How ‘local’ should you go?

It’s one of the things most travelers strive for – that feeling of being “local”.

And yet most of us realise that we’re unlikely to ever be true ‘locals’ and are always destined to be somewhat of a tourist or visitor in many of the places we visit.

But is this always a bad thing?

I’ve come to think not. As a visitor, one often has certain expectations of a place, perhaps even wearing rose-tinted spectacles and romanticising the view you have of it.

Under the covers however, it’s often very interesting what you’ll find; and a great way to get under the covers is to read the local newspapers – both broadsheets and tabloid.

In South Africa currently, if one were to believe everything one read in the daily papers you’d get the impression that the country is falling apart, ravaged by a power crisis and increasing violence and not fit for visitors, yet alone as the host nation for the 2010 Football (soccer) World Cup.

We’re having a lovely, peaceful time here – being careful yes, but no more so than in any other big city around the world. Just a scan of the local newspapers can paint a very different portrait from the one you’ll get as a visiting tourist.

If you are determined to get under the covers of any place you visit, remember this…

Be prepared for your romanticised notions of the place to be torn to shreds; be prepared to view that destination in a warts-and-all fashion; and be prepared to uncover a very different place to the one you thought you were in.

Posted by | Comments Off on How ‘local’ should you go?  | February 21, 2008
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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