It’s a mobile world. Forget about travelling like a local. Today, you ARE a local everywhere. The question is, can you truly feel a connection with the place where you are at the moment? Can you understand it, engage with it, feel yourself a part of it?
In order to connect with a place, you might need to go beyond the superficial tourism of ticking the boxes, and travel deeper. Both, physically, and mentally. A vehicle for your travel should be your passion and interests.
Learn about your destination.
Don’t just read the travel guides. Read the local news, blog articles, interviews with inspiring locals, history, and novels by local authors. Watch documentaries and films relevant to the place.
Dive into local stories, and get fascinated by its innovations and people, even before you go to the place.
What you are most curious about? What places do you want to see? What people do you want to meet? Write it all in your notebook, but keep it open to changes as your trip unfolds.
When you are at the destination, start by meeting people. It’s an universally accepted truth that travelling is all about the people you meet.
Meet locals and expats, perhaps those you read about online, or local friends, or go to meet-ups and events* that match your interests. Your hosts could be local too (airbnb.com, couchsurfing.com).
Where do people you meet come from? What are their lives like? What stories do they have to tell?
Be open-minded. Listen to their stories, and save them in your notebook. Now, think what is this place is about? What is special about it? What is its story? How have your interests changed?
Take your time.
Allow plenty of time for your trip. Take some time to walk the streets of the place, sit on a bench, observe. Feel the essence of the place.
If you are in a city, make a trip to a village or a small town. What are the atmosphere and people like outside of the city? Do not compare. Just observe. Take your time.
Do not think about work or any issues at home. Leave it at home. Be here and now. What happens elsewhere can wait.
Do something you love. Like volunteering related to tour interests or passion. Or, find a work exchange, conduct a research for your blog, start a project, study, or learn a language at a school. Engage with the community through your interests or passions.
Now, the place may become a part of you, and you a part of the place. Your world will get bigger, more perspectives, more taste to life.
Do you have more tips on how to travel deeper? Share them in the comments below.