Travel Like a Local, Where Ever Local Is
I have always loved the phrase, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. It’s a little bit of travel wisdom given out in 390AD by St Augustine to a co-worker. As I read it, the phrase gives me license to dig into the local scene, to sample, and to see through other’s eyes. It is an enduring testament to the value of ‘local’.
Local is Important
Travel used to be about escaping the dull work-a-day life and flying to a pampered resort-like place, but it is more and more about experiencing the uniqueness of a location. Top destinations like London and Paris appoint expensive brand consultants to manage their image. The specialness of a location is increasingly important when it comes to attracting visitors.
When it comes to travel, the best advice is local advice
But who are the real experts that travellers turn to? It turns out, you are! How many times have you been asked by a visiting friend or relative ‘Where is the best local restaurant, or local attraction, or nearby bakery’? That’s why crowd-sourced Yelp, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon and other location based review sites are so popular.
Home is where the heart is
I’ve lived in a few places. When I get the opportunity to visit a previous home, I find myself craving a favourite local food or a stroll through a specific park or a visit in a unique neighbourhood. No mater how ‘non-Condé Nast’ the town, there were local gems I appreciated, then and now. Today Vancouver is home, it’s a place where I and 600,000 other people go to work, or go to school, cook our meals, do our shopping, or put out the garbage. During the day-to-day life events, even I can forget how special it is. So sometimes I need to just walk around my town to discover the uniqueness, and be reminded that it’s like nowhere else on earth.
Here are some fun ideas to help you appreciate the local:
- Go seasonal (it’s usually cheaper) and visit a local farm.
- Try a new hiking trail.
- Visit a park you’ve never been to.
- Scope out the local art-house cinema.
- Try a local craft brew or distillery, it’s usually cheaper, and better!
- Visit a local dairy farm, bonus as a petting zoo.
- Enjoy a street festival you’ve never tried.
- Ask you’re best style guide to suggest a new restaurant.
- Parades are free and fun.
- Take yourself and a friend or family to a free ice rink and learn how to skate.
- Get out and Listen to some free music during the holidays!
- Take a historic or cultural walking tour.
- Dine out at a locally sourced, sustainable restaurant.
- Have drinks at a local hotel – and soak in the excitement of your town as others see it.
- Check out twitter for local events.
I’ve tried to capture some of the things I love about Vancouver in my blog. Alas, for me, sometimes pictures come more easily than words.
Season’s Greetings from Vancouver!
Checkout some of my favourite local Vancouver Winter things to do.
What are your best favourite local gems?