Why WE travel local (#WhyITravelLocal)

One of the main reasons for starting Spotted by Locals in 2008 was our vision of a world where people are more curious and open to other cultures.

In 2008, when we started Spotted by Locals, we were hopeful that the world was slowly becoming more open and integrated. Today, we are not so positive. Xenophobic politicians in many countries are coming to power by instilling fear about other cultures in these economically uncertain times.

More than ever we feel the urge to send out a positive message to motivate people to be curious about other cultures. Who better to ask than our ambassadors – our Spotters in 67 cities? Here’s a selection of their #whyItravellocal stories:

Paris Spotter Julia Fortuin (pictured above):

“Whatever your nationality, you can be a local anywhere. If you listen carefully to the people around you, take the pleasure of observing a culture so freshly different to your own, you will end up understanding how “things work” on your new destination. My grandparents did this, my parents did, and I also decided to live abroad. In every generation we have been able to find a mix between our roots and our current surroundings. There are always differences, just like there always is a common ground. I hope this is something that future generations will continue to discover.”

Chicago Spotter Melissa Weinman (pictured above):

“It’s hard to get to know a city that you’ve never visited before, which is why I love getting advice from the local people. I don’t want to view a place as an outsider; rather, I’d like to see how it makes the locals feel, how it keeps its charm and how it renews its magic for someone who sees it 365 days a year.”

Prague Spotter Josef Ševčík (pictured above):

“We travel because we are curious, because we want to experience and get to know new spots, local cultures and maybe also ourselves. Let’s make the cultural differences something we have in common and enjoy traveling with smile, it will make our memories even more unforgettable and remarkable. Exactly how Spotted by Locals does that.”

Athens Spotter Aigli Andritsopoulou (pictured above):

“Experiencing in depth the “informality” of places is an immersive practice that defines autonomous travellers, who desire to immerse themselves in the cultural and social milieu of each city they visit. The heterogeneity of the urbanites and the erratic structure of the contemporary urban landscape create a fascinating encounter with the Other. The interesting mixture of people living and visiting a city challenges obsolete beliefs and practices. In other words, travelling as a local intensifies the journey, leads to open-mindedness and leaves space for new empirical explorations, while getting a real sense of the local way of living.”

Montreal Spotter Julie Gauthier  (pictured above):

“How discover other cultures if not by traveling like a local? It means to try to blend into the culture you’re visiting by observing the people, by doing the same things they do, by engaging in conversation – even in their language if possible. Traveling like a local means the world to me!”

Milan Spotter Ivan Kalinov (pictured above):

“The first and foremost reason for travel aren’t the monuments, statues, buildings…It is the people you meet, the observing of their little habits, the secrets their culture hides and most importantly, the feeling of being a better and more open-minded person after coming back to your own culture.”

Saint Petersburg Spotter Olga Samoilova (pictured above)

“I have been travelling as a tourist to Tallinn several times. I thought I knew “each and every little stone” in the city. Then I found Spotted by Locals and a new universe was opened to me: new routes for walking, new places to eat, new attractions. The last time I traveled to Tallinn I felt I touched upon the soul of the city, and not just the beautiful decoration of it. For the first time I could understand my neighbouring country so well. I enjoy my stay so much more!”

Ljubljana Spotter Miha Poredoš (pictured above)

“We all think we know the culture we originate from at its best, but in reality what teaches us most about who we are and where we come from is traveling. Not the kind of traveling where we gaze at the spectacular scenery and extraordinary people through our dusty cultural goggles, but the kind of traveling where we immerse ourselves into locals’ perspectives, listen to their life stories, learn their languages and dialects, perform in their rituals, respect their customs, norms and values and above all try to feel for their hopes, dreams and desires. That’s what I call traveling.”

Feel the same? Join our Spotters community, or share your own #WhyITravelLocal story !

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Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)