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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 March 13, 2019

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                1. Work on the small tasks.

                When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                2. Take a break from your work desk.

                Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                3. Upgrade yourself

                Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                4. Talk to a friend.

                Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                7. Read a book (or blog).

                The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                8. Have a quick nap.

                If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                9. Remember why you are doing this.

                Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                10. Find some competition.

                Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                11. Go exercise.

                Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                12. Take a good break.

                Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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