A few weeks ago, I had this realisation – I am a product of my environment; everything I am or everything I do, is influenced by my environment, people around me and circumstances.
As the owner of a travel company, even my holiday offerings are influenced by my environment.
Take the example of the Senior Citizens Holiday I market.
Not long ago, my father had expressed the desire to travel to Bhutan in a very off-hand, when-we-have-the-time, sort of way. But as a business owner and as a daughter, my immediate concerns were –
a) How could they experience Bhutan without straining themselves physically? (Dad is over 71 years of age)
b) At their age, they not only want a comfortable room, they are also very particular about food and prefer Indian cuisine. Can I manage that in Bhutan for all three meals?
c) How could I ensure that they have the BEST experience of Bhutan and not feel that they missed out on anything just because they cannot hike/climb?
The wheels in my mind began churning and in a few weeks, I had come up with the perfect plan for senior citizens. And it was time to execute the plan as well. I chose Bhutan’s warm season to market the trip (June) and coincidentally, all four guests that came onboard were women.
What a rocking time we had! Here’s the link to a short video I made of our trip – https://www.facebook.com/easeindiatravel/videos/1145723018898753/
So what did I do that was different and that ensured they enjoyed the trip?
- I gave them an all inclusive price – including airfare. It meant that all they had to do was turn up with money for shopping. Everything else was looked after
- I ensured that we had flexibility when ordering our meals – I deliberately chose restaurants where we could order a la carte, and were not restricted by the ‘touristy’ fixed menus offered by most restaurants across Bhutan
- I made sure that the monuments we visited didn’t entail much climbing. Wherever there was a bit of a climb, I gave them the option to choose if they wished to climb or see it from a distance
- We did everything that I’d do on a typical trip – wear the traditional dress for women (called Kira), shake a leg with locals, sing Karaoke in a local bar and even drink Ara, the local brew 😀
- As we were visiting Bhutan at a time when there were no cultural festivals, we also organised a special cultural show for them to enable them to have the ‘experience’
And as it happens on all my travels, I learned SO much from these women!
When we reached Bhutan’s famous Fertility Temple (Chime Lhakhang) I told them that the temple was located a short climb away but I wanted them to ‘see’ the temple since its the only one of its kind in Bhutan. They were gung-ho and decided to climb up! Thats when I learned that age is no bar to be kickass and adventurous…
I learned that women in this age group can really bond. We sang songs in the car, discussed our lives, and even did some match making for another group member’s son!
I learned that the restrictions – how to travel at this age, who to travel with etc. are all self imposed. These women gave a rat’s ass about the society – one was over 67 years old, two were travelling without their spouses and one was happy to get out of her comfort zone. They just wanted to travel and they did…
I learned that ‘Feminism’ is not just for young women. These four incredible women are feminists in their own right and I was blessed to have their company, and learn from them…
Most of all, I came away knowing that with this curated trip, I am enabling these women to fulfil some of their long pending travel dreams.
And that feeling is priceless!
Now, next on the agenda is to take my parents to Bhutan! And plan similar holidays to other parts of the country and the world for Senior Citizens!