The authentic essence of travelling and living like a local gives you intimate sneak-peeks into the rural folk's nitty-gritty affairs and everyday routine. Ditch those hotel rooms, steer clear of fancy cuisine restaurants, and set free from your city-bred social etiquettes for a while. What the small-town folk have to offer is holistically richer than you expect.
Yank the shackles of retail tourism and allow your mindset and personality to absorb a culture to its core. It’s liberating, soul-stirring, and wholesome.
Besides these suggestions, remember to stay humble, intrigued, and interactive. The more swiftly you blend in, the more enriching an experience becomes.
1. Avoid big brands: Move away from splurging on big brands on your travels, whether it’s a rip-off of a clothing giant, your go-to cold beverage, or that nostalgic packet of chips. Instead, treat your taste buds to chemical and preservative-free products by local brands. Most often, all their ingredients are sourced from nearby villages and put together by the hands of locals skilled in such activities.
2. Wear local attires: Choose customary traditional attires or the village’s clothing sense which depends on hats, shawls, or long-sleeved jackets packed with vibrant embroidery. Watching you comfortably navigate around their hometown, wearing familiar outfits, convinces villagers of your down-to-earth attitude and willingness to get involved.
3. Attend local gatherings: There are plenty of local get-togethers for celebratory occasions such as festivals, birthdays, marriages, and religious ceremonies. You may receive invitations to such gatherings if you develop an interactive personality by creating conversations with shop owners, street vendors, and other residents.
What’s best, such gatherings give you an insider's perspective on how these locals live life outside of work hours.
4. Create a local friend circle: Making friends in a place populated by strangers is your ticket to living a life flanked by local experiences. Try visiting the park for sports or open-air entertainment, or indulge in community activities with local craftsmen and artisans happily sharing techniques to unlock your creativity.
If you are staying long-term, invite your local friends over and request everyone to bring a dish of their choice. Prepare a recipe from your childhood days and let everyone revel in the joviality of the moment.
5. Live through a barter system: Practising the barter system in this contemporary era is another excellent way to find your place amongst locals. For example, ask for accommodation in exchange for your service in local schools, farms, sustainable construction, or community development exercises.
As evident, your actions must demonstrate your enthusiasm and readiness to become a close-knitted member of local communities. Another route to venture onto this path is by eating at local hole-in-the-wall eateries and attempting to pick up cues from the village’s dialect and using them while communicating with inhabitants.
Take a breather from the city and embark into a secluded destination in NotOnMap Homestay in Kutch of Gujarat. Desert King Homestay and the hospitable host, Gulab Pathan, would love to give you glimpses of life in the white desert of India.
Traveler | Copywriter