Travelling is in your blood. As you go about the sometimes “dull” Chinese New Year visiting, why not make it a point to spread the love as well? Sharing small anecdotes and fun facts of a place could be key in enticing that young cousin of yours to go on a trip around the world, (much to the chagrin of you Aunty, perhaps).
Here are some simple tips on how to “inspire” relatives to embark on a trip of their lifetime. I personally like travelling to India, hence that will be my mission for this year – to take on the role of the India Tourism Office, sharing how “Incredible” India can be.
1. Start small and work your messages in subtly
Travelling is always an enjoyable topic, but you don’t want to veer off rattling lengthy tales about that epic trip while your relatives fall asleep by the side of the bakkwa and pineapple tarts. Basically you don’t want it to be a monologue, and at worst, get people thinking that you’re bragging.
You will need to sound out your relatives out first. Questions like, “Oh, have you planned a trip for this year?” or “How was your last trip to <<name of country>> will be a good way to help you understand his or her travelling preferences and comfort level. Then decide if you want to proceed with the brainwashing. For my case, if comfort and safety are key requirements for that individual, my agenda India will have to go out of the window.
2. Share photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, and there’s no better way to show how awesome a place (and your photography skills) is, then with pictures. Instead of trying to describe how beautiful are the snowy mountains of Kashmir, or the cultural sights and desert terrains of Rajasthan, flip open a photobook, or run a slideshow with your laptop hooked up to your flatscreen TV.
Photos are also about remembering and reminiscing the small yet delightful memories of the past. The photo in this post was taken during my graduation trip, when I made the window ledge my bed. Made a pretty good bed, I remembered.
3. Forget the mambo jambo or weird city names and focus on the 3 main concerns – the sights, experience and costs
I am guilty of this – going on and on about Indian towns, their names and cities until I forget that the people around me haven’t been to these places, and would find no recollection nor meaning in these names. My advice will be to introduce just two of the best places you’ve been to – and talk about what’s nice there, places to go, and activities people can relate to. For example, sipping a hot cup of chocolate or latte on a cold winter’s day is a simple activity that may resonate well with the people you are talking to.
Sharing handy tips like where to get affordable accommodation and the cost of your trip will be very helpful.
4. Tell a story
Tips and recommendations may be helpful, but a story always helps people remember the place you have introduced, and keeps the conversation going. For example, when relating my experiences of travelling on a 24 hr train ride from Penang to Bangkok, I always tell the story of “Smelly Feet“, which seems to resonate well with my listeners.
5. Ask for their opinion and recommendations
In Chinese, we believe in the spirit of 礼尚往来 Li Shang Wang Lai （Give and take). There’s no better way to get your point across, when you make the other person feel that their suggestions and opinions about other places they have been to are valued as well. After all, travelling is about learning about the experiences of others, and no matter how seasoned or experience you are, there’s always something to be learnt and enjoyed from the stories of others.
6. Have the chat over a glass of wine, or Tiger beer (optional)
This is optional, but there’s no better way to lighten the mood and have a great conversation over some beer, bakkwa and pineapple tarts.
Here’s wishing you from Singapore, a merry Chinese New Year.