giovedì 15 settembre 2016

How to Connect with the Locals while Traveling

What makes a destination special? Is the natural attractions or the historical monuments or the wide range of delicious foods? During the course of my journey, I have come to realize that it is the people that define a country or a region. The local population is and will be the core of any place you will visit, even if it is a hugely popular tourist destination. We talk about experiencing and learning about different cultures across the world, but where would be the existence of cultures without the local people? What significance would those cuisines have of not for those people? The world has evolved from the times when countries and people would be isolated from each other. Cross-cultural interactions and exchanges are at an all-time peak right now. Gone are the days when we would just rely on news channels to get a hold of how the world is shaping up. If you are able to understand these factors, then you yourself can find a whole lot of reasons to mingle with the local communities.


How you can connect with the Local people?

There are a lot of ways you can connect with the local people when you are traveling to and across a country. Most of the time you don't even have to make a big gesture or invest a lot of time doing this. Sometimes, the most simplest of things you do are good enough for those people to appreciate you. Here are a few ways how you can connect with the local people:

       Speak their language - No, you don’t have to be an expert at a new language to do that. Just learn some of the simple greetings like “Hello”, “Good Morning”, “How are you”, “Thank You” in the local language. You get these pocket-sized language guides everywhere and those are come in quite handy to get yourself acquainted with the foreign languages. Trust me, it is quite fun when you greet someone in their language, for example “Ni Hao”, “Goedemorgen”, “Apa Kabar?” - which stand for Hello, Good Morning and How are you in Chinese, Dutch and Indonesian respectively. This way even the locals would feel quite warmed up to you.

       Make small talk -  When you are at a restaurant, bar, shop or even your hotel/hostel, make small talk with the local folks there be it the waiter who served you food or the people at the reception desk or even the vendor from the street-food cart. You do not have to ask them about their family history but just a simple “Hi”, “Hello”, “How are you”, “What’s your name”, “Nice to meet you” is a good enough conversation. You never know what these interactions can lead to. My friendly chat with a waiter at a restaurant in Siem Reap,Cambodia led me to the best travel memory I have had when he took me to meet his uncle who was a survivor from the Cambodian civil war.



       Learn about culture and food - When you have longer conversations with the local people of the place you are visiting , more often than not you will end up discussing about their food and culture. If you are of the inquisitive kind or an adventurous foodie, then trying to know more about their food and culture will come naturally to you. Showing interest in their way of life, their religion, their rituals, festivals and foods is a great way of bonding with the local people.


       Volunteer - Whether you want to blend in or you want to give back something to the local communities, volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to do both. Many travelers take part in various volunteering projects across the countries they visit. I too have been involved with a couple of volunteering stints when I was traveling in Indonesia and Thailand. Most of these volunteering projects are setup by a group of local men and women with the intention of helping sections of the local communities. As you travel, you will find a lot of these environmental conservation, English teaching, community development and similar socially relevant projects where foreign volunteers are welcome. When you become a part of any such activities, you not only are doing something good towards the society but you gradually become a part of the team of local people. You live, eat, work with them for days and ultimately they become some of your best friends for life. Even though now I am at my home in India writing this book, I constantly crave for the company of those lovely people back in Indonesia with whom I lived for three months.






I am going to share with you some snippets from my stories and experiences of living with the local communities in Indonesia for three months. 

Facebook: Tamshuk Saha / Tamz Explores Twitter: Tamzexplores     Pinterest:   Tamzexplores


24 commenti:

  1. I have to agree with every tip you propose, because you are totally right. The moments are treasure the most from my trips are not the perfect postcard picture we take home, but I've also realized they are moments, mostly moments made of memories I shared with locals. When they love their place and their culture they are passionate about it and transmit it to us in a very different way. Much more insightful than any guide we buy. I must agree with you, mingling and sharing experiences with the locals is the best way to be able to say "I've been there" and really mean it.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Correct. You would never know a place so well than connecting with locals

      Elimina
  2. Volunteering is one of my favorite way to connect with the locals! It's really enriching and whenever I do long-term traveling, it's sure I will look for a place to volunteer. Speaking the local language is also a nice gesture and I always try to learn the basics when I visit a new country. Great tips :)

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Not everybody is ready for volunteering thoug... Anyhow it's good to try and to make the effort

      Elimina
  3. I personally connect with locals by asking questions such as what they, as local, would recommend me eating! They usually have delicious recommendations that are not in tour guides.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. I also like doing that. Especially for suggestions on where to eat. You usually find places that are not at all mentioned on the guide books!

      Elimina
  4. For me, sport has also always been a great way to interact with the locals. It's a universal language in the case of futbol, but also an opportunity to pickup a local sport or introduce something new, like the American sports of football and baseball.

    RispondiElimina
  5. This is so true. What a thoughtful and well written post - definitely indicators of a seasoned and appreciative traveller. Locals are definitely what make visiting certain places so special and by taking the time to understand culture, traditions and values makes the trip all the more worthwhile. Not to mention the locals know all of the best places to get the best food!

    RispondiElimina
  6. Great tips on getting a truly local experience. I agree, learning just a few words and not being afraid to chit-chat with people you run into is the best way to connect.

    RispondiElimina
  7. A very warm blog and genuine ways to bond with locals. There is always an initial ice breaker but then I guess once you overcome that, it goes with the flow. The moment you see a person trying to speak your language, you instantly want to help and be kind to the person.

    RispondiElimina
  8. These are inspiring suggestions on connecting. I tried learning a few basic words while travelling through China and I could tell the locals truly appreciated the effort. Volunteering is something I have on my list and would love to do it in a remote place like Madagascar.

    RispondiElimina
  9. These are great tips. I remember when I went to Llandudno for a vacation I had to depend so much on the locals. It was great that they knew my language. But I have also been to places where language was a big barrier . Not that I wasnt sure how to approach them , but they and I were unsure of how to communicate. But in the end we managed. :)

    RispondiElimina
  10. Interacting with local people anywhere is very endearing. The suggestions they provide are so so much better than any travel guide. They intact are very sweet :)

    RispondiElimina
  11. I love trying to connect with locals experiencing their home through their eyes.Although in some places it is not always safe to do so.

    RispondiElimina
  12. With so many different people exploring the world, the purpose of travel is becoming so diverse. Its so interesting that many people look forward to interacting with locals, doing community work, etc. Just shows so many varied perspectives.

    RispondiElimina
  13. Wowww ... locals Indonesia. You do not want to bali? Local residents in Bali are also very friendly. They welcome tourists who come. Additionally in Bali there are also many beautiful sights.

    RispondiElimina
  14. We believe connecting with locals and exploring the place with their help and guidance is best and authentic experience. You do have some great thoughts here. Thanks for sharing.

    RispondiElimina
  15. I usually use Couchsurfing to try to meet locals. But sometimes, I just met people on the street that are really nice and we end up doing things together. Like for example, when I went to Cuba I met this guy in Havana and he ended up showing me the town and then take me to meet his adorable nephews and sister. It was such an amazing experience! I call them now my Cuban family. :)

    RispondiElimina
  16. Connecting with locals is the best way to get to know the place and its culture. I used to talk even to the street vendors for directions and having a chit-chat with them, which is very refreshing.

    RispondiElimina
  17. It can be difficult when there is a language barrier or you aren't fluent. But I think it is so important to make an effort to connect!

    RispondiElimina
  18. I agree. Connecting with the locals is the best way to enjoy a place. I like the idea of volunteering and maybe I will plan that for my next visit.

    RispondiElimina
  19. I absolutely loved reading your post, and I can't agree more about connecting with locals is the most important thing. As I personally believe the people make you experience the real exchange of cultures. You've give some really useful tips that can be used to have a less touristy experience while traveling!

    RispondiElimina
  20. I have written about this on my blog and I will say it here - connecting with locals is one of the most beautiful and important reasons to travel! You get to learn so much about their world and their perspective of things.

    RispondiElimina
  21. I interact with locals on my trips and starts a small talk to break the ice. I have even made new friends with whom I am still connected while meeting them on my trips!

    RispondiElimina

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