How does it work?
On the one hand there are many people from foreign countries who are very hospitable and proud and happy to tell others about their home country. They know exactly what life in their home country is like – e.g. what kind is food is eaten, which festivals are celebrated, what kind of traditional clothes are worn and what are the typical sounds they associate with their home country.
On the other hand there are people who are interested in foreign cultures and keen to find out more.
As a traveler through living rooms, within just two hours you can meet people from all over the world in your hometown. Maybe Togo or Brazil lies in the house across the road or around the corner and you can get there on foot or in a few minutes by car, bus or bike.
“Round the Word Trips through Living Rooms” started in 2011. The first “journeys” took place in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck. Meanwhile this uncomplicated kind of traveling can also be booked in several German towns and cities. There are more and more requests to join in with the concept. Requests from all over the world are welcome.
For two hours you can travel to different nations in your home town in someone’s living room. Each traveler gets a passport on their first journey and if you book more than one “journey” you can collect stamps in this passport. The “tour guide” stamps the passport upon entry into his or her living room.
Travelers have various motivations for entering a living room –
simply an interest in different cultures, in getting to know other people – the tour guide and the other travelers -; brushing up memories of past journeys; preparing for a journey; time and money are not enough to travel to all the countries in the world; fear of flying; vaccination requirements or civil wars prevent “real” travel.
“Round the Word Trips through Living Rooms” calls for joining in and promotes cultural interaction and mutual understanding. “Round the Word Trips through Living Rooms” fascinates both the travelers and the tour guide and opens up new perspectives. People of different cultures meet in local living rooms to get to know each other and learn more about cultural differences. Respect of different ways of life grows with each living room visit.
Just one example
Round the World Trips through Living Rooms in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck to INDIA
I was a guest at Soli’s and Cyriac’s home as part of the “Round the World Trips through Living Rooms” in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck. My fellow guests and I were warmly greeted by both of them in their traditional domestic garments at the door. They and their children wore Indian clothes that really impressed me.
The flight from Germany to India normally takes about 11 hours, but I traveled to India within 15 minutes by bike. Whilst waiting for the other guests, I talked with the hosts about Bollywood.
Before my trip to the Indian living room, my knowledge about India was limited to the Oscar-winning film „Slumdog Millionaire,“ which I saw once a long time ago.
Our trip began with an Indian drink (alternatively Indian black tea or a refreshing drink with lime) and with an Indian spicy cake.
Before our guides’ report on India, I want to tell you briefly about them. Soli and Cyriac have been living in Germany for about 20 years. They have been living in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck since 2002. They have two daughters and a son. They both work in a hospital in Gütersloh. Apart from German they also speak
Hindi, Malayalam and English.
SOLI AND CYRIAC TALKING ABOUT INDIA
Geographically India is located in Asia and has the second largest population in the world. About 1.240.000.000 people live there. In 1945, India achieved its independence after the struggle for independence led by Mahatma Gandhi. Until then, India had been a British colony. Diverse religions live together in India.
Hindus, Muslims and Christians are the most common religions in the country. There are various official spoken languages, but English is spoken in schools and in the administration. The children can learn English starting from kindergarten. The caste system is still in use.
In this system, people are divided into different social groups.
Tropical fruits such as bananas and coconuts are grown in India because the country is located near the equator.
A factory worker earns about 400 to 500 euros per month.
THE INDIA THAT I HAVE SEEN
What really impressed me were those very colorful and fantastic clothes and jewelry. A sari was tried on by a guest during this little trip to India. The sari consists of a 6 meter long fabric scarf and is supported with a special technique on a color coordinated blouse and a color-coordinated skirt. I really liked the colors of the clothes and the style of the jewelry.
I also got to know the meaning of the dots on the forehead of women. A black one means that the woman is single and a red one means that she is married. The houses that we saw in the photos had a completely different architecture. When eating an Indian cake you realize that a lot of different spices are used in the Indian cuisine.
Soli showed us some typical spices like cinnamon, aniseed, caraway, fennel, nutmeg, clove, ginger and mustard seeds of the Indian cuisine. During this journey, I drank a cup of black tea with milk for the first time in my life. Anyone can try it, it is a good combination of tea and milk.