Take me to where the real people are! I say this once I arrive at any new international destination. I don’t however, always accomplish my goal of seeing how the every day locals of any given country actually live outside the illusion of luxurious , Americanized resorts. That’s usually because I’m gallivanting around the world with a group of friends, some of which appear quite content spending their hard earned away time being willfully captive to the grounds of their paradise away from home.
That comfort is based on a familiarity rooted in a belief that any foreign experience has to be made to feel as American as possible in order for one to truly enjoy themselves. That can mean a variety of different things. The one I’ve witnessed the most is people only wanting to converse in English and expect the same in return without attempting to learn the basics of the country’s native tongue. That, among many other examples are the inspiration for writing this piece.
So let’s be clear here. I do not speak any language fluently other than English. I do enjoy a nice resort with killer views, a butler, and 24 hour room service. Who doesn’t want to be pampered? I get it, but are you missing out on the hidden treasures of an entire culture due to your inability to venture outside of your comfort zone? You’ve already left your geographic location, why not expand your perception to go further outside what is familiar?
If you’re like most people traveling, it can be a bit nerve wracking to venture outside of your hotel but I promise with the right guidance and connections, you can get a feel of the true magic a country has to offer. I would suggest making friends with the staff. Who better to ask for recommendations than the people who are taking care of you and hopefully, you of them.
The locals will always know the best spots for food, hidden beaches away from the annoying tourist masses, and all the great local bars that are welcoming to having someone new show up.They would be delighted to show you how fun is really done their way without restriction.
I always think it’s a great idea to know the history of where you are. Be curious as to how things came to be, and the hopes and dreams of people who lived, and are still living in the place you’re calling home for just a few days. It helps add to the overall experience and the beautiful people you meet will appreciate it.
Now back to feeling pampered. We all want it and deserve it. You’ve earned lazy days of waking up late only to have no plans other than to eat, drink, and take a dip in the infinity pool. I’m not here to change your mind about any of that. Just be open to an experience that can generate awesome stories about living that you would have missed by simply sticking to your room service order of a burger and fries. Be safe and have a colorful experience outside of the red, white and blue.