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10 Ways to Live Like a Local While on Vacation

10 Ways to Live Like a Local While on Vacation

Many people are satisfied merely seeing the tourist hot spots of a new city, but what about those of you who want to truly experience what it is like to live in a new area? In order to do this, you will need to carefully plan everything from your lodging choice to how you spend your spare time. After all, Parisians don’t tend to hang out at the Eiffel Tower, and Londoners don’t base their afternoon around the London Eye.

Although there is nothing wrong with exploring these popular tourist spots, you can learn so much more about the color and flavor of a city by vacationing like a local. Keep in mind that there are also numerous mental health benefits associated with going on vacation, and you can relax more effectively if you aren’t spending several hours in line at a tourist attraction.

1. Use Public Transportation

Studies have shown that most Americans prefer to drive over utilizing alternative forms of transportation, but this is likely to increase your stress levels. Instead, take a tip from the European approach and rely on public transportation whenever possible. Not only will this relieve the stress of trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, but it will also enable you to experience different countries or major U.S. cities from the point of view of most locals.

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2. Read the Local Paper Daily

There is perhaps no easier way to get to know a new area over a cup of coffee than by reading the local paper. You will find out about special events, news stories that are currently affecting residents and much more. In London, it is easy to find people who hand out free papers near many tube stations, which enables visitors to combine the paper with using public transportation.

3. Rent a Flat or Home Instead of a Hotel Room

Hotel rooms are difficult to fully relax in, and they are also typically located near major tourist attractions. In other words, if you choose this lodging option, you may never get a true feel for the city in question. A viable alternative is to book a vacation rental. Airbnb is a popular option for major cities, and there are also companies such as Carolina Designs Realty that specialize in oceanfront rentals.

The best part is that renting a home or flat in the desired area is often comparable to, or even cheaper, than a hotel room, and you get numerous added perks, including a kitchen.

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4. Shop at the Nearest Grocery Store

As previously mentioned, a vacation rental will provide you with a functional kitchen. You can save money and try local vegetables and other favorites by shopping at the nearest grocery store. This also offers a good way to immerse yourself in local living. After all, everyone goes grocery shopping, so you can experience a lot of the local culture by partaking in this common activity.

5. Learn the Language and Converse with Locals

There are several ways to learn a new language well enough to actually converse in it with locals. For example, listening to podcasts will really help, as will reading and writing in the language in question. Your command of any language will improve much more quickly by living among native speakers, so conversing with the locals will not only teach you about the area but will also boost your skills.

6. Ask Locals for Restaurant and Café Suggestions

Travel books and websites may offer some good café and restaurant suggestions, but many of them are geared more toward tourists. To see how the locals dine, you will need to ask some of them for recommendations. Again, this will most likely take you outside of the typical tourist area.

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It is also highly possible that you will end up learning about some places that may be lovingly referred to as a dive. Always remember that if you judge a restaurant purely on its aesthetics or location, you might miss out on one of the best meals of your life.

7. Walk through the Neighborhoods

Walking through downtown will show you many appealing aspects of a city, but it won’t usually showcase how the locals truly live. Therefore, you will need to walk through some of the neighborhoods if you want to learn more about what it is actually like to live somewhere new. As an added bonus, you are likely to find some unexpected beauty in an unassuming place. For example, some of Banksy’s work is found in or near London neighborhoods that are not near a tourist trap.

8. Have a Picnic in the Park

One of the things that truly makes each city unique is the way that greenspace is incorporated into the overall design. Locals usually go to a park to relax or exercise, which makes this another prime opportunity to observe a different culture. Additionally, having a picnic in the park is a good way to utilize local food and physically connect more to the area.

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9. Spend an Afternoon Volunteering with a Local Group

Some people base their entire vacation around volunteering, but you can help others while also taking time to relax by donating one afternoon of your time. There are always local groups that need assistance, and most areas have a dedicated online resource that helps connect them with potential volunteers.

Something simple that does not require training will be the best route to explore. If you are vacationing in America, this could take the form of spending a few hours sorting food donations for Feeding America. If you’d rather spend time outside, you can ask the parks and recreation department about cleaning up debris at a nearby park. Either way, your fellow volunteers are likely to be locals who can give you a lot of insight into the area.

10. Visit Smaller Nearby Cities

It is easy to get wrapped up in the allure of visiting a major city. But did you know that it is often easier to connect with locals by going somewhere smaller? There are five affordable cities outside of Paris that fit this bill, and it is easy to find this same type of setup almost anywhere in the world. Even if you only go to a small city for a daytrip, you will still have the opportunity to observe local culture in a more intimate and accessible setting.

Vacations to faraway cities allow us to expand our minds and develop a more global conscience. When you combine this with perks such as increased productivity and better health, it makes sense to ensure that you book at least one trip per year. Your experience can also be vastly improved by taking a more localized approach.

Featured photo credit: Vittorio via pixabay.com

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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