Pandemic or no pandemic, some travelers are still out there on the road. Even with certain restrictions and limitations, travel is possible, especially if you go slow. So slow, in fact, that you may need to stop and stay in some countries much longer than you planned to, whether it’s because of lockdowns, weather, or bureaucracy. So how to feel at home while abroad? As someone who typically spends at least a month per each new country, I’m used to quickly adapting to a new scene, and that includes starting to feel like I’m at home wherever I am. Here’s a list of my hacks to instantly feel like you belong, even if you don’t speak the local language:
Wherever possible, I try to stay in AirBnbs rather than hotels, and not just for economical reasons. AirBnbs are often houses, apartments, or lofts in residential areas – places with neighbors, and the faster you befriend your neighbors, the more at home you feel. My current AirBnB is an apartment building in Zagreb, and I’ve already made friends with a lovely elderly lady next door (we share the same crazy hair tastes – my fluffy mane and her bright purple bob just go together) as well as the gentleman who owns a pizza place across the street and the coffee shop barista two doors down. These are my people now, and I’m feeling part of the community in a small way.
Gossip and Ask For Recipes
Feeling lonely? Head to the nearest farmer’s market, find a stall with some exotic fruit or weird-looking veggies, and ask the seller for a recipe to prep them. Better yet, ask what the guy or gal next to them are selling and gossip about strawberries; market people are always eager to chat, and you might get to know the locals better that way.
A RTW Traveler Walks Into a Bar…
Bars are ideal for making friends as a newcomer, especially if you happen upon a small local pub or an obscure little place just outside of the fancy touristy part of town. Walk up the bartender and ask what’s the most iconic/custom/best drink in their city, and the local patrons will begin dishing out advice – and share their stories – faster than you can say “cheers”.
How do you connect with the locals on your travels? Let me know in the comments below!