When you are traveling and you’re clearly a tourist you make safe contact with locals easily. That gives traveling a great extra dimension.I love that people are curious about me … I am just like that towards them.Precisely that is why you get such fun, discovering conversations!
Yet I often hear the tip that you should try to blend in … Not to stand out as a tourist .. This because you as a tourist are a kind of prey for the locals.
The other side to it is that you are seen as a tourist and therefore like to learn something about the country where you are.That makes it so much more fun!Safe contact with locals is precisely the extra dimension that I am looking for!
I do love to take the local bus to sit in between the locals and experience their life! Read this blog about my travel in Myanmar by local bus!
Look .. that you do not go into the slums with a large camera hanging in front of you do you understand, right? Or that you are walking around in a busy center with an expensive IPhone in your back pocket … You do not have to challenge it in places where you can reasonably see that there are (also) people with different intentions there.
But that you are a tourist, especially travelling in Asia, Africa and South America, is a fact. How you want to blend in…It does not work because you just look different then the average local citizin.
When I traveled through the state of Sikkim with 2 Indian bloggers for 10 days in January 2019, it became clear to me again how nice it is to have time for that extra dimension of contact with the locals in your journey. That people say hello to you, that people just want to take a picture with you and have a short chat with you ..
Abhinav of A Soul Window fell from one surprise into the other. In the beginning he really thought that I was the first to say something, or that I really did my best to get in touch. As a (local) tourist, he had almost no spontaneous contact. He wasn’t waved at … He didn’t get the many smiles I got from all over the place.
When Abhinav started to notice it and also got into the interaction. He waved back also and answered also the greetings. It was just the best, Abhinav enjoyed it also!!
For him the biggest surprise was when a police officer nodded his head and gave me a smile 🙂
For me these kinds of contact with locals makes the travels so much nicer!! How short the contact is does not matter, being part of the same situation and sharing a short smile or comment is just the best. Knowing that we all are part of the same world and knowing that the smile or comment makes us all just a little bit more happy!!
After all, you also go on a journey to learn from the locals. To better understand the country and culture? The way in which I travel has been grown into solo travel because I don’t like the average travel that the companies offer. You don’t have enough time to make local contacts like this. During my first free tour in 2012, my approach was that I just wanted to sit on a bench and let local life pass by.
The life of the citizens of Hanoi. I spent quite a few hours on the benches around Hoan Kiem Lake and I enjoyed it. I spoke to students who wanted to learn English, I ‘talked’ with hands and feet with older women who wondered why I was sitting there. And gave a lot of smiles to the many local passers-by.
Since that time I travel like this and love it!!
Safe Contact with Locals
Taking my time at a village and especially for those spontaneous encounters. They don’t have to be long and thorough. Just that short conversation, that smile or just that photo together that you feel part of their world and they of yours. Sometimes a cup of chai, tea or coffee! They like to give it to you and share something of their world with you!
After a short conversation, I also went to eat together in a restaurant, and got on the back of Sunil’s motorbike to ride on the boulevard in Kochi, Kerala – India. If it feels good, if you really do not have the idea that it is someone who only appeals to you to become better of you and therefore only sees you as a prey …
Why wouldn’t I go on that great adventure?
In this time we are warned to much and mades very scared with local encounters. You can, of course, prevent a great deal by not going into anything and putting everything aside, but the best moments of encounters are created that way of local contact.
And so I also went hitchiking in Israel, nothing wrong with that, right? I didn’t got into that car if it was filled with only men… You wouldn’t either right?
A young couple gave me a ride, they had been on short vacation and went back home. Of course they wanted to take me along! I was not even allowed to walk the last part and they brought me to the front door of my hotel. After they gave me a bottle of fresh water because it was so hot, they went on, waved happily and we said goodbye. There are so many nice and good people on this earth who without expecting anything in return would like to do something for you and even give you something!!
That kind of safe contact with locals will restore your faith in humanity!! Travelling is good for that…and so much more ofcourse!
Always listen to your gutfeeling is the best thing you can do.
That is almost always a right feeling!!
Do not ignore that and act upon that!
We are world citizins on the same globe!
We life here together and share sometimes a moment togehter!
These are the moments that really make me happy!!
Contemplations of this time:
I think there are many people who forget this. The we and them is becoming so big. Standing directly opposite each other and thinking that the other person thinks and is so much different. While it often comes down to the same thing only from a different background …
We are all human and often we all want the same fine basic values for our fellow people. Unfortunately we sometimes forget that people we do not know are our fellow people too. People who look different and have different habits …
I really hope that we are at the lowest point from the perspective of we and them and that we can now grow closer to each other. Be more tolerant and show more understanding towards each other. Do not always sit in defense but ask yourself why? Why am I thinking this? Why do I tend to be accusing?
And think on….Can I learn something from this situation?
Why am I disapproving? What is the added value of expressing my opinion? And … is it really my opinion that I express? Or do I have that of the large majority that seems to dominate social media?
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