By Kach Medina
Co-Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group.
We travel to have new experiences; to see, do, and eat things that are different. We escape our daily lives in exchange for a few days or weeks abroad to experience things we don’t encounter every day. The moment you take your first step in a foreign land, a dozen things rush into your head.
The places you wanted to see, the things you wanted to do, the food you wanted to eat and the kind of people you are going to mingle with. When I go traveling, I want to feel and experience the culture, like a local. So more than taking a picture with a temple on the background, I follow the examples of locals.
Acting local used to be as simple as steering away from the touristy places but as people learn about how amazing it feels to have the perspective of a local they started doing more than just being a plain old tourist – they immerse themselves into the life. If you want to experience a different kind of travel, here are five ways to explore your destination and live like you’ve been there since birth.
Visit the local market
If you want to feel the heartbeat of a city you need to visit their local market. There’s no better way to see what locals do on a regular basis, like going to the market. Browsing the local market will give you a glimpse if not the total outlook of the way of living of the local people. Here you actually interact with the locals. You talk to them about the price, the kind of produce they have, sometimes even get a free taste of their locally sourced item. Unlike in groceries or supermarket s where you actually talk to someone when you are about to pay.
This is also a good place to find other things locally made like furniture, decorations, and even toys. If experience is what you want, the local market will not fail you.
Take Public Transportation
Acting and feeling like a local require you to understand how actually living in the city or country feels and taking the public transportation is the most effective way to let you experience it. It is an insight into how things work in the core of your destination. Riding their public transportation is an adventure on its own. The bus will take you to areas away from the tourist area and allow you to visit places that TripAdvisor didn’t tell you about.
Catch Your Own Food – Meat & Fish
If you want to feel like a local, you need to start acting like one and catch your own meal. This applies heavily when you are near the water. People near the water don’t rely heavily on supermarkets or grocery stores for food supplies, rather, they grow, cultivate, or catch their own food.
If there is water nearby you can bet that fish is on the menu most days. Catching fish is much easier than other animals. Also much safer. All you need is a pole and the right bait. If you plan on getting meat from other animals, be sure to as a local for assistance. There may be laws or even religious reasons why some animals are off limits.
Eat Local Cuisine
Nothing feels more local than applying their palette to yours. Experience their local dishes and delicacies. I highly suggest trying small restaurants or even roadside vendors. They serve not just delicious food, but authentic local feels. Make sure to do some research before you try something totally outside of your norm.
Visit Churches or Temples
Paying respect to the country you’re visiting can be done in many forms. For me, it could be taking a visit to their place of worship. Religion plays an important role in society, and also shapes the culture of a country. Learning a thing or two about their faith is like taking a stroll in their past. Being able to understand why and where their societal rules come from can give you a clear view of how their society works. It will also help you be respectful of their lifestyle.