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How to immerse in local cultures when traveling


For those digital nomads or aspiring nomads, do you yearn to immerse yourself more in local cultures and languages when you travel to places? I grew up living in three continents and multiple countries, barely discovering my identity as an adolescent before packing up and leaving to another country. Because it was embedded since young, I’ve always loved discovering new cultures and new places and started traveling solo when I was 18.

Coming from a multicultural background, I find myself not necessarily wanting to identify with just one background, culture, ethnicity or nationality. Just like how we have many different facets of our characteristics and growth, we can have the same for cultural and national identities. Wherever you go, wherever you visit, whoever you meet, you take an element of all those with you.

Below are some ways I adopt to assimilate and learn in different places and cultures:

  1. Join local groups for resources like local housing, tour groups, and making friends. Meetup groups and Facebook groups are good places to start.
  2. Learn the language and customs of places - Please do not expect everyone to speak English and please for goodness sake don’t lead with the mindset of “But why is it different from where I come from?” And goes without saying, respect the places you visit and the customs that are practiced.
  3. Eat the local foods - Try all the local foods to your heart’s content, or your stomach’s strength. Of course it depends whether you have dietary restrictions or allergies so be sure you’re cognizant of that. If you’re curious, learn about the local agricultural systems and how foods are produced. I grew up not knowing allergies to foods are a real issue. I discovered the issue is more prevalent in North America where food production regulations and agricultural practices are the world of difference with foods that are grown and produced in more fertile places and where food production is more regulated and strict.
  4. Attend local festivals - Look up festivals ahead of time and schedule your trip around it. It is a beautiful experience being a part of a local festival that has been embedded into the local community for a long time.
  5. Do your research and ensure your contributions go back into the local economy like when purchasing from a local shop.

I would love to learn about your cultures or how you assimilate when traveling or nomading! Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!