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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 December 9, 2019

                5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                The result: no more mental stress.

                2. Unplug

                Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                3. Easy on the Caffeine

                Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                The result: mental stress will be gone!

                So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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