The highlight of every trip is my interaction with the locals. It has always helped me understand the local culture and traditions better. I always end up knowing more than I thought I would. I call it going local on your journey!
Locals are the storehouse of information – from telling you what to eat, hidden attractions, where to shop, what to see, those random cheap beer parlours that never get mentioned in your guidebooks or the cheapest way to get from Point A to B.
I have on many occasions lent a helping hand in the kitchens as well – especially when I am being treated to a local specialty. Kitchens are usually a great place to bond – not to mention those endless cups of beverages that keep coming at you along with the conversations. Kitchen is the place to let your hair down.
I have enjoyed those moments – whether its when I was making the buuz in Mongolia, trying to milk a cow in the Gobi Desert, frying green bananas in Tanzania, putting together a meal of taro in Papua New Guinea or just helping gut fish – those moments have defined my travels.
It is up to you what you want to do – but I strongly advocate being local – blending in, so to speak, on your travels. It opens up a whole new world.
Dressing up in the local attire is a pretty common thing to do – not something one comes back without a picture of. But in my opinion, those “local attires” make great photographs – and while not just being overpriced and cliched, it really does nothing to improve your knowledge of anything. I have been guilty of this touristy, cliched thing for sure – and I don’t regret it at all, but will I do it again? No. I don’t think so. I am ok not to look like Cleopatra – but I not ok to return without knowing what made her so beautiful.
You get the drift?