It's been a long time since we've sent out an update. With Laojia not being your typical company where we all sit around a desk and discuss things, and being all spread out across China, our online media efforts haven’t been that…social?
But despite the long silence there's no need for panic! Laojia has still been hosting plenty of people over this year (we recently received our 703th review :)and has some exciting new developments coming up.
Before we mention some of these developments let's use this opportunity to reflect a little bit on Laojia's past and what it has evolved into now.
5 years ago, my friend Eric and I, only had the simple desire to share our way of living in rural China. We cared about preserving the ancient house we had rented; were enjoying eating healthy, (mostly) locally grown food, jogging through the mountains, meditating up in the attic, and having endless tea sessions with villagers. What a life! Yes, it was mostly an incredible experience that lasted about 2 years.
And then we hosted our first guest, a friendly solo-traveler from Germany called Hans, the pioneer who trusted us and booked an airbnb in the middle of nowhere back in 2013.
We'll spare you all the stories of the time we spent in Langshi village, as we've written extensively about them in previous posts:
What's important for now is what Laojia 老家 has turned into and where we go from here. Many people ask us :
what Laojia 老家 exactly stands for.
Answering this question has been frustrating and eventually very helpful as it helps us identify where to direct our energy. Previously answering that question would result in answers like: preservation, 'healthy' tourism, authentic experiences, social impact etc. If you read back some of our posts, that’s how we ourselves described Laojia 老家.
Mostly, these things are what Laojia stands for:
We do care about preserving the valuable things that these communities have to offer, like its crafts, architecture, stories, farming methods etc.
( Langshi,Yangshuo,Guilin )
We also care about providing our guests with authentic experiences, which we believe means making sure guests and locals interact in a natural way with a foundation of friendship instead of commercialism.
Lastly, we do care about what impact tourism is having in these villages, and strive to create social impact.
So how can we bundle all of those elements, which Laojia 老家 cares about, into one category, so that we (and perhaps you) will have a much more easier time answering that oh so difficult question: What is Laojia 老家?!
What does one do when in doubt and despair, that’s right, drink good tea! After some contemplations, while sipping some Fujian Tieguanying, we came to the conclusion that like most of the time, we homo sapiens have made it too difficult on ourselves. The category that encompasses al the above ones, became so obvious.
That category is called: Life!
A Way of Living. And this is simply what Laojia 老家 stands for. Promoting a Way of Living
What kind of lifestyle do we wish to promote? Guests that visit Laojia get to experience a life that revolves around nurturing three elements: Oneself,ones Community and the ones natural Environment.
Each person will interpret these domains in their own way, and on a fundamental level all these domains aren’t separate, but let’s briefly explain what we generally mean with them:
This can mean taking care of yourself psychically and mentally.Whether you enjoy yoga, meditation, writing, painting, etc, our locations offer great opportunities to tune into your inner world or treat your body to a good workout in nature.
This can mean blending into the local community while at the same time staying curious for opportunities to help. We try and create activities that create value for the community and try to have our guests interact with the villagers in a natural way, which stimulate sharing and friendship.
Nurturing the Environment
This can mean having the awareness that we aren’t separate from our natural surroundings and that it needs just as much nurturing as the previous two domains. The natural farming initiative that we set up in Laozhai is an example of this as are the activities guests can participate that are in nature.
( Shiyanping,Zhangjiajie,Hunan )
The above are just examples that currently apply to Laojia 老家, and we are far from perfect in any of these areas. But some seeds have been planted, and the fact that the growth potential in each domain is limitless is an exciting prospect.
One can nurture any of these domains regardless if one lives in a rural or urban setting. But we’ve found that the countryside offers a great arena for this.
Whether our guests stay for 2 nights or one month, by staying at Laojia 老家 we wish to have our guests experience what it’s like to incorporate these three elements into their life.
It’s not hard to imagine nowadays that it’s crucial that we should do our best to think about what kind of lifestyle not only is good for ourselves, but also beneficial for our community and environment. By providing these locations we therefore hope to create a space that inspires people to think about what lifestyle they want to live.
By understanding some of Laojia’s core values it’s easier to move forward, something we definitely plan on doing, by improving each location while continuing to find more villages to connect with.
This motivation has mostly come from guests and friends like you who have kept an interest and have helped Laojia in various ways for which we are extremely grateful!
Since this article already is quite lengthy, we'll leave the good news for next time :) If you're really disappointed now, we'll give you a subtle tiny little hint:
LAOJIA IS OPENING A NEW LOCATION IN FUJIAN NEXT MONTH!
Now Yongfa and Maarten are busy fixing up this Laojia location and we will share updates soon. Stay tuned!
Instagram: @laojiachina ( #laojia )
Read more / Website: www.laojia.co
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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