Travel Tuesdays: Travel Right Where You Are – Create a Cultural Experience in Your Own Backyard
Do you want to have a travel experience with your significant other, but don’t have the time and resources to globe trot at the moment? Though it’s certainly not as wonderful as the real thing, you can recreate a travel experience right in your own home. How? Let’s get to it!
Take a bite of culture. If you’ve ever watched the Travel Channel, you’ll be instantly convinced that one of the best ways to get acquainted with a new culture is through food. Food often showcases the unique nuances and flavors of cultures. Moreso, in countries that have diverse ethnic groups and/or people of varied nationalities, it’s a great way to identify with each of them. To create your own “travel by food” home experience, select a city, country or culture to focus on. Then, buy cookbooks and ingredients necessary to teach you how to prepare your meal of choice; or simply, order in. Don’t be afraid to tread on unfamiliar territory! Enjoy the smells and flavors of a whole new culture.
Watch a foreign film. Foreign films are wonderful, particularly those that strongly showcase the sights and sounds of another country. Bollywood movies are stellar examples of this. They draw you into the sights, sounds and vibrant colors of India, while weaving together great storylines. For those who have a list of countries they intend to visit, it’s also very helpful to watch foreign films in the country’s indigenous language. There are many stories of foreigners who perfected their learning of languages via television. You’ll be speaking a new language like a pro in time for your next big vacation.
Attend authentic cultural events. Nothing gives you a better education on the culture(s) and language(s) of another country quite like meeting people from that country. Attend authentic cultural events and festivals that introduce you to some new experiences. Mingle with “the natives.” Ask lots of questions and go with an open mind. Most likely, you’ll be surprised and impressed by what you find. You might think you know, but have no idea. As a Nigerian, I have encountered some very skewed ideas about Nigeria (and Africa in general), made worse by sensationalism in foreign media. This has taught me to ensure that when I am introduced to new cultures, I am introduced by people from that culture instead of foreign media reports.
Fly on the wings of music. For me, there’s nothing quite like music to transport me to a whole new world without ever leaving my home. If you’re like me, music entertains you, tugs at your heart strings and gives you wonderful new experiences all at once. Imagine how much more amazing those new experiences can be with music from other countries. Prepare yourself for a new cultural soundtrack and imagine you’re dancing on the shores of an exotic land.
Your “home travel” possibilities are endless. Whether you choose to have a day-long travel celebration or cultural-themed party, or create a foreign-inspired dinner, know that even if you don’t have the resources, a fun travel experience can be had wherever you are. Just be open, creative and curious. May your creativity lead you to amazing new travel experiences at home and abroad.