In order to foster an authentic, serene and longstanding relationship between our travelers (the chameleons) and the locals (hosts, communities, guides, and anyone you will be fortunate to meet during your stay), we have listed the following commitments :
- To offer travels at a price allowing a fair compensation of the local populations, we may hire professional guides, individual hosts or communities.
- to respect local populations and their environment, by asking our travelers, guides, hosts and communities to commit to the same code of conduct.
- To propose, as much as possible, encounters with local people and communities within our network. However, as we cannot guarantee they will always be available, we may enroll our local guides and partners, who are professionals also adhering to the same principles.
- To compensate local communities with projects that benefit the whole group and not just a few individuals.
- Group travels of a maximum of 10 travelers and the ability to organize your own trip starting with 2 people.
- To make every effort in order to for your travel to occur according to the program we will have established together.
- Your safety is as important to us as your satisfaction and the learnings you will get from your travel. We will use safe transportation modes (airlines, boats, collective transportation, etc) and will adapt the program should your safety be jeopardized.
- In case climatic, political or any other event outside of our control would impact your program, we will immediately let you know, and we will discuss alternative activities or locations, or other travel dates.
- We commit to being fully transparent and to make ourselves available before, during and after your travel.
Our hosts and communities commitment:
In order to welcome our chameleons, our hosts and communities must:
- be at least 18 years old (or otherwise be accompanied by someone at least 18 years old)
- Be curious and appreciate new encounters. Our travelers are also curious and wish, such as a chameleon, step in the shoes, flip-flops or boots of the locals.
- know the ins and outs of their city and the places, people, activities, cultures, traditions, simple, extraordinary or simply weird stories and anecdotes that you will be proud to share with our cameleons
- respect our travelers as much as they will respect you. More specifically, do not take risks and make sure they feel comfortable and at ease.
- speaking french or english will enable a richer exchange with the travelers, however it is not a must
- have at least a little bit of free time (at least ½ day per month) and respect your commitment if you took an appointment (this includes arriving on time)
- inform Tikipam of the specific rules and customs you would like our travelers to respect, in particular regarding photos, their clothing, the behavior they need to adopt during ceremonies and other events. Remind them of these rules whenever you feel it is necessary.
Our travelers' commitment:
In order to travel withTikipam, we kindly ask our travelers to adapt to the local culture, such as chameleons. You commit to the following rules :
- respect and discreteness : even more so than with a classical travel, it is crucial that you adapt to the local customs. Behave as when you are being invited, with humility and discreteness. Dont bear any judgment. Adopt your hosts behavior when it comes to greetings, behavior during meals and ceremonies, physical contact (for instance, Brazilians consider touching a child's head can transmit negative energies)
- behavior during ceremonies: respect scrupulously the wishes and codes listed by the communities during ceremonies and meetings. Some are private, in no circomstance ignore the ban. If you are lucky enough to take part to such an event, participate as a humble and respectful spectator. Only intervene or participate (singing, dancing) if you are invited to. Only take photos and films if you have been authorized to do so. Resist the temptation to ask the meaning of the ceremony if nobody is offering to do so: rituals sometimes need to retain part of their miytery.
- photos : some people consider as a theft the fact of taking photos (of people, ceremonies, or even sacred places and objects). We ask you to only take photos of people when they gave their explicit consent. Never take photos without their knowledge. Make sure people you photograph are not expecting a compensation for it. Only promise you will send the photos if you are absolutely certain you will respect your commitment. If you have a Polaroid camera, this is an ideal way of sharing portraits of the people you take, in the spirit of a true exchange. In doubt, always ask for the advice of your guides and local hosts.
- dress code: you will need to adapt to the local customs and weather, as well as specific circumstances. We can give you more specific advice for the specific destination you are planning to visit.
- money, gifts, tips, begging : think about the standards of living of the people you are visiting. We strictly advise against giving money. It is much preferable to give objects that will be useful to the daily life of the local people. Your gift should be better addressed to the community leaders, school or orphanage directors, tribe chief, health units, who will be in a better position to share your gift wisely. Tikipam compensates the guides, hosts and communities fairly, as already described. In some countries, it is a custom to give tips to the guides who may accompany you. We can give you more precise advice on the destination you are planning. Last, for your purchases, make sure you pay the fair and true price of the objects you plan to buy in order to avoid an inflation due to tourism (if needed, check with several people). Bargaining is often an important part of the experience, and avoiding it may not be well perceived.
- punctuality and patience: be on time, and at the same time remember we don't all have the same notion of time. Impatience may not be well received by your hosts and can also negatively affect your perception of your trip. It is often a matter of how you look at things.
- respect of the laws: in a foreign country, you must abide to the local legislation. It may be more severe than the one of your own country. You may need to check the advice given to travelers by your embassy. In France, the web site of the Ministère des Affaires Etrangères is well done. More specifically, we forbid sexual tourism, and the trade of wild species and their derived products (skin or feather art craft, ivory, tattoo and turtle shells, corals, shells, wild pharmacy such as tiger bones, rhino horns, etc, Tibetan antelope wool clothing, precious woods objects...) as well as sacred and archeological objects.
- respect of the environment: we ask for you to respect these few simple rules, in order to limit your footsteps : limit waste as much as possible, take your waste with you, respect local rules (for example, some people can recycle soda cans and get a small revenue out of this). Scarcely use drinkable water, do not pollute it (soap, sun tan lotion in very small lagoons). Do not touch corals plants, animals. Do not feed them. Do not accept that people catch wild animals to show them to you. Go to the zoo if you absolutely want to see a sloth or a jaguar. In wild areas, remain silent, merge in the landscape, such as a chameleon. Do not walk off the path.