Homestay, away from home, Padang Pariaman, Nov. 2022.
- DISPARPORA KAB.PADANG PARIAMAN
- 20 July 2023
Thomas Capulet - After landing in Padang in West Sumatra, I was greeted at the airport by a wide, inviting and perhaps a little nervous smile from a member of a beautiful local family that was to take me in and house me as one of their own for a month.
My plan was straightforward, I believe. Meet with the tourism community to ask what they, as locals, want to share and how they would like tourism in this beautiful but forgotten place for foreigners to look like! For me to be shown by those who know what Padang Pariaman has to offer tourists to explore. This seemed to be an honest approach full of endless possibilities and discoveries to be made as a result. I have witnessed breathtaking nature and had my jaw dropped more than once at this fascinating and rich culture, with deep religious beliefs and traditions and a unique and delicious culinary scene that will have the foodie travellers leaving with full and happy bellies. I assure you.
Padang also has many exciting historical sites to explore. For the history enthusiast who, as I do. Believe in the powerful lessons from our past and collective memories as a species. All of this is waiting for you to find and learn from..the good and the bad.
The first thing I would like to share about my time here is the family I stay with and why it is this way!
On one of my first days here, I sat down with some of the tourism community members. They asked me, "what did I want to see"? The only response I could think to give in honesty was by flipping this question back at them, stating, "I would like to see what you would like to share". I wanted to know what, as locals, they would like tourism to look like here. I considered this an essential question for them. I have travelled a little now, and I sincerely hope there is more to come, but as a global traveller and amateur writer aiming to document fading cultures. I'm forever a guest and a student wherever I find myself. I have witnessed the negative impacts of perhaps too much tourism. As an Australian, I am a living memory of what visitors can do to a culture if you don't ask yourself why in the first place. What can happen if you don't set boundaries to protect your story, land, and culture!
I now consider these optimistic and enthusiastic locals my friends. I am so glad I came here and found the richness of this place and had it shared with me so openly.
So without further delay, I want to share the idea of accommodation here in Padang Pariaman set forth to me by my local friends. The simple yet unique vision is to have guests stay in homestays here. As there aren't many hotels for accommodation, this current circumstance presents a unique opportunity to be different. Too often, we travel but take the shackles of comfort with us, completely missing the point of trying new things and stepping out of what is already known and into the unknown. I celebrate my new friends and this beautiful gift of a vision, one I'm ever grateful for having tried.
There are many beautiful homes with even more beautiful people waiting to welcome you and give you an authentic experience. I assure you that the experience of living with a local family, learning about their ways of life, eating together while sharing stories and having many laughs will leave you with a lasting and deep connection. Homestay is a unique adventure offered here with such giving hearts by these people.
Coming here and trying this experience has left me with such joy, as it is still in its infancy in many ways. Padang Pariaman needs more people to come and visit, and it's starved of foreigners, so I invite you to visit Padang to explore as I have for the first but not last time in these coming notes. Losing yourself in this rich and authentic travel destination, in my opinion, is not to be missed.
For too long, it seems tourists have flocked to Bali, Java, The Mentawai Islands and other places in Indonesia but have missed this magical place. I'm not saying anything is wrong with these different places in Indonesia, and I have ventured there, had glorious experiences, and hope to again. All I'm saying is maybe it's time to explore another area, one that will offer a different experience and will certainly welcome you with open arms and hearts, not only into this beautiful country but into their lives and homes.
-- Writing By Thomas Capulet --