in Supply Chains
Slow travelling gives you the time required to develop lasting connections with the emotions and intellectuality of rural occupants. Use this time to highlight what supply chains are and how villagers become underpaid victims of large businesses.
Fostering a sense of knowledge among their community motivates them to take the initiative and begin demanding what’s ethically correct. As a privileged traveller coming from tier-1 and tier-2 cities, you can promote logistics development and suggest methods to subsidise costs for transport or supplies in the rural areas you visit.
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Let’s acknowledge how cities depend on villages and large-scale farm activities for food supplies. Factually, spending time bonding with rural folk might help develop a certain level of equality in supply chains.
Such rural communities have the capacity to kickstart small-scale green businesses and set examples for giant corporations sitting with financial backing. If you proudly consider yourself a member of the Indian slow travel community, leave no stone unturned when spending long periods in rural areas.
Hidden Hamlet at Likir in Leh Ladakh, associated with NotOnMap, aims to create an impact on its local community and allow travellers to experience a lifestyle out of the norm.
Traveler | Copywriter