I had put off writing this article for quite some time now, and despite what my parents say, it’s not because I like to procrastinate.

Any recollection of the YAP tour tends to overwhelm me quite a bit.

I think of all the warm and wonderful people I’d met who enriched the trip, all the mesmerizing sights I was fortunate enough to see, and of course, all the incredible food I had enjoyed.

Round Table had always been a big part of my childhood. The YAP tour, however, reinforced my love for the organization. The Young Ambassador Program was a lovely lesson on the importance of family, friendship and hospitality.

Every city or town we’d travel to, we were received with kind, cheerful smiles, and in some cases, even with grand ‘Welcome’ banners. Throughout the trip, all our hosts had treated us as their own. They had ensured their beautiful houses became our homes.

All the 41ers and Tablers we spent time with were warm and a lot of fun to hang out with! In addition to all the glorious tourist destinations, we were taken to the most popular restaurants and food joints in town. The barbecues hosted by the 41ers not only helped us mingle with the Tablers of the area, but were also amazing culinary experiences. Needless to say, every meal we had eaten during the trip was heavenly.

Our hosts had also discussed a great deal about Indian and European culture with us, and gave us interesting insights into their views on Immigration, Brexit, Climate Change, among several other global issues.

I really appreciate how flexible and breezy our schedule had been. There was always time for us to kick back and relax after a day of touring around a big city, for example. Our comfort was clearly of paramount importance to them.

The most special part of the trip is beautifully encapsulated in what our hosts would say, “You are family we hadn’t met before”. As told by our parents before we left for the trip, I did end up coming back with friends for life – those who stay on the other side of the ocean, and those who are closer to home.

Meghna Vodapalli