To me, traveling is no longer about sightseeing and ticking off a checklist. It's the holistic experience I'm after. Very often, I find myself wandering off the beaten track, away from the tourist traps and into the residential areas where the locals live. In Singapore, we call such places the 'heartlands'.
I've sat alone in a playground in Bologna watching kids play while their grandparents engage in chit chat. I've walked along dirt tracks in Siem Reap, looking quite out of place as the dust swirled around me. I've also wandered around the harbour in Copenhagen, bundled up against the biting wind and wishing there was a local who could walk with me.
Some of my best trips were the ones spent with the locals who brought me to their favourite haunts. I've been lucky to have been to the hometowns of many friends around the world. Thanks to them, I've had such enriching experiences.
In Hanoi, it was a blessing to have the Hanoi Kids who not only showed us their city on foot but also brought us to sample their local delicacies. At the end of the day, we were bowled over by their zeal (to learn and practice speaking English), warmth and diligence, we wished there were more of such voluntary student organisations in other countries.
When I first heard about Going Tripping, my first reaction was surprise, followed by admiration. J and C are two undergraduate students who love meeting new people and gaining fresh perspectives.
In their own words, "Going Tripping was conceived out of a desire to get out there and make new friends, and also to share our pride for our Singapore culture."
If you’re looking to experience Singaporean food, culture, history and
way of life like a local, they’ll be more than happy to show you around –
as a friend, as a *kaki.
How cool is that? They are the True Blue Singaporeans who will bring you to the Singapore they grew up in.
Don't you just love to have a kaki like that?