Connecting With Locals When You Travel

How important is connecting with locals when you travel?

As I look through our thousands of photos from the past 3 1/2 years of travel, I find it all very overwhelming.  I am amazed at how much we have been able to see, smell, touch, taste, and experience.  With each location, there has always been one thing that stands out the most to us and that is our connections with the locals.

Connecting With Locals When You Travel Chiang Mai

Of course we have spent years living in Spain, so have many deep connections with the locals here.  I have recently been hard at work designing an Almuñécar holiday package for TraveLove.  It has taken far longer than anticipated, but I have been enjoying it so much.  One of my favorite things is to plan the activities, which will be provided by locals. I have taken this opportunity to step into new territory with my Spanish-speaking skills and go out and pitch to the locals.  It has been a fun experience and I am looking forward to continuing with more projects.

Connecting With Locals When You Travel Otivar Spain - Harvesting Olives in Dec 2012 with Fajardo Family

As part of this experience in Spain, I have found so many awesome sites where you can actually meet up with locals and share an experience with them.  I really wish we would have used this while we were traveling in Southeast Asia as well.  If you remember we spent  3 1/2 months in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  We did our very best to have as many experiences as we could.  If we return, I now know how we could have even more experiences with locals in Chiang Mai.

Connecting With Locals When You Travel Sitting Meditation - Chiang Mai Mediation Retreat with the Buddhist Monks

When we were in Langkawi, we worked for the full week with the tourism board.  We specifically requested to have some local meals in addition to the fancy restaurants. It was a bit out of our comfort zone, but by far one of the best experiences to have dinner with the locals.  This way we would not only got to know the people, but we would also learned about traditions and customs with food and eating.  Oh, goodness now I am getting itchy feet to travel again.  Wagoners Abroad eating local in Langkawi Restaurant Ikan Bakar Padang Mastsirat

It would be nice to have a local show us the great hiking trails or be a private driver for the day.  I love all of the trivia, facts and info you can get from them as well as their personal story.  We have fond memories from our tuk tuk driver in Battambang Cambodia.  In fact we wanted to keep booking the same guy, so we could hear more stories.
Bamboo Train Battambang Cambodia -arrival with tourist police

Just look at all of our experiences with a year of homeschool and you will see the locals are everywhere in our journey.  They are what make the location unique and memorable.  The locals provide you with that extra depth and connection, that aren’t in your standard guidebook or bus tour.  This is the real deal and I can’t wait to rediscover our own town with the locals as well.  Please be on the lookout for our upcoming projects and you will see what we are doing with the locals.

Do you have any stories to share with us about your experiences with locals?  Just comment below or send us an email.

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