Travel is a wonderful thing. But unfortunately, due to natural time constraints, funding limits and the time to stay allowed by our visas, we might not get the time to truly dig deep into a culture and experience all it has to offer. When was the last time you lost yourself in a new culture, not just simply staying for two weeks or passing through? This isn’t to encourage some form of elitism, as if you need to be a country for two months to have ‘been there properly.’ That kind of travel gatekeeping only dissuades people from engaging in other cultures, and that’s a shame.
But if you’d like to head abroad and enjoy another culture deeply, and perhaps learn more than you ever could through a package vacation, you might find it worthwhile to take a risk. That risk could be found in booking plenty of time off, and heading to a country to absorb yourself in a culture. Perhaps you might seek temporary employment, perhaps you might simply apply your savings to exploration. Let us consider how:
Exploring a country not only helps you interface with new towns, cities and beautiful environments, but can help you find more people from place to place, and that means more potential friends or contacts to build. Simply hiking from place to place, heading on long train routes, or driving across the country in a rented car with a friend can help you feel more connected to the country than ever before. But it’s worth knowing where you hope to go in the first instance. For example, utilizing this guide to exploring Nepal might help you figure out your journey, and give you more room to enjoy yourself.
Sometimes you cannot truly claim to have deeply ‘explored’ a culture unless you have adopted some of its understanding. Learn its history. Travel to the important historical sites. Learn the customs, such as what might be considered rude that isn’t quite thought of that way in your country. Learn to make a few simple dishes or staples of cuisine, as that will certainly score you some points with the locals. And don’t be afraid to look for information that helps you stay safe, such as what areas to avoid. Those will be present in any country you visit.
Living in a place for some time can help you become a citizen of the place, perhaps not in legal terms, but in your soul and heart. You needn’t spend ten years in a place to feel home there. A few months in rented accommodation can do it, because that’s not a small portion of your life involved in that area. Doing this can give you even greater context, convince you to return, and also motivate you to celebrate the place while you’re there.
With these tips, you’re sure to feel wonderful in a new culture.