Fill life with adventures, not things to have. Have stories to tell, not things to show.
A resident of South Africa, Shahil has roots in India and from there it gets a bit complicated. We first met Shahil, at Madhvi's Meraki evening OpenOut and we remember having a long conversation with him explaining the roots and his connection with India till South Africa!
If you are friends with him on Facebook, you will see check-ins at multiple places within days or a week and by multiple places, we mean countries.
..and of-course, with travel comes a lot of travel memories too.
Sit back, grab your popcorn and read on. If you are sitting in your office and reading this you might be tempted to take a vacation soon.
The (mis)-adventures and the chase
Starting from South Africa, "I once got almost chased and attacked by a baboon while at the Valley of Desolation, which is one of the world's most breathtaking sites, in the Karoo, South Africa."
Moving the land of the white elephants, Thailand, where the animal in question was not a white elephant, thankfully - "I've also been chased by dogs at 3am in Thailand."
When In Rome, do as the Roman's do, not quite though "I remember jumping onto a train to avoid being robbed in Rome"
"..and yes, I got completely lost in the center of Ho Chi Minh City with no maps, no cellphone, and no idea where my hotel was or how to get to it. At the end, I survived so that's okay!"
and in India,
"Oddly enough, one of the scariest experiences involved getting to an OpenOut. During my time in Bangalore, I was completely under prepared for the monsoons. Outside my hotel was a river that was once a road! It was almost a meter deep at points! And I had to walk/wade through this in order to get to the other side to get a cab. I kept to the sides and found water that was only up to my knee, It was almost as if I went through this lake, and emerged on HAL Airport Road." Don't we all know about the traffic and the rains in Bangalore.
"At this point, the rain seemed to fall harder! Like magic, a cab accepted my request. I ran down the sidewalk splashing water like I was in a Bollywood epic and I got to the cab! Within 30 min, I was at the OpenOut. It was seriously just like a dream!"
but the OpenOut was a lot of fun, we guarantee.
Laurentina, 2M and the peri-peri
Talking about dreams, we forgot about Mozambique.
"In 2015, I went through to Maputo, Mozambique with some friends that had backpacked across South Africa for three weeks. Maputo would be their last stop before they headed back home. The fish market in the city is famous for the fresh catches pulled out the Indian Ocean.
I picked out a medium sized fish (no clue what fish it was) and some of the biggest prawns I have ever seen. They weigh it and instead of giving the fish to you, it is sent deeper into the market. You then walk to the back where plastic chairs and tables are set up under palm trees.
Half an hour later, the seafood is brought to you, prepared in the famous Mozambiquan peri-peri sauce. A few jugs of the local Laurentina and 2M (pronounced "dosh em") are also brought to the table.
"The prawns are the greatest you have ever tasted. They're lightly char-grilled with the perfect amount of sauce to balance that fire kissed flavor in the meat. The first bite is enough to make you realise that EVERY meal you had up to that point in your life has been a complete lie! I still dream about those prawns.."
By this time, you know that he is a good storyteller too! We could almost imagine sitting in those chairs, with prawns and ... Okay, we should stop.
What about the people
Shahil, has a deeper point to make though, about people.
His travel experiences have made him meet and see a lot of people, across countries.
When it seems like stranger-danger is the default story that has been fed to us by media around us, Shahil thinks it's quite the contrary.
"I don't think I've ever lost trust in the goodness of human beings because wherever I travel, people are always intrinsically good. People are always warm, and welcoming everywhere you go in the world. Be it getting a hot meal from a farmer in the remote region of the Karoo in South Africa or speaking to the the children of Cambodia. Every journey I do reinforces that people are good."
People bind OpenOut together too.
You could prefer going to a bar, restaurant, cafe or any other place to spend your three hours but the moment you come to an OpenOut something magical happens. You realize that more than the food, music or anything else, the city is about it's people.
"I have been for several OpenOuts, so I really should not choose one! All the OpenOut's have been really special experiences with all having a different quirkiness that made them special. I think the first one would stand out because, well, it was the first one I went to! This was the Meraki Biryani Evening.
The experience opened my mind to what it is like to experience Bangalore as a resident."
Home away from home
"The friendliness, the depth of conversation, the laughter, the jokes, the appreciation of food that were all present at the first OpenOut really helped me feel at home in Bangalore. I felt welcome in a new city and was wonderful to know that people are really friendly. This felt good. ."
"I may have only spent a few months in total in Bangalore but this experience at OpenOut really made me understand that even I can call this home!"
Have a question for Shahil? Let us know. We will be more than happy to connect you to him and hear more of his travel stories and tips!
Here is a fun fact - all the OpenOuts Shahil has come for, it has rained!
Good day, everyone!