Embarking on a journey no matter how big or small is a chance to open yourself up to the many opportunities out there and to immortalize your experience by documenting it in its entirety. From handwritten, personalized accounts to public blogs and Vlogs (Thanks to YouTube!) we have got multiple choices for reaching out to our niche audience.
I would anytime prefer a small binding book with a pencil chewed on at its end (One of my bad habits, you know!) to jot down my exploits. My recent travel experience was a bit different. It was a one of a kind adventure where I got the chance to teach English in Thailand along-with exploring the many adventure spots around! Caving, Waterfall Abseiling and Snorkeling, the list went on long.
During my this trip in Thailand, while I was stuck to my diary, I saw my fellow mates vlogging (Video+blogging) away their experience and I sure learned a few ropes of Vlogging, Thanks to Ana and Mark! Of late there has been a rising demand for content on personal volunteering experiences, whether due to its rising popularity or due to the fact that social media is trying to shift our lives online (Instagram and FaceBook live does the trick) or both maybe!
And when it’s a Volunteering experience in India, you need to be all armed and prepared to make a hell of an impactful story about your experience in India. Though nothing can replace writing for me, I think it’s high time that I gave vlogging a try. If you have been meaning to do the same but don’t know how, follow through. Don’t worry if you are more into traditional means of journaling, these tips will prove to be useful for you also in some ways. Read ON….
1.The Preliminary Stage– It’s good to plan early. Whether it is for recording your journey or your plan for the voluntary work mission. People are always on the lookout for tips and tricks on how to bag the perfect opportunity out there to do some social good while traveling and India is on the top of the list of many like you.
Start off with your intro of who you are and what you’re going to be documenting from today onwards. Make it a routine of recording every day starting from that day about how you’re preparing yourself for the time abroad.
2. Sharing the shortlisting process– Once your planning is done, definitely record your process of shortlisting. There are various organizations offering these travel and work programs abroad and your shortlisting process might just help out your viewers in some way or the other when they are planning such a similar trip.
3. Logistics are important– Apart from recording the daily mundane activities, don’t forget the biggies. The Visa and The Air Ticket. Was it a tough job or an easy-peasy affair getting the Visa from the Indian Consulate? How was the consulate staff?Oh and most importantly, how did you manage to get a cheap Air Ticket? These are sure to get your views soaring.
4. Pack up a storm-. When it comes to packing for India, it is a hugely important part of the entire process given its weather variations in different regions and at times unpredictable weather. Show your viewers what you are packing and based on what kind of research you’ve decided on your packing list. Apart from that, must have things while going to India and easy packing tips and trick have always been topics to grab attention.
5. The journey begins– That DAY is finally here! Get up early, connect with your viewers and say them their last Hello from a different time zone for soon you’ll be on Indian Time. From getting ready to leaving your home, from reaching the Airport, boarding the flight, to layovers (if you are not so lucky) to arriving in India, short and succinct updates will be lauded by your viewers.
But do keep in mind to keep your electronics in flight mode while above the clouds people. Safety First!
picture courtesy- digitalphotographyschool.com
6. The welcome party is here, time to shoot up your cameras- It’s India and they have a full-on welcome wagon prepared for you, all the works. The Tika on the forehead, the garland, and the sweets. It is a huge part of your Indian experience so don’t forget to turn your camera on as soon as you are through with immigration and stuff.
picture courtesy- volunteerworkindia.org
7. Next Up- Orientation!– Orientation days can prove to be a huge learning about the Indian way of life. Be sure to get every detail stuck into the deepest realms of your brain so that you can tell all about it to your users. It’d be an exciting event for both you and your users to learn about the local culture from up close and perhaps a chance to break some myths, hopefully!
8. Vlog away your first day of work fears– Time flies by, and your first day of work is here. It is very important to record your thoughts before starting the day off to give that personal touch to your blog that everyone loves.
9. Work, record, replay– Well you need to ask permissions and enquire with your respective organizations if they can grant you permission to record your entire journey, including your work. You need to assure them you won’t be distracted or going to be distracting others by the same and you need to stick to your words.
Once you’re cleared for it, you’re good to go! Capture the entirety of your experience and let others enjoy it through the lens. The work, the community, all of it.
10. Who are you impacting upon?– Whether it’s rehabilitating street children or a in seniors’ home or in wildlife conservation, don’t forget to introduce these new lovelies in your life to your viewers. Trust me, they are eager to know who are you working with after all.
11. Work, work, work! But what’s it all about?– Though this is not much advocated and I won’t do it myself, but you can also make a routine of capturing your daily work schedules. Make sure you’re not falling behind in order to keep up with this because if you’re missing out on the changemaking part of the experience then everything is for naught!
12. The After-work hours– Well the fun part comes after work. Show everyone how you’re investing your after work hours. Hanging out with local people, exploring the local hotspots, or the food… oh so exotic foods of India. In no time your vlog will be that of a Travel Vlogger!
picture courtesy- thrillophillia.com
13. Your personal experience matters– The personal impact from a volunteering experience is humongous! DO share your personal impact stories and things that you’ve come to love about your work during your leisure times.
14. The weekend jewels– Don’t waste your weekends. You will always get a chance to rest when you are back. You are in India and there is a surprise waiting just around the corner. You just need to look for it. Maybe a historical heritage site, or a popular market, or maybe a short and fulfilling road trip into the mighty hills. Pick yours and keep your viewers all the way with you!
15. All about the local people– Have you made a few local friends? Well, do introduce them to your viewers. Maybe do a live Q&A with them to help bridge the gap between those miles away. Before going ahead, always keep in mind when interacting with the locals that you should never be disrespectful to the elders of the community. Also, you must not insult any local culture, tradition or customs, otherwise we Indians are chill people.
Introduce your new friends to your viewers and tell them all about the Indian culture you’ve learnt and how far it is from what you’ve been hearing all your life!
16. Language lessons 101– Everyone loves hearing exotic languages. Be it Hindi, Urdu, Bengali or any other. Well, there are over 19 in India. So don’t get too much caught up and confused, Hindi is spoken all over as is English!
Try and get a local to sit in for a basic Hindi language class. I am sure your viewers will have giddy fun when learning from a local.
17. Bring out the foodie in you– India is a confluence of culture and thus there is diversity in every step of the
way. When it comes down to Indian food, it is the same. Whether it’s your local host family or the server in the eatery you go to daily, everyone will always insist you on a good dose of second helping even if you feel like you’ll go off like a dynamite anytime, BOOM!
picture courtesy- pinterest.com
Do share your food stories with your viewers. What food you are trying, what you liked, what you did not, what you simply can’t get over and what simply went right through you, if you know what I mean!
18. A date with shopping– India is a shoppers paradise if you are looking to get your hands on quality stuff in budget. You just need to know where to look, there are thrift markets at large in almost all the big cities and every part of the country.
The day you’ve finally decided to brave the crowds of these markets and have got down each and every lesson on haggling in India, don’t forget to take your viewers along for the ride. It’ll one of the best experience for you and for your viewers as well.
19. Travel to your heart’s content– Once the volunteering part of the journey is over, it’s time for some unadulterated fun and time to explore India. It’s time to put your travel plans into action and your viewers are all ears (and eyes).
India’s sprawling geographical expanse only means you have everything for every moods and desire. From high mountains, huge deserts, to cooling beaches and dense forests. Some opt for the many adventure activities that India has to offer while some go for the exploring the lofty mountains by trekking.
picture courtesy- flickr.com
And if you are more of a relax on the beach kinda person, well to each his own! India is prepared to surprise you at every step of the way. So don’t forget to keep your wits about you and bring your viewer along for the journey. What better way to document these unforgettable moments of your experience in India?
20. Au Revoir India!– Your trip has finally come to an end and it’s time to say Goodbye to the country that made you feel at home for so many weeks. Indian tradition and culture dictate that Guests be treated as Gods and so it is done.
Rewinding back to the day when you entered India, the way you were welcomed, you can rest assured you’ll be sent off in the same manner, maybe grander even. Your local friends, the people you worked with, the people you impacted upon will surely pull out all the stops to make your farewell special and memorable for you. All of this requires your investment as well, it’s how they show their gratefulness for all that you did for the community by not being an outsider but being one of them. It naturally depends on you how your experience turns out.
Picture courtesy- jesswondering.com
So, do get yourself and your viewers prepared for the emotional journey back. Share your thoughts with them, what’s going through your mind while leaving the country, who and what you will miss the most? The sweet goodbyes, the last moments, your viewers who have been all through with you in your journey sure wouldn’t want to miss out on these remarkable final moments before you wave bye to India and one of the best experience of your life.
These tips are sure to make chronicling your travel experience in India easy and at the same time enthralling. Even photographs speak a thousand words, so all photographers out there, I think you know now how to efficiently capture your entire journey. Do share with me if you’ve had any similar experience recording your entire journey in your travels to India and how did you go about it.