Exploring locales.

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Exploring as a Local

Click here to listen to ColorMeLocal Podcast: Episode 7:  Exploring as a Local

img_9559ColorMeLocal is about experiencing an area on a deeper level, away from tourist spots or chain stores, and delving into the heart and core of a place, the people who have a passion for what they do and how they bring unique color to their city, their space.  I’ve chosen to do this by focusing on local artisan businesses, conversing with the owners and getting to know an area through their eyes and their personalities.

Today I want to talk about traveling and exploring a new space.  So the word “travel” literally means “to go on a trip or journey : to go to a place and especially one that is far away”, as defined by the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Today I want to explore what this might look like, away from typical areas.

Travel can mean something different for each person.  For some it’s about getting away from life’s busy-ness and being still, for others it’s about experiencing a new culture, and for others still it’s about seeing historical landmarks.  For most of us, we choose to travel for a combination of these and other reasons.

We really start to learn from travel and be changed by it when we let go of a typical tourist approach.  There’s a helpful article on the U.S. News and World report about travel, called  10 Secrets for Traveling Like a Local by Claire Volkman.  Here are some of the “secrets” she shares:

-Go beyond landmarks

-Put down the camera

-Explore with a local

-Rent a home/apartment

-Take a cooking class

-Learn a few key phrases

-Think experiential

-Consider volunteering

-Be respectful and observant

-Try everything at least once

In addition to these tips, I would add visiting a local coffee shop, bakery, or library.  Check in with the visitor’s center at the city and ask about local parks or live music venues.  And when you are there, observe the people, take time to listen to the conversations that are going on around you.

So often when we travel or vacation somewhere we are busy on our phones or cameras or planning what’s next on the agenda that we forget to be present when we sit and notice what’s around us.  We miss out on the opportunities to learn from others, which is a big benefit when traveling because it can give us a new perspective on life and the opportunities that exist.

What is it that matters for the people of that city?  How are they similar to people you know and how are they different?

If you enjoy engaging people in conversation, or want to push yourself in that area, try striking up a conversation with someone who seems local and ask them what they like about the area and what they would recommend seeing.  Before doing this, I do recommend observing and gauging whether the person would be receptive to conversation.  That way it’s a positive experience for all involved.  😉

Happy exploring and stay in touch!