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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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                Last Updated on August 20, 2018

                35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

                35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

                Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

                But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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                The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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                While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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                While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

                If You’re Staying In

                1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
                2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
                3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
                4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
                  • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
                  • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
                  • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
                  • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
                    • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
                    • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
                    • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
                      • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

                      If You Want to Get Away

                      1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
                      2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
                      3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
                        • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
                        • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
                        • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
                        • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
                        • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
                        • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
                          • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
                          • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

                          New & Exciting Experiences

                          1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
                          2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                            experience.
                            • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                            • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                            • Experience white water rafting.
                            • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                            • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                              • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                              • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                                • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                                • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                                • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                                Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                                Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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