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How to Travel Deep Into a Culture

How to Travel Deep Into a Culture

There’s a ton of generic articles about traveling and different aspects of it – how to travel under budget, what are the main hot spots around the world, what attractions are a must see, etc. The problem with those tricks and tips is that they result in the same experience for different travelers.

All of us have a different perception of our surroundings and we all have a unique idea of what makes us happy. That is why I believe it’s necessary to find your own way of getting to know a foreign culture and sink into it to find your own unique impressions. The next few tips, which I found to be more than helpful, are more guidelines than rules, and this makes them simple to apply and modify in whichever way you want, so check them out.

1. Personalized Travel Arrangements

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    Traveling enthusiasts who decide to set off on a journey by joining a tourist group will actually miss out on the really important things that one has to see and experience. Just think about it – you and dozens of other people will go to the same place where hundreds and thousands have already been, you’ll take pictures of monuments and tourist attractions known worldwide and you’ll end up sharing the same old memories with many others you don’t even know.

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    So, instead of becoming a part of someone’s routine, you should do some serious research and create your own route. Naturally, you’ll want to leave some room for spontaneity, because the best moments happen when you least expect.

    2. Stay in an Apartment

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      Hotels and motels are the usual way to go, but nothing says “I’m a tourist here” more than getting out of one of these buildings. Offers for tourists in most cities are focused on hotels and motels, but staying here actually means that you’ll be seeing just the superficial side of a particular location and you’ll come back home with a fridge magnet or a snow globe.

      In order to truly explore a foreign city and find a place in your heart for it, you should rent an apartment instead. Although many believe that this is a more expensive option, it’s quite the opposite – your travel mates and you will be able to cook for yourselves, you’ll have a lot more privacy and the whole atmosphere will be homey and cozy.

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      3. Go to the Food Market

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        Dining in restaurants is another way to eat what you’d normally eat at home, but you’ll probably pay more for it, because the chances are you’ll enter a restaurant that caters to tourists and makes a hefty profit from them. Sure, there will be a couple of new dishes on the menu, but the fact is most people decide to go with familiar foods.

        One of the genius ways to get to know another culture is going to the local food market. There’s a whole lot to what a people eats – it defines their habits, their way of life and particular flavors that make them unique. I’m sure you’ll be able to find recipes prepared by local households that you can make on your own by simply looking around a bit. There will be a time when you prepare that same meal back home, and I’m sure its taste will trigger a number of wonderful memories.

        4. Get Lost

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          Following a map for tourists will take you to all those same places a ton of people visited before you, even if you decide to travel on your own without contacting a tourist agency. It’s only natural to see the Eiffel Tower if you’re in Paris, but instead of wasting your time on waiting in long lines in front of it, you should make your own path.

          Don’t be afraid to wander the streets and get lost. There’s a certain amount of magic in exploring an unfamiliar surrounding by yourself – it will lead you deeper into the culture of the local people, which you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

          5. Make a Friend

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            When it comes to tourist groups and their generic organizations, you’ll be able to make contacts with people who all probably have the same starting point as you do. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it won’t help you get to know a certain culture like you should.

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            Instead of wasting your time and money on a completely planned travel experience that’s quite dry in spirit, you should focus on making friends with the locals and finding yourself a great friend/guide. Simply talk to people, even if you don’t know the language – it’s even more interesting if you don’t, because you’ll have to communicate to locals using every piece of wit you have.

            6. Participate

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              Before you start your journey, I’d advise you to do some in-depth research on the culture and history of the places you’ll be visiting. In order to truly understand a nation, you need to get to know their ways – how they celebrate and party, which causes they fight for, how their city is structured, etc. Therefore, while you’re doing your research, pay additional attention to events that are in need of volunteers, happenings organized by the city and possible festivals where you can go party.

              7. Think Big

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                The majority of travelers usually decide to go with world-famous locations, most of which are metropolises. If you decide to follow my guidelines, you’ll be able to overcome most tourist cliches. However, there’s one more thing you should put on your checklist – you should visit the outskirts and the rural environments near the city you’re in. To truly connect with a culture, you must find out more about its roots.

                The whole point of traveling is getting out of your own cultural frames, sort of speaking. If your mind is closed for new experiences, you won’t get everything you want out of your journey. Probably the most important thing you should do before you even start packing is opening your mind – you won’t believe all the amazing things that can happen if you do this. Bon voyage!

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                Ivan Dimitrijevic

                Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                Last Updated on February 18, 2019

                13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

                Why is this so critically important to you?

                The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                • The man facing the judge.
                • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
                • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                2. Accept Your Fear

                Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                And here’s what can be done.

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                3. Get Some Perspective

                I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                • Are you really at risk?
                • Will this kill you?
                • Which leads us on to..
                • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

                4. Hold a Hand

                As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                Ask yourself:

                • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
                • Could that really happen?
                • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
                • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

                5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

                This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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                The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

                Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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                It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

                One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                8. Assume the Worse

                If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

                • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
                • Think about how they feel about champagne?
                • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

                If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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                10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                11. Go with Fear

                When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                13. Own Your Fear

                Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                More Resources About Fighting Fear

                Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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