How to embrace the culture of a region while visiting it

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Traveling to a foreign land with unfamiliar cultural values and traditions can be quite overwhelming. However, anxiety to venture into a little known, strange, new place too can turn into a rewarding experience if we make efforts to embrace its culture and learn from its heritage values. There are different ways to experience a land and its culture but one of the surest ways to make a trip more memorable and gratifying is to absorb the local culture and mingle more with the crowds to explore its diversity, uniqueness and its importance for the residents there. Following are some of the novel ways to explore and embrace the local culture of a region while on their travels:

Explore the local sites:  When trying to learn about the culture of a place, try going off the grid and check out unusual places rather than just ticking off popular landmarks and tourist places of interests from your itinerary. Although historical sightseeing places, museums, churches and such significant can be culturally enriching but also go for walks into local cafes, markets and parks to have a glimpse of the local way of life. Walking around and sitting down for breakfast in a neighborhood park around your place of stay can illuminate you more about cultural values of a region than just a ordinary sightseeing tour would do.

Eat local food: Besides being a means of survival and for enhancing the taste buds, food does offer a lot of insight into one’s cultural traditions. One can seek knowledge about the local ingredients, secret recipes; generations old recipes and even get the in-depth idea about the social norms about particular eating habits and foods of a place by digging into the local cuisine.

Use public transport: Taking the public means of transport in a place often gives us an opportunity to absorb the locals and embrace their culture. Moving slowly through the un-trodden paths and non-touristy places can be a great thing to be lost in the magical feel of a region and to completely experience its unique culture. Getting around the city with public transit means also gives you the chance to strike up interesting conversations with locals and get a hang of their way of life.

Exploring countryside and suburbs: Cultural tours are not restricted to just exploring the cities of a country but it extends beyond the major hubs. To understand the beliefs, traditions, heritage, lifestyles and diversity of perspectives within a single nation- one needs to venture to the countryside and also suburbs. The confluence of interesting people, ideas and belief systems of place and its understanding will give us a fair idea about the cultural values associated with a region.

Stay with a local: Staying in a luxurious, five-star hotel in a region can enhance the comfort of your home far away from home but may not necessarily provide you with manifestations of the local life, cultural values and perspectives. Try to stay with a local friend in the country of your visit and be open to receiving new ideas and new views.

Going to a place with the objective of embracing and experiencing its culture can turn our trip into a more memorable and satisfying one. It also gives us the chance to expand our worldwide views and grow as a person.

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