On my bucket list there was for sure seeing India one day. I did it, or at least I saw a very small part of that world, but this wasn’t just another check on that list, this was a real and significant experience. CulTY gave me the opportunity to know, to understand a culture that changed my point of view, the chance to see images that will live in my mind forever. In Bhubaneswar we had the opportunity to hear from people that work in the local community in the field of tourism and during those few days we shared not only laughs and nice moments with the other participants of the project, we shared ideas, we had deep conversations about accepting the differences, we did workshops concerning new ideas that would help the development of another kind of tourism in that reality.
The deepest experience I lived during those days it was the tribal village, a place where you let yourself get carried away in another dimension, a completely different reality that you have to face to understand the two faces of the development. There, this was like a challenge, there, you can’t see it first-hand. And it was bittersweet. On one hand I looked into those dark big eyes and I felt like I wanted to do something for them, in particular for those kids, walking barefoot in the mud, on the other hand I smiled seeing how beautiful and unique was their uses and costumes, their songs, their way to dance and the smiles they had for us like they were really proud of showing us their world. They seemed to be really happy in the way they live so we also talked about, during a group discussion, do they want to change all that? Do they want that their village becomes an important tourism point? We still don’t have the answer, maybe we just have to respect their originality.
We also tasted the history of Odisha through their amazing temples, like the one in Konarak, the Sun Temple, we saw amazing, spectacular dancers hard to forget, and we enjoyed the seaside market in Puri. So, what I keep from this adventure? I keep the consciousness that if you have the courage to think “outside the box” and to take a deep breath and face a reality that it’s not the reality you use to live every day, you learn a lot. About yourself, about appreciate yours and other cultures, about the “trip”, and cooperate to create one and only reality where the best of each one of us can help someway someone.