08 May Rules for Intentional Travel: Befriend Locals
Want to know where to eat the best gallo pinto? Where does everyone watch the soccer game? Which stall at the market has the most honest vendor? The answer is simple: ask a local! Most people are excited to play host and show off their hometown, famous local cuisine, or explain holidays and customs. And who better to learn from than someone who’s lived there for years!
There are ways of connecting with people outside of just bumping into them on the street. Couch Surfing is common and a way I’ve met some great people (long term ex-pats can be a fountain of information), but also consider that taking a language course, volunteering, or jumping into a pickup game of soccer can all be friendship-inducing activities. (See: Stay a while as well…if you’re not in one place for more than a day, good luck with building any sincere camaraderie.)
But to have a good friend you have to be one; friendship goes both ways. Share some of yourself, invite your new friend along to dinner, give a thank you gift to hosts. Act as an ambassador from your home country- be curious and open while being a gracious guest, too. Behind learning the language (which helps here too), this can be the most formative means of expanding and deepening your experience. You get insights and perspectives far richer than the best written guidebook.
This is the last of our 10-part series of great stories and reflections from Ingrid. Find the rest at: Simple Rules for Intentional Travel.
About Ingrid: Ingrid is a wanderlust at heart. She’s lived all up and down the west coast, studying environmental science and Spanish at the University of Portland and studying how to grow vegetables in Colorado and Washington. Her favorite activities include rock climbing, eating ice cream, and writing letters. Her travels have taken her from the Caribbean to East Asia and many destinations inbetween. The next places she hopes to travel to are New Zealand, Japan, and Norway.
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