I was doing a Q/A session in my insta stories, when someone dropped this question in my inbox, “do only rich or upper middle class people come on your trips? If people come from different backgrounds, how do you make them mingle?”
It got me thinking. I don’t think I have ever asked anyone who came with me, their financial background. Of course, I assume that most people who come on trips can do that because they do have some money with them. I think it’s a fair assumption that a sizeable number would be upper middle class.
But does that mean that there are any class differences in our trips? Absolutely not. In fact, there is no segregation. Not just from our side, I don’t recollect any tripper doing that either.
Recently a tripper told me how when he was a kid, the family had no money at all and they all stayed in one room. A year back, one tripper told a room full of us, how he had never cut a cake when he was a child because they never had money on them. One boy didn’t have money to pay for my Bali trip but he sold his bike to come. I was of course shocked when I got to know that in the middle of the trip. A 23 year old saved all her money from their first three four salaries and came on a trip with me to Meghalaya.
People come from everywhere. A sizeable number from the metros but also from Kanpur and Nellore, Bilaspur and Shimoga, Jodhpur and Siliguri, Dibrugarh and Wardha.
How do we make people mingle? Firstly by not trying to focus on how they are different from us – be it religion, money, caste or sexual orientation. Probably we mingle by sitting together and talking. By gently prodding a quiet person. By looking into their eyes and knowing if there is something bothering them in their life back home. By letting them speak up when they feel like, and listening to them. By hugging each other. By huddling together around a bonfire, by holding hands and letting the waves of the sea hit your waist and push you back while you laugh; by sitting with 19 other people on one bed in a room and grabbing as much of the blanket as you can. By laughing and dancing together. By teasing shy people and drawing them out without them realising. By playing games and asking questions in a group that enables everyone to listen to each other.
By sharing stories, by being vulnerable ourselves. By staying away from phones and just being there.
It does not matter how much money you have, once you have come on the trip. What matters is your heart. Even in life, money of course is very important. What’ll be more treasurable is how much you laughed, hugged and how contentedly you slept.