12 Ways To Live Like A Local

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When we volunteer or travel, we always feel like a tourist, an outsider peering into the world of others. However this does not have to be the case. Embracing the local lifestyle will give you a unique and memorable experience that you will hold much closer to heart. But how do you do this? The guidelines below explain how to live like a local.

    1. First of all, you can’t live like a local unless you understand their way of life, their culture and their customs. Talking to people is the best way to learn from them, having the opportunity to share and compare the intricacies of your respective homes.
    2. But how do you find yourself in such conversations? Well that’s simple; you need to be open and friendly. Responding to a simple hello on the street can lead to an invitation of tea and a rich dialogue on any number of topics, from food to local crafts to religion.
    3. Of course if you’re staying with people, it only makes this that much easier. Volunteering is the obvious door to someone’s home, but it is not the only one. Couchsurfing is an easy and effective means to finding nice local people for whom to host you. For the truly adventurous, you can find people on the street willing to give you a bed and home-cooked meal, though you must exercise caution.
    4. Stay

    5. Walking around the various neighbourhoods of a town offers a unique insight into the local lifestyle. You can observe the daily routines, the way in which people communicate, where they meet or eat, and generally how life goes on.
    6. While strolling around, you should take time to frequent the common meeting points, such as squares, parks or the local football field. Even if you’re not meeting friends, these are great places to make some new ones.
    7. You should also visit the marketplaces that seem to pop up in tiny streets, carparks or large warehouses. The trade and bartering that takes place hasn’t changed much over the centuries, though some of the goods may be slightly modernised. Markets are also the best places to find the things you need for cheap, such as tools, clothes, and a wide variety of fresh produce.
    8. Market

    9. Speaking of produce, the traditional cuisine can tell you a lot about a culture and its permaculture. Home-cooked meals are certainly the best (depending on the chef), but for purchasing food you should wander off the beaten path. Look for vendors on the street, hole-in-the-wall places and anywhere where the menu isn’t in English. The food will generally be cheaper and of better quality.
    10. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across a restaurant or people on the street performing traditional music and dance. It creates a remarkable atmosphere that truly immerses you into a culture. This is then magnified if you can join in. Clapping, singing and humming along shows the people around you that you enjoy and respect their customs, and they will love you for it.
    11. Dress is also an important aspect of a culture. The everyday attire is made from local materials and provides comfort and practicality for the particular climate. Donning this can exhibit a great amount of respect and help you blend in.
    12. Dress

    13. This is also the case if you learn the language. Even practicing only the basics and formalities gets you a long way, as people tend to react extremely positively. Over time it will become natural and your proficiency will increase. You’ll soon wonder how you ever got by in the first place.
    14. With basics learned, using the local transport will be easy. Cramming into a minibus or hitchhiking through the countryside will instantly make you feel more at home and will give you the opportunity to interact with interesting people.
    15. Finally, to truly live like a local, you need to have a sense of community. This is done by assisting others. When we travel we always receive help, whether it is directions, change for the bus or a tour of the area. However we seldom have the opportunity to do the same for others. If people are pushing a car down the street, go join them. If a kid falls down, help them up. If someone sits beside you while you eat, share your food. It is these small acts of kindness that bring people together, and transform you from a tourist to a local.
    16. Help

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About Author

Ciaran Paul

Ciaran is an avid writer and photographer with a passion for travel. He yearns for new adventures and loves to learn history, embrace culture and meet new people. It is his self-imposed mission to showcase the true kindness and generosity in this world by sharing his own experiences.

6 Comments

    • Ciaran Paul

      Hey Ginette,

      I just returned home a week ago after two years abroad, so no immediate travel plans I’m afraid. However, I will continue to write about my adventures from this time! You can check them out on ciaranpaul.com.

      Ciaran

      • Hi ! I love reading about your aedvnture and want to thank you for putting this on a web site.My questions is do you know what a woman in her late 50 s is able to do if she wanted to be a WWOOFER ?I am thinking about joining but don’t know if i can do farming, weeding things like that because of a sore back. I want to see other countries so bad and think this would be a great opportunity!Thanks for any suggestions.Chris

        • Ciaran Paul

          Hi Chris,

          Thank you for the kind words. You should definitely get out there and try WWOOFing. Working and living on a farm involves so many great and wonderful things, that I’m sure you will be able to find tasks that are not detrimental to your back. For instance you can take care of animals and cook. You just need to be a little imaginative and find a host that suits you. I wish you all the luck and success in your adventures!

          Ciaran

    • hi! I just discovered ur blog today, & so glad i did! Just for cirofnmation, so basically you work for wwoof for exchange of food & accommodation right? so is it safe for me to assume that i only have to bring my clothes and some stuffs and only have some cash? Please reply ^^ I’m really excited with this wwoof, never heard of it before but i’ve been imagining this kind of thing; working & blending with different cultures. Hope to do this after i graduate later while waiting to enter the working world-Sara

      • Ciaran Paul

        Hi Sara,

        That’s basically the gist of it yeah! WWOOFing is a wonderful way to travel and meet like-minded people, and all for a measly penny! Have you thought about where you would like to go?

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