When travelling to a foreign land and a new culture we can feel alone, scared and tentative about the experiences we are about to have. These feelings are greatly minimised when we have friends or family to meet or stay with in the new place.
I am lucky enough to have met so many wonderful people from around the globe and to now have a place to stay when I visit that country. Many people have this opportunity as well, they just don’t take the offer up. I am the “yes girl”. You offer me a bed, I’ll be booking a flight and seeing you there before you know it!
In 2 weeks I will be going to India and Nepal and there will only be 4-5 days, out of the 30, in which I will be needing hotel accomodation as the rest of the time I am staying with friends I have met around the world. This is not only great for the budget but it also gives you a great cultural immersion and a better understanding of the country you are staying in. You have a 24-7 tour guide and cultural expert.
When I went to Nepal in 2006, I was to meet my friend Sundar and spend most of the time with him. He wanted to have me stay in his home but unfortunately it was too small at that time so I was to stay in a hotel. That first night was the loneliest of my whole trip and I hated it. Luckily, I had met a wonderful Indian woman on the plane who offered me a place in her home she was renting for work for the duration of my stay. I really feel that my trip to Nepal the first time was so much better as I was able to interact with people of that culture and learn so much more from people living there. Home cooked meals, playing with local children, seeing a wedding procession from my bedroom window and having lovely people to speak to anytime of the day was such a unique experience. I am just thankful that I was open to the experience and took on this once in a life time opportunity.
This time I thought I would be staying in a hotel which was perfectly fine until I recieved this beautiful message from my friend Sundar:
“During your stay in Kathmandu, If you like and comfortable you can stay at my house I am near to airport bit far from Thamel you can do tipical Nepalese homestay. Its like a fimily, In my house we: My wife, my sister-in-law and daughter Sourya, so you may have to share the room with my sister-in-law.
At my house you will have LAN internet access 24 hrs, Hot Shower and self made tea coffee and my wife made meal (Nepali style). We will be happy to welcome you at our family”
I was excited before but now I can barely contain myself. To see another Nepalese family living their daily life and being taken around to all the cultural sites with my personal tour guide will be so magical.
If you don’t have a dear friend in Nepal, do not lose hope. There are many places that offer homestays and a true cultural experience in Nepal. Here are just a few:
Recommendations and reviews by past guests will be the best thing for you to look into. Also on www.hostelworld.com many of the hotels are small and family run and are available for only A$6.00 a night.
I found Nepal to be very safe and friendly towards foreigners. Even in a time of political turmoil and trouble between the people, I felt safe.
If you are looking for a different experience then check out some homestays, I promise you won’t regret it. Also think about some of the friends and contacts you have and maybe someone has a friend or family member you can get in touch with in the place you are going to make you feel a bit safer.