How to use your influence as a traveler and help people.

How to use your influence as a traveler and help people.

Do you have influence?


Maybe you’re an influencer in your job, country, online. Maybe you’re not.

But what I can tell you for sure is:


As a traveler, when you travel in certain places, you have a lot of influence you can use to help the local people.


And to achieve so, you even don’t need to have a ton of online followers.

In this article, I will show you how to use your influence as a foreigner when you travel, and how you can easily do a lot of good things for the local people.

1. How I became an influencer without noticing it first

It’s not easy to know what to do when you suddenly have a strong media coverage.

How to use this sudden popularity and influence?


How to find the right voice?

A sudden media coverage

As a solo female foreign traveler, I use to be featured in the newspapers, as on this front page of Baskhar Dainik during my first trip to Bastar in 2012.

The influencer Stephanie Langlet in the Indian newspapers in 2012

But in 2015 the situation evolved, as people were both proud and happy to know I was promoting Chhattisgarh worldwide.

via Stéphanie LangletIt makes you proud and happy for a moment when someone from as far as France shares your work….

Posté par Srijal Sahu sur mardi 29 décembre 2015

Each day during my journey in Bastar, I was in the newspapers, on the TV or on the radio.


And at the very beginning, I didn’t know how to deal with it and use this influence.

Saroj Mahanta Stephanie, you now become a rockstar, you too coming in the Indian newspaper, just like our prime minister… Keep doing the good work of making underprivileged live’s better. God bless you with more strength and more happiness. Oh yeah, and a strong stomach too…

Imagine this kind of coverage and kind message suddenly inundating you.


How would you react?

I began to understand I could use this influence to help people

I had created an Instagram account to cover my trip and only had a few loyal followers, mainly from Chhattisgarh and India.


I used to post my best pics and, once arrived in Bastar, it was full of Tribal people, markets and festivities of Bastar Dussehra.

I was explaining the local traditions, the Adivasis (Tribal people) beliefs, their life, and was never talking about me. Why?


I wasn’t the topic. Adivasis and their customs were the important ones.


But quickly, my friends from all over India were asking me for my personal thoughts.

View this post on Instagram

Someone asked me to talk more about me. First, let me tell you that it's a very difficult thing for me. French people don't like so much to talk about themselves. Especially me, I prefer to share what I learn about others. It's very difficult for me to express my feelings. I'm comfortable if people ask me personal questions here, but it's something we don't do in France. We never ask questions about family, job, money, religion, etc. As I'm very familiar with Asia it's something I deal with. That means that some foreigners can feel uncomfortable with these questions, and also that we won't ask these kind of questions. It doesn't mean that we are not interested in. But it's only not in our culture to dare to ask personal questions to strangers. Generally I can deal easily with that. But it can create confusion when the links are deeper. I already introduced you my indian family. They are very important for me. And on the day I arrived in Jagdalpur, I was very nervous to meet them again. I was both very impatient and afraid of their reaction. I love them as if they were my family. They consider me as a family member. But I hardly express my feelings. I don't ask personal questions. That's why they thought that I haven't the same feeling for them. Even if I said it is the same for me, they hardly believe it... #jagdalpur #Bastar #Chhattisgarh #India #culturaldifferences

A post shared by Stéphanie Langlet (@tribesandminorities) on

I decided to use this sudden influence to spread some important messages I strongly believe in : respect the tribes and their culture, respect people who are different, be careful of people doing good in the name of a religion (we don’t need to convert to be good)…

View this post on Instagram

Today, one of my friends asked me which foreign country I prefer. This is always a difficult question to answer, but it's difficult to deny the power India has on me. And of course Chhattisgarh has a very special place in my heart. So I started to answer India. My new friend looked at me, seriously believing I was joking ! As he couldn't believe it, I told him : This is my 4th time in India, and 2nd time in Bastar. Why would I come back if I didn't like India ? What I noticed everywhere in the world is that people hardly see the Wonders of the place where they live. We always look for the interesting things somewhere else and forgot to look at the ones we have in front of us. I was born in the north of France but I almost know nothing about this place. The main attractions tourists visit are unknown from me. At the opposite, I live in the Southwest of France since 2000. And I know more about the traditional festivals and places than most of the people who were born here. So my personal message tonight is : be concious of the beauty of your district, region, country, culture, traditions. You have serious reasons to be proud of it. Please, keep it alive. Stay these lovely people who love to interact with others, who take time for their relatives, who open their heart so much to the foreigners. There's so many fascinating things here : the tribal life of course, but also the world longuest festival Bastar Dussehra, your unique culture and believes, your ability to smile so easily... Of course everything is not perfect. But perfection would be really boring 😀 #Jagdalpur #Bastar #Chhattisgarh #wowcg #India #culturaldifferences

A post shared by Stéphanie Langlet (@tribesandminorities) on

Tips: How to find the right voice and use your influence the right way

    • Be generous.


    • Listen to your audience: They will tell you what they want to learn from you.


    • Write for them, not just to fulfil your own guts or by trying to guess what they want.


    • Ask them if they don’t tell you by themselves.


    • Don’t act as if it were all about you. People don’t love you because of who you are, but because of what you say, you write,how you say and write it and how you manage your influence.

Debayan Sarkhel I love it. I salute you both for your attachment and commitment.

When someone becomes influential, people want to know how is the feeling. This is the moment when we have to remember who is really important and to reaffirm our cause.

View this post on Instagram

My feelings about the articles. Some of my friends wanted to know my feeling about this popularity. My answer is simple : I'm both happy for Bastar people as they feel proud to know foreigners can be so interested in their culture, know it, respect it and even promote it. And it's also a very strong feeling to feel as part of this community. People always do everything to make me feel like at home in Bastar. Of course my indian family living in Power House chowk has a special place in my heart. One of my friends even see me as a kind of super hero and role model. For me, the super heroes are all these people, especially Tribals, living with almost nothing but who love lives and are happy. They are able to give the only things they have. It's very easy for me to leave my comfort as it's only for a few weeks and not for my whole life. A role model ? I don't think so either but I feel very happy when people tell me I inspire them to discover their country and culture. I also hope people will realize the importance to keep their tribal culture but also their asian traditions alive. In most of european country - the basque country where I live is an exception - we lost it and I feel as if our values also disappeared with our traditions. I'm also moved each time someone - indian people - ask me how they can help physically or by a donation to the causes I support. It also makes me feel that I use the right way to touch people ' s heart. #thoughts #Bastar #Chhattisgarh #wowcg #India #windowonthetribes

A post shared by Stéphanie Langlet (@tribesandminorities) on

2. How to know if you follow the right tracks

Three main sights will show you’re using your influence the right way.

People will join your cause

Pankaj Patel Thanks, Mrs.Langlet. It’s awesome & our grand pleasure that you arrived in our State #chhattisgarh. Really you inspire us to save & support our Indian culture especially our traditions of Chhattisgarh. Thank you once again & again to visit here. You know I’m feeling joyful since I see your posts, comments, and your miraculous #Photography

Ahhh, India and beyond. We would love to explore Asia with the kids, sooner than later. Stéphanie of Amatu-Artea the…

Posté par 2 Travel Dads sur vendredi 15 janvier 2016

Your friends and supporters will help you

My friend from Odisha, Saroj Mahanta, did an awesome work by translating the article of Shailendra Thakur, adding my dog and cat.


And Shailendra used it to write the last article before my departure and promote my instagram account. During my trip, I both used Instagram with Facebook to post pictures and comments every day, spreading love for India, tolerance and respect for everyone.

Stephanie Langlet in the newspaper of Dantewada

You will get more and more feedback on your work

Such a coverage makes local people feel proud of their culture. They realise how much it’s important as foreigners also participate in the local events.


Some people also learn more on Bastar.

Tips: engagement is the key

The number of your followers is a vanity metric. It’s not by having thousands of passive followers that you will get some influence. It will only work with a few brands that still ignore the right metrics. Without the ones who feel involved in your work, you will achieve nothing.


Again, generosity is important. Don’t play the “follow / unfollow game” on the social media. It will only demonstrate that you don’t care about others.


Catch each opportunity to help others. It’s better to be known as the one who always helps others without any compensation, than the one spending his / her time in auto-promotion.


But be clear on the things you can’t do or you will quickly be overwhelmed by the requests.

3. What can you achieve with your influence

Here are some examples of how you can use your influence:

You can help people remembering the beauty of their culture and country

View this post on Instagram

Do you really think that the grass is greener elsewhere ? You'll certainly think differently after reading that... As a French, it's always challenging for me to talk about myself. Since I'm arrived in Jagdalpur, people can't help to tell me that I changed in the best case, or that I became fat / big / fatty... I try to compose with that when it comes from my indian family as I know there's nothing bad behind. They even find me healthier. But we have a very different opinion about that in Europe. Not only I don't feel fine with my new body. But, more important, it reminds me these last 2/3 years that were the worst of my life. This is what is hidden behind it : I was very sick because of my job. We call it burn-out and more and more people in France live with this disease. In my company, some of them even commit suicide. This disease affects the more enthusiastic and passionate people, the one who work the hardest. The biggest symptoma is the sensation that the brain is burning. It also makes some easy things impossible to do. As I'm a commercial manager working for the french railway company, I was totally unable to enter a railway station. Yesterday, when my closest friend teased me again with my weight, I couldn't bear it anymore. It reminded me that each day is a fight against burn-out and that I will have to return to work in a company that is bad for my health. And where I have no more function as they suppressed for the 3rd times in a row my previous post. A company I don't agree anymore with the new policy. How would I be able to manage a team again when I don't want to follow the new rules of pressure on employees and reign of money ? Right, I have a good salary. Right, I could offer a beautiful big house. Right, I don't have to fight for money. But I fight each day for my health. So what is money without health ?... Of course I have some projects to live from my skills : my trips, my knowledge of Asian people and my area, my 18 years experience of hospitality and customer satisfaction. But for now it's only projects and I'll have to work for this company at the end of November. Do you still think the grass is greener elsewhere? #culturaldifference

A post shared by Stéphanie Langlet (@tribesandminorities) on

You can be invited for a conference to the schools and universities

A conference can be an excellent opportunity to spread the messages you believe in, even if the main topic is not totally related to your cause.

You can accept to be interviewed by the TV and spread your message

I had a full day interview with several journalists in the important temple of Dantewada, was followed for a few hours and interviewed for the TV and some documentaries, had a few impromptus interviews for the radio.


As I was a manager, trainer and lecturer for 19 years, I could manage these interviews quite easily and use it to spread my message of respect for the Adivasis and the traditional cultures.

It can even lead you to some unexpected and wonderful social projects

By demonstrating such a dedication for the Adivasis cause and the preservation of the local culture, I met a beautiful humanist family from Jaipur.


They proposed me to participate in their dream: opening a guesthouse in Uttarakhand that will have a few free rooms for some local families in need.


Of course, it’s also because of my skills in hospitality, customer relationship and management.


But it proves how travel blogging and the collaboration with the local media can lead to unexpected projects.

But don't forget how much your words and work became important for the local people

It’s not easy to leave a place when you create a personal relationship with the locals.


By showing love and respect for the local people, you will raise hope and proudness in people. They will certainly ask you to come back, to continue what you began.


Don’t make promises you’re not able to follow.


It’s better to say nothing and do than saying and do nothing…

Pankaj Patel #Visit Again…

Vishnu Dhurve Great work for tribal

traveler_namrata Thank you so much for this enthusiasm!

Tips: each time you can talk about your project / dream / cause / passion, do it

Don’t be afraid to see your idea stolen. You injected your personality inside it and you’re unique, so your idea is.


The more people will know about your work or project, the more chance you will have to get a new perspective, collaborator, supporter, a sponsorship, a mentor, a new associate, some future customers.


Isn’t it nice to feel you inspired others to do some good things? So, if someone uses it his own way, that means you can change the mentality.


For this trip, I had a lot of business cards. Each time someone asked me about my work or website, I could give one.


It’s when I gave my card to my associates from Jaipur that they realised we could do a lot together.

4. What you should do and... never do!

Again, be generous

Did I remember to tell you to be generous?

More seriously, this is SO important.


What happens to me today is because I began to promote Bastar after my first trip in 2012.

I was waiting for nothing in return. Actually, I already felt as if I have had a lot from the people from Bastar.


My work was noticed by Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. They delivered me a certificate of excellence I could display on my blog.

Then, I was recognised as one of the top 7 foreign bloggers on India by Holidify.


For the Indian media and people, it was natural to recognise my influence and to promote me as a loyal supporter and lover of the Indian and Chhattisgarhi culture.


And more popularity and influence means more possibilities to defend your cause.

But don't be stupid

Some people will think they can take advantage of your generosity.

This is not a reason to stop being generous.


But it’s a serious reason to learn to say “no” or simply ignore the requests.


When I was in Bastar during Dussehra in 2015, an Indian reporter I only know online sent me this email:

“I’m writing an article on Bastar Dussehra. I need your pics. Send it urgently”.

Of course, I even didn’t waste my time explaining why I would not send my pics.


Often, you will also be frustrated by the absence of “thank you”. But this is part of the game:

Don’t stop to be generous because of these uneducated people.


Believe in people.

Don't give lessons

Believe me:


Sometimes it’s hard to keep calm when hearing some ironic comments on the tribes and minorities.


It would be easy for me to tackle the speaker but I never do it. Why?


It wouldn’t give any result and will deserve my cause.


One day, I heard “Tribal people are uneducated, wear bad clothes, are dirty”, etc

Instead of a useless confrontation, I explained why I respect Adivasis, the difference of their knowledge.

I also said that I could easily make fun of the Indian traditional clothes, thinking that the reference is the Western clothes.

But why should I think that my clothes, habits, beliefs are superior?

It’s only different…


Yes, this kind of message is much more powerful!

But it's not a reason to agree with everything

I have my own opinion on the religions, the Indian caste system, the place of the woman in a few families, etc.


But confronting this opinion with others would only be judging with my own culture and values.

Instead, I’m listening to the different opinions and try not to judge.

I try to understand what makes people think differently.

Nobody is perfect.

Each country has its qualities and defaults.


Having some influence doesn’t mean you can and should say and change everything.


Your influence won’t last long if you don’t keep your feet firmly on the ground.

Stay far from the political conversations

In France, we say that two topics always lead to a fight:

Religion and politic.


In India especially, people love to talk about politic.


But never forget you are a foreigner.


People will try to involve you in such conversations.

Some will try to see a political act in something you do or say.


Sometimes the border is thin between political and social topics.

Be extremely careful in what you say and do.


It’s better to stay outside these conversations.

5. And you, how will you use your influence?

There are different ways to use your influence.


But if you’re a foreigner travelling in another country, you have to be conscious of the role you can play.


Unfortunately, I met so many travellers who take distance with the local people as they are afraid to trust them.

They often think that people are only interested in their money.


Of course, you will meet some of them on your way, but they are only a small part and you will more often meet people ready to share with you everything they have, even if they are extremely poor.


The way I chose to use my influence is by spreading tolerance and respect and fighting for the preservation of the traditional culture.


It’s not always easy, as it requires to be very active on and offline.


You will also meet some people who want to harm you and make you give up.


And we all know how it’s difficult to go out of our comfort zone and be under the spotlight.


But the smiles along the way, the happiness in the eyes and the positive impact really worth it.

And you, what is / will be your fight ? How will you use your influence?


Use the comment section to tell us what you do or would like to do.

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The traveler's influence

About Stephanie

Stephanie Langlet is called Indie, the female Indiana Jones by her French readers.

She helps the travellers to feel comfortable outside of their comfort zone and to travel closer to the people and culture (read the testimonials).

She is a Trip Planner, blogger and a Hospitality and Management Consultant.

Fond of the Tribes and Minorities, she’s specialised since 2012 in the tribes and festivals of Central India and have collaborated with Chhattisgarh Tourism Board to promote it. She’s often interviewed by the Indian medias.

In 2015, she was recognised as one of the Top 6 foreign bloggers about India by Holidify, and as an influencer for Chhattisgarh by Chhattisgarh Tourism Board.

She also runs her own guesthouse in the south-west of France, from May to October.

Her mission is to help to the preservation of the traditions of the World, through the promotion of the traditional festivals and customs.

More about Stephanie langlet.

45 thoughts on “How to use your influence as a traveler and help people.”

  1. It is very heart warming to see someone not from India, spreading love for India. I have always admired you for it and with article I know that I am not the only one. Thank you so much for sharing the brighter side of life in my country. 🙂
    Initially published on Amatu Artea on the 22th of March, 2016

    • Thank you so much Ami. I had to go to the kitchen and prepare a coffee to avoid crying after all these beautiful encouragements… I always try to see the brighter side of things, and India has so much to offer to people who take the time to discover it deeply <3

  2. It’s amazing that you’re using your voice and audience to promote a great message of love. These are the keys to cultural appreciation and this is precisely why we travel. Keep doing what you’re doing! 🙂
    Originally published on Amatu Artea on the 26th of March, 2016

  3. What an inspiring story of giving back through travel. Raising awareness of real values is so important in this day and age. Sometimes I despair at what is going on in the world today. You are spreading a very important message through your work. Please keep it up!
    Initially published on Amatu Artea on the 29th of March, 2016.

  4. What a perfect analysis of how one can be perceived by a group and how to leverage that trust to share their stories and positively influence a whole world of travelers. I particularly love that you’re able to share stories and broaden the views of children. It’s amazing when one can be respected and at the same time publicly promote a culture, both for awareness and to increase tourism in a dignified manner. One more reason we love following your travels and work.
    Originally published on Amatu Artea on 21st of March, 2016.

    • Thank you so much for these lovely words that move me.
      A part of your comments remembers me when I was a trainer. I always used to tell some stories from my trips to explain a concept and strike the minds. One of the most active and studious groups quickly claimed for my anecdotes as a break and a mind strike 😀

  5. Wow, I love that this is such a heartfelt message. You certainly were featured in a lot of places, and I agree it’s wonderful to know that you could and did make a difference.
    Originally published on Amatu Artea on the 21st of March, 216.

    • Lucky me, I’m not always featured this way. But as in India I’m more and more known as “the foreigner who promotes Chhattisgarh”, I assume the peaceful days are over 😉
      That’s also true that the travellers I sometimes spend a few days with, often tell me they don’t have so much luck / invitations / opportunities when they travel. Maybe it’s because I take my time and hide my shyness behind a big smile, ah ah !

  6. Spreading tolerance and respect is so important! I had a bad traveling experience when I was young that left me distrustful and nervous when traveling. When I found the courage to open myself up to new people and experiences I discovered how beautiful and rewarding traveling can be. Thanks for posting!
    Originally published on Amatu Artea on the 22nd of March, 2016

    • I remember a french girl I met in Vietnam. She was also very nervous and distrustful. She was so full of tension when I met her ! We have spent a few days together, taking time to walk around, talking with people, and step by step she felt appeased.
      I also noticed that contacts are totally different when I don’t feel comfortable. During my first visit of a temple in Cambodia, I didn’t know how to behave with the monks as I had the experience of the thai and chinese ones (distant) and burmese ones (lovely). Nobody talked to me. I arrived in the second temple with a khmer guy, I felt confident : I spent hours talking with the monks and became friend with the Master of the monastery ! They all came to discuss.
      I try to apply it in my daily life, but it’s not so easy to adopt the same mind state…

  7. I applaud your work and using your audience to promote messages of love and tolerance. These are key to my goals as a family traveller. I want to instil these values into my children by introducing them to different people, places and cultures.
    Originally published on the 22nd of March, 2016.

    • That’s so True, Carlie. And I admit that I don’t say everything on the condition of these tribes on my blog. I reserve it for the social media only. And the blog is the beautiful part of what happen there… I don’t think it’s necessary to showcase the plight and hardship to help people. Showing that we respect them and their culture is already something that is very important. I’m sure that most travellers do it, but talking about it on a blog or on the social medias can be important for these populations also. In the case of Adivasis, a lot of Indians are not interested in them for different reasons. When some foreigners show them the beauty of their culture, they realise it more easily.

  8. Influence is a powerful tool and it is really heartening to see that you have been making excellent use of it. It is very commendable to see your efforts in helping the local people and cultures and giving back to society through sustainable travel.

    • Thank you Vyjay. I hope to be able to continue for a long time. I have always been moved by the communities who have been able to keep their ancient traditions alive. They really deserve a strong recognition.

  9. I certainly have to agree with you on two points in particular. This first is that you don’t have to agree with everything, in fact, it is impossible. After all, these are cultures so drastically different from our own, it would be impossible to but having an argument about each and every little thing will only succeed in isolating people. The second point is to avoid political discussions when possible. Again, like the article said, you are a foreigner and will always be viewed as such and these political talks can come across as an attack on people’s entire identity. Important work you are doing

    • Thank you Gareth. Sometimes it’s not an easy task to avoid the political talks. Even by avoiding it, I met some nationalists online who tried to see a political side in my work. I know that not everyone is happy to see a foreigner doing something for their country, but I run away from them 😀

  10. As bloggers , it is our duty to relay the information correctly and in a way not to offend, but to help the local community. Surely, if something is wrong, we should say that, but being kind and real gets us quite a lot of nice feedback.

    I have always tried to show the real face, not touristy, of all the places I visit and to give back to the local communities, regardless of how many followers i have.

  11. I love this post. I love the concept of using influence to promote something good and important messages! Love to see a post focusing on spreading positivity!

  12. Its a proud feeling to be acquainted to someone like you who is doing so much for India without even being an Indian.Loved the article and your journey and your tips on how to become a positive influencer. Being a foreigner in India and becoming an influencer in tribal matters is not something one gets to hear very often.Kudos to you.

  13. What an interesting concept! There are many problems in the world, so it is admirable that you combine travel with actually trying to do good through your travels. I have often thought of doing volunteer work, which I guess would be in a similar vein.

  14. Really interesting post. Though I think one needs to add what a huge responsibility comes with being an influencer or someone who just writes in general. We need to remember that not only our actions but also our words matter.

  15. Hi Stephnie, Thank you for putting down your thoughts on this. Very helpful indeed. Now that I have retired from my “regular” job I intend to do a lot more social documentaries in India having already done some. Your insight will help me write my stories. You name was mentioned by my guide Awesh when I visited Bastar. Similar interests! All the best. Continue the great work.

    • Hi Bharat. Great to know you were travelling with the awesome Awesh! He’s the one who taught me the most about the Tribal culture of Bastar.
      Do you have a YouTube channel where I can see some of your work? I also wish you all the best but there are so many passionate things to do to help the tribes and minorities from India, that I don’t doubt you will do a great work.

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