Why we have started sending our customers gifts

On a Friday afternoon, nine members of staff at Responsible Travel began wrapping up gifts to send to over 100 of our customers who had recently travelled to India.

The Responsible Travel team
The Responsible Travel team
Inside each envelope was a small, aromatic candle in a terracotta pot made by craftspeople from one of India's poorest castes, along with a card with a quote from a travel writer we love, Pico Iyer. That was all.

Why did we do it? Firstly, why not? It was an act of kindness for some of our customers and the money we paid for the candles helps some of India's poorest people. Secondly, our aim is to bring travel alive and to open minds to past experiences.

A trip that might last a few days or weeks will often provide us with magical experiences. However, it's what we learn from these experiences that will hopefully make our lives a little better (as Pico Iyer puts it).

If you can find time to reflect on your travels, then your holiday can become something deep and permanent that stays with you forever.

What we most need in busy, hectic 'always on' lives is a little break to reflect, learn and absorb. This time can be hard to find - and we hope our little gifts will help to create that opportunity.

Dalit candles

I imagine those who received the gift feeling the roughness of the handmade terracotta pot; striking a match and smelling the earthy, spicy aromas of India, their minds and imaginations taken back to their trip; going over their memories and perhaps what the trip meant to them and their lives.

In the future, we may be in touch to request your address and to open your mind, giving you time to reflect on past travel memories.

Oh, and the quote we sent on a card that could be stuck on a wall or a mirror?

ďAnd if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because itís a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.Ē

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Written by Justin Francis
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