Showing travellers around your region – meeting the locals

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of my absolute favourite ways of travelling is to stay with some locals and learn all about how they go about their daily lives. Figuring out the similarities and differences from my life to theirs is something I find fascinating. It both reminds me of aspects of my own life and culture that I particularly like, and regularly teaches me new ways of living that can make my life back home somehow better. I’ve often found it quite easy to meet locals who enjoy showing travellers around, or I plan my trip around staying with people I know who will be happy to do this too.

The flip side of staying with locals is having travellers come to stay with me, and I find it just as interesting to hear from them what they find unusual about my local way of life. Showing travellers around my local area is a good reminder for me of what is special about where I live.

Showing travellers around Perth

Hosting a traveller in Perth, Western Australia

With my recent visitor it started straight after her airport experience. For some reason, I’d been thinking about the “olden days” when planes would land in Australia and the flight attendants would come down the aisles spraying insect spray everywhere. I mentioned it to my visitor which, of course, reminded her to tell me that exactly that had happened to her that morning! I was amazed that it still happened on occasion (I’d kind of assumed that it didn’t – because surely it is kind of poisoning all the passengers, isn’t it?), and so was she. Visiting Australia, though, is fraught with these kinds of differences because our island-status (and being far away from pretty much everything) means we have a lot more quarantine rules and regulations than anywhere.

Her stay continued in a very authentic “meeting the locals” kind of way. On that very first day, we visited our local bakery and supermarket – checking out a local supermarket is definitely one of the first things I like to do in another country and I was glad she felt the same! On other days, she walked with my son and I to his school, attended my travel writing class with the locals, and even visited the local guide dog training session because she’d just raised a guide dog puppy back in Canada. We did manage to check off a few key sightseeing spots as well, but I felt good that I’d provided her with a pretty authentic “this is the way people live around here” kind of stay, as well!

Showing travellers around virtually – my month on Instagram

During April I’ve been running the #mylocalworld challenge on Instagram (if it’s still April 2015 when you read this, come over to Instagram and join in) and I have found it so interesting to pick out particular aspects of typical life here in Perth and share them for each prompt. There have been participants from other parts of Australia, England, the United States, Malaysia, Spain and Morocco and there have been some similarities and many differences, and I have loved seeing the other participants ask salient questions about the different local areas everyone is showing.

My local world - images of Perth, Western Australia

It’s certainly made me think about what is typical for Perth – from what we eat (all kinds of different cuisines, actually – we had Japanese on the day the photo prompt asked for a meal) to how our money looks (we were the first country to have plastic money) and to how much time we spend outside, thanks to our pretty marvellous weather.

What do you want people to know about your local area?

Travel lovers like you and me spend a lot of time thinking about other places. But stopping this month to really think about my own place has been a really interesting exercise. Instead of just labelling Perth as this far-from-everywhere isolated city, I’ve been reminded of some of its truly good points.

If you are showing travellers around where you live, what do you want them to know? What will you show them behind the main tourist spots so that they can get an understanding of what it’s like to live where you live? Have a think and if you want to share please leave a comment – but most important to me is that, like me, you get a reminder of what your everyday life looks like to someone from elsewhere.

Comments

  1. Jenny Peace says:

    I love checking out supermarkets in other countries too. Also seeing how the school day goes somewhere else is very interesting…

  2. I think that you don’t really know what a place is like until you can experience it like the locals do. Which is why I always seek to find out what that is. I think this is great. I also try to remember what a wonderful part of the world I live in and that I can do ‘touristy travel’ things right here in my own back yard. I live on the Gold Coast in Australia and people often have a misconception of what it is really like here so I love to show people a ‘typical’ day in our lives.

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