Wherever we go, as adventure riders, we mostly stick out like sore thumbs. Whether you’re a GoreTex-clad owner of a GS 1200 or are winging it in a pair of Kevlar jeans and army boots a la Mad Max, astride a small lightweight enduro bike, you just aren’t going to look like a local in most developing countries around the world. But while you may not look the part, you can definitely try fitting in abroad. Here’s how.
Eat Like a Local
Food always unites people, and the best way to make friends abroad is to eat where locals eat. Most of the time, people love recommending you their favorite restaurants, explaining dishes, and seeing your reaction once you taste some local delicacy. Street food stalls, small family-owned restaurants, and cheap local eateries are great places to hang out. Bonus: you’ll save money eating like a local.
Shop Like a Local
Markets are some of the best places to get to know the local culture and talk to people. Whether it’s a fish market in a coastal Ecuadorian town or a bazaar in Sarajevo, you’re guaranteed to experience what the local life is all about. Best conversation starter in a market? Negotiating for prices or asking for recipes when you spot a vegetable or a fruit you don’t know! Another ice breaker is to simply ask, “how’s business?” – people love giving you their take on local economy, government, and everyday life.
Travel Like a Local
Sure, you’re on a motorcycle trip – but hop off the bike once in a while and take a local bus. Exploring Havana by means of public transport is a very different experience than cruising along on your bike or in a rented Chevy Bel Air, and taking a collectivo in Peru can be an eye-opener to how people actually live. Besides, you’re guaranteed to strike up a conversation with a friendly local that way.
Fitting in abroad isn’t always easy, but the more connections you make, the better it gets.