Seeing the sights, learning the culture, and eating the food are always fun little highlights when traveling, but what truly makes the destination come alive is when you experience a true connection. Most seasoned travelers will tell you that the people make the place... Because making a connection with locals who live their lives differently, perhaps uniquely, offers a whole new world of experiences and possibilities. The moment you slow the pace of your travels and look passed the sights, the tourist traps, and all of the junk littered in-between, it’s easier to let travel change you. And when you’re looking back on your wanderings with romanticized memories, you will typically fantasize about the people and the conversations, and the adventures you shared, rather than the fish and chips you ate or that nifty looking ancient ruin.
To really get to know a place, you need to get in with the people, and live the lives of the locals while you’re there. There are various ways to making connections with locals, but no matter what, the most important thing you can do is to be real, honest, curious, and fearless – everlasting curiosity and openness is a must when you’re experiencing new things and getting to know new people who’s lives may be completely different than your own. Trust is another powerful influential force that many struggle with, many fear, but is a requirement when facing the new and unknown. So, I urge – no, I challenge you to open yourself up and to truly get to know the place you’re visiting.
(This piece was written by Brandon Elijah Scott and originally published by HostelsClub)
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