Visiting Another Country Shouldn’t Just be About Selfies, But on Cultural Immersion
There are a lot of reasons for visiting various places. There are those who really enjoy traveling. Some others prefer taking photos while there are those who just want to say that they have been to that place.
Since you are spending your own money to visit these places, you can decide what to do when you are on a vacation and how to spend your time wisely. Just make sure you start going beyond simply taking photos and posting them in your social media account.
Traveling is not really about telling others about your experience but being able to experience its beauty. This is why you have to strive for immersion. This is like dipping your feet into the actual lifestyle of the locals. It doesn’t really matter how long you are staying in a particular place. You can still immerse in that short span of time.
Be like a local
For touristy places, finding food, getting hotels, or taking local transportation is easy. They have arranged everything to accommodate tourists and make their experience great. However, this is not immersion. If you really want to understand how locals live, try going to the same market where they are buying food. Use the local transportation that common people use. Don’t just take a photo with the locals or wear their national costume so you can brag it to your friends. Seeing how they live and understanding their daily struggles, is what immersion should be all about.
Have an open mind
The problem with people visiting certain places is that they are quite closed-minded. They have already made judgments even before heading there. They have also fallen into the stereotypes of the locals. If you really want to make the most out of your stay, be open to all possibilities. Try not to judge the locals, but understand how and why they do things. Avoid comparing their ways to yours. You have a totally different background. Just because you feel like you have better way of doing things doesn’t mean your culture is far more superior.
Interact with locals
The most important part of immersion is interaction. Don’t just sit from afar. Try interacting with them. Don’t worry about language barrier. You will just find a way to understand each other along the way. Try local dishes or even practice cooking dishes with them. See their source of livelihood and why it is so important for them. Avoid laughing at how they do things or the way they dress up. Instead, understand the reason behind them.
The world is filled with unique cultures and traditions. There are a lot more for you to discover. This is why you should take some time off to see the beauty of various places around the world. There might be a lot of scenic spots worth photographing, but the most important thing of all is the experience. This is something you will bring with you forever. The moment you get back home, share your experience to others and open their eyes to those unique cultures too.
Featured and 1st image by Lestat (Jan Mehlich) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd image by Free2barredo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons