The Power to Change the World

The Power to Change the World

There is fierce debate about which guidebook is the best, some people swear by the Rough Guide and others love the quirks of the Let’s Go guides.  However, there is no dispute as to which guide is the most popular, it’s the Lonely Planet.  Their guidebooks are comprehensive and cover every corner of the globe.  What travelers may not realize is the power it has to change lives and not just those of the backpackers that use it to discover new lands.

Ramikishan Gawlani’s story of success is well documented in articles and newspaper clippings meticulously saved in books stacked on the counter of his small street stall.  In amongst the racks of eggs and the cold drinks are several more books with customer comments.  As I perused the pages of positive comments in every language Gawlani said from his omelette station “Every three months, we need a new notebook, that’ll tell you how many customers we get daily!”

I asked about one of the newspaper clippings and Gawlani’s son replied “These omelets, changed our life” as he took our order. “Until Lonely Planet mentioned our omelets, my father used to make a modest living selling mutton curry, some pulau and a few other selected dishes.”

The Lonely Planet reference suddenly catapulted his father, now simply known as “The Omelette Man” into a fame he didn’t expect. “Overnight, all people wanted to eat were omelets,” chimed in the Omelette Man himself, “my other items began to go to waste.”

Most of us are well aware of the choices we make and how buying something casts our vote for that product, company or owner.  But I, like many others underestimate the affect we have with that same dollar in the developing world.  My money goes a lot farther in India and so does the change I affect with the money I spend.  Therefore, where I get my information on how and where to spend my money while on the road has the power to change lives.  The Lonely Planet has been creating overnight success stories such as the Omelette Man for years.

Hostels, restaurants, internet cafes and tour agencies proudly display stickers that read “recommended by the Lonely Planet” as they know full well the positive effect it has on business.  The Omelette Man is no exception with his Lonely Planet credentials proudly displayed and the sense of pride in his work evident in each interaction with a new customer.

If you ever question your ability to change the world, look no further than the businesses that you support through the pages of the Lonely Planet.  These people not only benefit greatly from their overnight guidebook success, but so do you in being able to witness first hand your money at work in changing the lives of locals.

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Comments

» Ayngelina :
May 28, 2012

Hmm, but doesn’t it just mean that the same amount of money that was spread out amongst many businesses are now just concentrated to one person? Does it make it better for the community?
Read Ayngelina’s awesome post Disconnecting in Hana

thinkCHUA Reply:

I think you’re dead on: the Lonely Planet all too often directs tourist dollars. Therefore the money that would have gone to many vendors now heads to one man who is experiencing flush years. We often struggle with spreading our money around and returning to those that provide great service, value or comforts.

» MomA :
May 29, 2012

Have you been to places that you would recommend to
Lonely Planet to add to the lives being changed? Hopefully your readers will visit places in your blog that may not be in Lonely Planet yet!

» BKA :
Jun 2, 2012

Lonely Planet is a fabulous resource…my 2 cents on directing /focusing tourist dollars is we feel they provide many alternatives, especially with lodging so there influence has some “spread factor” if you will…..not sure what another option might be, as “boots on the ground”, first hand experience/opinion helps the one time traveler….peace….bka

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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