Everyone has heard the phrase, “live like a local while you’re there.” Anytime we dare to leave our own country’s borders for the exciting new adventures beyond, some well meaning friend or traveler has passed along these sage words of advice. What’s funny however, is the fact that if you followed those words you would never see anything at all, much less return rested, since most locals are so busy living their lives, working full-time, raising a family and plenty of other burdens life throws at us. Most locals certainly do not take the time to play tourist in their own country, much less have the time. They likely are only aware of the best parts of the area from others who have visited, and if you truly lived like they do – the only thing you’d be talking about when you got back was the inside of your accommodations.
So don’t live like a local, but do understand what people mean when they say it. Basically, living like a local means getting yourself intricately wound around the place you’re visiting, to go deeper than usual and to understand the pulse of the place. It means to explore areas most tourists don’t go, to learn about the cultures and livelihoods that make the place what it is, and to consider things like learning the local language. It means to find the events only the people who live there go to, and to visit and support local farmer’s markets like the Milkwood Market in Wilderness. There’s a great reason that people continue to say that you cannot truly get a feel for a place until you’ve lived there – so definitely and by any means necessary, do so with whatever amount of time you spend here.
International travel gives a one of a kind opportunity to really see the best parts of the world, and they’re often not within the tourist traps you’ll find in travel agencies, but on the side streets and hole in the wall cafes that are only known through word of mouth. Travel even within the country or continent is equally rewarding because everyone deserves the chance to see the best and most beautiful parts of their homeland. Most of us never get the chance due to majorly busy lives, but wouldn’t you love to go explore areas that are treasures beyond worth that have always lain just in your veritable backyard? If you’ve already gone ahead and taken the time off work for your holiday, you may as well spend it somewhere you know you’ll be rewarded with time, relaxation, fun and serenity.
Wilderness on Sea is exactly the sort of place we’re talking about here. The town of Wilderness is also not huge, and though it gets tourism in and out, it’s not packed and marketing specifically and only to tourists. People from all over the world, but especially South Africans enjoy visiting Wilderness for what it offers, and the fact that it’s not that far away but makes you feel as though you’ve gone somewhere completely different. The best part aside from the sumptuous surroundings of your accommodation is the fact that you’ll be among the locals, and can ask them where the best places to go eat, or sight-see are. There’s no middle man to shuttle you everywhere, where you pay too much and see too little and get back to your room exhausted. There’s just you, your comfortable room – a home away from home, and the warmth of the locals to guide you as you wake every morning, ready to map out a day that is yours to explore as though you live there.
If you want to live like a local while visiting, whether from far away across the oceans or from the other end of the country, here’s some tips to help you remember how to blend into the local population where you’re headed:
Take care with your booking
You always want to be sure you’ll get a good night’s rest where you’ll be staying, so booking a place that is in the suburbs or within the natural surrounds is preferable. When you get a place that is farther away from a city and noise, you remove the feeling that you just traded one crazy pace for another in a different city, and maybe a different country. You’ll get a beautiful chance to see and feel the land by being part of it and within it without sacrificing the convenience of being near a city.
Eat where the locals recommend
This we cannot state nearly enough. Almost everyone is aware that you should go eat where the line is the longest if you’re eating from an outdoor stall somewhere, but few think to ask the locals where they like to eat. Try to enjoy traditional fare while you’re there also, you might find that even from city to city in the same country the food changes enough that it’s worth trying something new! For instance, “Bunny Chow” is popular more in the northern parts of South Africa like Durban, where the Indian influence of curry is as strong as the flavor. It is less popular in Cape Town, though it can still be found, and both are within South Africa. Place to place, the food can and will change as much as the environment so rely on local advice and choose to eat where they do!