Why do you travel? Is it to detoxify? Is it so you can see scenic spots or to experience thrills? I hope that when you do travel, you get to experience the local culture of the place you go to. Culture defines a place more deeply than a tourist spot and souvenir pieces. How can you experience a place and its culture on your next trip? How can you make sure that your plane tickets become remembrances to memorable and meaningful exchanges with the locals in whatever destination you go to? Here’s a guide:
- Go someplace where there aren’t many tourist facilities. Boracay, Cebu, Singapore – these are places where you can do a lot and see a lot. But with the many sights and activities come the lack of time to interact with the locals. For your next travel, why not go to a place where there are limited tourism provisions so you can experience a more authentic trip in touch with the local culture of the place?
- Become part of an outreach group that travels. What’s your advocacy? Is it a religion? Do you want to teach kids around the world how to read or write? Surely you have something that you want to share to everybody, something that you’d be passionate enough to travel the world for. This type of trip will surely take you to have a closer look at the lives of the locals – the people you want to reach out to.
- Instead of booking a tour guide, find a local. With a local as your tour guide, you get to have a livelier and more realistic tour of the places that you’ll go to. Just don’t expect any deep detail about the history of the places you’ll visit; locals give a different vibe to a tour. Make sure you give a token of appreciation to your tour guide!
- Spend more time in a tourist spot. If you want to go to a popular tourist spot, say, the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Rome, instead of just taking photos, sit inside and observe the comings and goings of people. It is a place of prayer after all, and it is where you can observe locals in their vulnerable state – praying. Talk with a churchgoer and ask questions about their faith.
- Focus on what the place is passionate about. Every place has its own pulse. In Africa, for instance, you will find certain places where the locals are very passionate about taking care of the animals that roam around. Find about what your destination is known for or passionate about and show your support.