Each trip is not just a move in space. When you visit a new land, the most precious treasure that you can bring back is the experience, the emotions when your soul connected to the spirit of the land – not just the souvenirs or selfie pics.
TRAVEL AND LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
When you take beautiful photos, check-in at a “hot” destination, then immediately post it on social networks, it can make many people admire you or feel jealous. But there will be nothing left after the trip if you do not learn how to connect with local people, get acquainted with different cultures, learn about the way of life and habits of local people, and visit unique places not on the “tour map” full of tourists’ footprints everywhere.
Melissa Roy, an American woman admired by the backpacker community when she travelled to 109 countries at the age of 31, is a traveller who loves journeys with local experiences. Melissa Roy regularly uses Couchsurfing, a social network, to apply for homestays, in order to stay with the locals, learn their lifestyle and eat real local food. Although she does not stay in a country for long, she said she learns the most in the shortest amount of time.“Taking part in activities with the locals for three days is a fuller experience than staying for two weeks,” she said enthusiastically.
The travel website, BookYogaRetreats, has conducted a survey of over 300 people on travel trends of 2017. And the results have shown that the general trend of 2017 is: Travel to enrich the experience, broaden cultural knowledge and history, not just for taking a rest or sightseeing. About 32.9% of respondents said they travelled with the clear goal of learning a new skill. In particular, more than half of respondents are more interested in immersing themselves in the local culture, opting to blend in and experience the local way of life. The 2015 travel trend report from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) found that many visitors are finding that sightseeing is “a superficial understanding through cursory observation” and is not enough. They want to look for more authentic experiences and live like a local. Instead of just visiting popular tourist destinations, the trend of authentic holiday experiences makes visitors choose to visit far-flung countries which are rich in culture and traditions such as Peru, Cambodia and Vietnam, to learn about life, customs and history of remote villages, legendary rivers, or ancient architecture.
Sometimes you follow the dull old trails because there are no local friends by your side and the travel guide book in your hands shows you countless “destinations for visitors”. However, when you are more interested in immersing yourself in the local life, you do not have to go around and experience superficial sightseeing.
Instead of following the tour guides and visiting the typical landmarks in a closed car, you can walk around the streets, stop somewhere to talk to street vendors and bargain over the price of never-seen stuff. You can also try a dish with an incomprehensible name, visit the flea market instead of a famous crowded commercial centre, enjoy coffee in a small café instead of international brand-name coffee chain which we can find in any country, feel the pulse of life, experience unpredictable moments, and make more local friends on your trip.
While you will have unique experiences, unforeseen joys, you may sometimes experience some unexpected trouble, or observe the bad side of life. All of this will help you understand the destination you are visiting in the most honest way.
Moreover, making friends with the locals sometimes informs you of a list of never-before-seen locations, stalls with delicious delicious local delicacies that you cannot find on the Internet. Vu Thuy Linh, a communicator as well as a travel enthusiast, has excitedly shared her unique experiences from a trip to Singapore: “I wanted to feel the breath of Singapore, so for five days on Lion Island, I lived like a Singaporean. I was at a homestay, asked locals where they go and had my own ‘made by me’ journey.
Thu Hoai | Wanderlust Tips | Cinet