Continued from Part I.
After the tour, I was holding the painting of the eagle. My mother's initials were etched near the bottom. As I held it, I realized this is the only thing I have of her. She passed away when I was very young.
My mind went back to all the street-art we saw that afternoon. I started thinking, every single painting there was drawn by somebody's mother, somebody's father, somebody's son or daughter.
I wished I had shown more appreciation earlier in the tour. It won't matter to the artist, the same way it won't matter to my mother now. But it would matter to me. I would have grown more.
Hence I started looking at street art differently. I came out of that experience enriched.
Now, I can even tolerate the graffiti under the bridge near our small hotel 🙂
I think the key to maximizing these virtual tours is not to look at them as an alternative to travel. But another layer to it. Let's call it a "Home dimension", as we are bringing parts of our homes into the tour.
Often the vehicle we take to reach our destination helps shape the entire experience. Here, the vehicle is our homes. And it's a very powerful one at forming deep connections.
It's also something that we have more control of, and we can arrange it to increase our chances of having a great time.
Our host dressed up in traditional Indian attire. Another host for a different tour had a jungle theme in his room. And another immersed us in an ancient Chinese study, complete with background music. The possibilities are endless. And you are very much welcome to join the dress-up party if you're up for it.
These virtual tours allow us to bring these small bits of our lives into the experience in a way that actual tours might not. One would be hard of travel to be lugging around a painting while walking about the streets.
"Home" really is where the heart is. Nothing stops us from taking virtual tours from anywhere. A coffee shop, a park, or a staycation at your friendly small hotel 🙂
I've taken several more virtual tours afterwards. Were they perfect? Absolutely not. There's lag, there are low-quality videos, there are audio problems. But I never felt like I wasted my time. There's always something new to learn, new people to meet, new chances of meaningful moments.
Online tours present a convenient opportunity to learn about a place. And do so while making new friends or strengthening existing ones. It's an excellent way to see the place before actually going there.
It doesn't cost a lot of time and money, and there are lots of options to suit various preferences and schedules.
I suggest looking at these online tours not as a sub-standard substitute to travel, but as a different experience altogether.
And It's good for hotel businesses too. I've never wanted to go to India as much as I do now. After just 90 minutes, I voluntarily turned myself into a "warm lead". Ready to sign-up for great accommodations.
Here's the link to Keshav's tour in case you are interested.