Raj Rai is a Nepalese guy who is currently the Formal President and Founder of an NGO (Vision Nepal, https://nepalvision.weebly.com) that takes care of orphans and handicap young people in Kathmandu. He has experience as a travel agent, helping local students to study abroad and he also has shaped skills cooking for family and friends. He’s been hosting people in his house since 2008, and has travelled to Europe, United States and South East Asia several times. Today, he shares with all of us his experience in hospitality.
- Raj, what is hospitality for you?
Hospitality for me is basically the experience of opening your heart to someone you don’t know, unconditionally, without excepting anything in exchange, and taking out boundaries from social classes, races, languages differences, etc. But it is not only that. Hospitality saves, hospitality protects, hospitality spreads love, caries about other’s nature, wants to understand other’s charisma and personality. It has existed for ages, since the old times… but technologies have change the idea or experience about hospitality because it has created a platform which allows us to express what’s within us. So it could be good, or it could be bad.
- What do you think this technology has changed about hospitality?
They have given a lot of opportunities, they help you to connect with others and bring people together. Techs have make the world much smaller. Information exchanges are urgent now. I remember one day I asked a guy if he needed information about travel agencies, but he said: no, don’t worry, I’ve got Google.
Also, using free platforms like “hospitality club or CS”, you never know who is coming to your place, so it’s good to have online references or reviews from other people. Techs are not bad in itself, but the way people is using them. Techs are advancing but it depends on users how to use them.
- Tell us a specific example in your personal experience when you felt hospitality.
A person you’ve never met, all of a sudden opening his house to you is amazing. We might be different (culture, language barrier), but hospitality unite us. He believed in me, he had faith in me, believing that I was good. That’s when hospitality begins.
- When you invite people, either foreigners or locals, to your place, what do you expect? What are your intentions?
Nice conversations, personal experiences about their travels, what did they find on the way, what countries have they visited.
- Why do you host people at home? What is your purpose? (get money out if it, pleasure, culture exchange).
I host in different situations but specially: students, budget travellers, first visitors to Nepal, those who don’t have any experience in hospitality so that I can give them a good experience, etc. I don’t expect anything, not money, not even a good reference. Although later on I changed that idea. References on internet are very important, it’s the only way to trust at the first sight.
- How do you want to feel when you are being hosted?
Exchange is not compulsory, but you have to understand the other person. I want to study the human being, and I use free platforms honestly because my currency is very low in other countries. Being hosted but not have time for me… is bad.