Staff Member Spotlight: Aryen Negi

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Head of Operations

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Being born into an Army household, Aryen spent most of his childhood travelling and living in cities all across India. This nomadic lifestyle gave him a better understanding of the diverse culture that exists in India and, although not an avid traveller, he enjoys visiting historic sites and finding out more about their historical and cultural impact.

This love and appreciation for India's diverse culture lead him to start a new journey called The Tarzan Way along with some similar minded people through, which he hopes to showcase the diversity in India through immersive travel experiences.

Apart from working at The Tarzan Way, he enjoys trying different cuisines, watching superhero movies, reading fantasy fiction novels like Dan Brown & George R. R. Martin, along with spending time with his family and best friends.

What is your favorite travel memory?

This is around the time I was around 15 years old. It was just the beginning of my summer vacation and, although a heavy sleeper, I woke up really early one day around 4 in the morning when I heard my mom, dad and brother discussing something rather loudly in the other room.

They were apparently planning a road trip all the way to Badrinath, a pilgrimage site around 1000 km away from our home at an altitude of 3,300 m.

We left the same morning staying in our car or cheap roadside motels, returning almost 7 days later with our tired bodies and satisfied souls.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

My growth every since I joined The Tarzan Way has been immense. By hosting various travel experiences for people from different corners of the world, it opened my eyes to the diverse culture that exists everyone while also allowing me to understand how similar we are from each other irrespective of the country or race we belong to.

The Social Travel experiences that we run which enable international travellers to volunteer for different social causes made me connect with various NGOs and people who are doing some really amazing work in uplifting the way of life of those around them. These people definitely had a huge impact on me as well, I have become more aware of the social issues plaguing our society and I feel, through this particular program and my weekly community service, I am doing my part in bringing about a change.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Mohamad Zaghloul from Egypt was one of the first international students that we hosted in India. Since this was when we had just started the company, I used to act as the local coordinator for the travellers we hosted.

Something really interesting that I noticed about this guy was that he would ask a million questions about everything he saw, holding conversations with anyone he met, irrespective of who they were, and often times the people he interacted with didn't even know English. He would then try to communicate with them using gestures and broken sentences (he even picked up quite of lot of Hindi slang words).

This habit of his had made him extremely knowledgable about a lot of things; in fact, by the time he returned home, he had extensive knowledge about the Indian mythology, religions, local dialects, food etc.

One story that portrays how quickly he adapted to India was when he asked us for an opportunity to guide the new set of participants who had arrived a few weeks after him. Looking at his enthusiasm, we asked him to lead the group while another coordinator of ours just accompanied the group for safety.

The way he hosted the new group was extremely surprising. No one would ever believe that this person had just landed in India a few weeks back. He showed the group around local streets, making them taste food from his favorite shops, helped them do shopping and actually bargained better than any other Indian could've. He even took them to a local temple telling them about each and every god whose idol was present their.

In fact, on getting this feedback from our coordinator who had accompanied the group, we asked him to stay back after the project and he ended up extending his stay in India by two months working as an Experience Captain (coordinator) and also helping us set up the groundwork for a lot of projects that we had planned to launch in the future.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

The program that I would opt for would be the "Life of a Villager" travel experience. This is a really unique experience that I personally set up in a village in the lower Himalayan ranges.

This program enables the participant to live in a village in the homestay of a local villager. You'll really get to experience the beautiful culture and hospitality that is prevalent in the region. Along with this, you'll be getting the opportunity to participate in their daily activities like farming, taking care of cattle, fetching water from the stream, etc., which is very exciting and different from the kind of life that I have experienced so far.

The most amazing thing about this travel experience is not the culture or the beautiful scenery around the village, though. This program has been sent up with a local organization ensuring that through the travellers hosted in the program a regular stream of revenue in generated for the villagers helping them lead a better quality of life along with decreasing migration from villages to cities.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I believe our empathy towards travellers along with a mutual love for diversity in India makes us an amazing company for anyone who wants to travel or explore India.

Along with this the fact, we try to run all our experiences in the most sustainable way possible, having aligned most of them with the Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN is something to be really proud of.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The Customer (family for us). The most important factor for any successful company is the customer and his happiness, irrespective of what the company does. The company might be a travel company like us or a simple book store, but until and unless it tries to understand the customer and provide the best possible service, it'll never be a success.