I´m really happy that you found your way to Ella Happylicious today, as I´ve got a really great post for you!
Five or actually six lovely bloggers tell us something about their most memorable experience when meeting local people while travelling. I´m so excited as I do love the stories so much and really hope you do as well!
Thanks again to Julia, Sebastian, Celinne, Annika, Jenny and Sebastian for taking your time to share your experiences! <3
With Julia from Globusliebe in Mumbai
Julia from Globusliebe is definitely one of my favorite travel bloggers among the German ones. She seems so wonderfully easy-going, friendly and describes herself as a “world traveler with hippie heart” – exactly my thing. How about you – any hippie gene involved? Julia is not only providing us with great travel stories from all over the world (world traveler in fact ;)), but also with many tips and advices (in German). Not to mention, these fantastic pictures! Wanderlust calling! Go check out Globusliebe!
My first visit to India was a cultural shock and complete overstimulation for my senses, but at the same time one of my most memorable encounters with locals I have ever experienced.
While my friend and I were discussing the destination and the price of a trip with a taxi driver in the middle of Mumbai, our “knight” with a calm charisma came to us, as if he were the Dalai Lama himself.
A bit later we´ve been sitting in his car, when he offered to take us home to his family. After we arrived there, his wife cooked something for us, as if we were friends for many years, even in reality we had only known each for a few hours.
We found out – and this is one of the most exciting things about this story for myself – that he is one of the cousins of Deepak Chopra, a world-famous book author and meditation teacher, whose books I love and would recommend to every human being in this world.
We´ve spent an incredible afternoon with this family in Mumbai and it seemed to me that this encounter had been a fate of destiny. The heartiness, which these people offer and the warmth, we so unconditionally felt: These are my main reason why I always want to go out into the world and meet foreign cultures.
These are the experiences that make traveling so valuable! The whole story can be read here (German): www.globusliebe.com/mumbai
Sebastian from Off the Path takes us to Australia
Sebastian is one of the most successful bloggers in the German-speaking area! His bi-lingual blog “Off the Path” is the source for tips on cool roadtrips and especially important: adventure and action. The motto “Make every day to your adventure” with the hashtag “ChooseAdventures” is omnipresent.
As a digital nomad, Sebastian travels a lot in the world and has already published some books and eBooks. „Off the Path“ is not only recommendable for adventure fans, but for everyone in need of inspiration!
I spent my very first Christmas away from my family in 2010 in Australia. Friends from university introduced me to a family, which directly took me and a friend in their own family like we´d been relatives. Even if we only knew each other for two days, they invited us to celebrate christmas with them.
Early in the morning of the 25th, we started with 30 people a huge BBQ, ate and drank and just had a great time. In the evening, a family member said that it´s supposed to be perfect weather on the following day to take the boat out and possibly swim with the dolphins.
In our drunken state we thought it´s a great idea, but I had forgotten that I had to fly to Sydney the next day and had no money to change the flight. Thereupon, each of the 30 people gave me ten dollar, so I could change my flight. Being still a bit hungover, we went swimming with wild dolphins the next day. I will never forget this christmas – typically Australia!
Celinne from The Nomad´s Oasis and her magical time in Indonesia
Celinne quit her job to travel. So far a story, which is nowadays nothing special, you think? Then you should definitely meet Celinne, as Celinne is special.
What I just simply love about Celinne and her „The Nomad´s Oasis“? She is so real, so down-to-earth. Celinne is not trying to be that super stylish travel blogger (even if she still is, without trying), that needs to take photos of all those sights and write about „10 Things to do in X“. She´s non-stop searching for a real-experience and she takes us with her along that authentic journey.
Being not mainstream was never so cool! Experience for yourself and definitely check out her daily Insta stories 😉
I´d like to share a very special experience from my time in Jogjakarta, where I´ve got to know the secret of slowing down time and opening your heart to the universe. The Javanese take their sweet time for just about anything: the concept of rush seems non-existent.
A local guide offered to take me around the city, which led into one of the most enlightened experiences I’ve had on this trip.
One of my stops was a shop that makes shadow puppets, a Javanese tradition dating back thousands of years. As I sat there, learning about the fascinating art of traditional puppet making, I made conversation with the men there about Javanese culture and philosophy.
I learned that the Javanese don’t like being in a hurry because to do something right, they feel that they must take their time. As one of them said “we must not do things quickly, but with feeling: if we allow time to control us, we cannot make something good. Time can pressure us but we cannot let it if we want to enjoy life.”
I was introduced to the Indonesian concept of rasa when a wise puppet maker cryptically advised me to “follow the feeling of the universe” in order to treat my overthinking mind.
Rasa roughly translates to “feeling,” yet it also means taste. And, oddly enough, rasa translates to “juice” in Sanskrit. When I later asked one of my hosts whether rasa referred to the juice of life, he laughed and responded: “it’s more like the essence.”
Rasa is feeling. It is essence, taste, juice. It can be happy, sad, good, or bad. Rasa is that indescribable internal commotion you get when you’re standing on top of a mountain, overseeing the golden sunlight ripping through the morning fog down below. Rasa is the love that bubbles within you when a complete stranger spends the entire day showing you around simply because he believes in your dreams.
The cure to opening your heart and slowing down time, said the puppet maker, is to turn off your mind and feel the universe. Rasa. Stop thinking and just let those rays of emotion rip through your heart.
Learning about rasa from the Javanese puppet maker was certainly my most memorable local experience.
Jenny and Sebastian from 22places talk about an experience in Myanmar
Do you already know Sebastian and Jenny? If yes, you´re allowed to jump directly to their story below 😉 ! For everyone else, it´s time to get to know them and their blog 22places!
22places is all about traveling, but one thing is special: Jenny and Sebastian practically never put their cameras away! There are amazing pictures from all over the world waiting for you! And personally, I think it´s really cool, that Germany is well represented, too! All German followers, will also find great tips and tricks on photography and also an online photo course on 22places. 22places is not just interesting for photographers, but moreover for dreamers! And: Pictures speak every language 😉 Convince yourself!
Encounters with local people are often the most memorable moments at the end of a journey, which we´ll still remember years later. While travelling, we try to absorb as much of the local culture as possible and as well get to know the people in the country better.
Most of the time it´s very interesting, but sometimes these encounters come with a bittersweet feeling as well – like during our Myanmar trip.
In the remote Chin State, an area in the north-west of Myanmar, there are still relatively isolated villages, where the last witnesses of a tradition, which is fortunately no longer practiced, are living. Until the 1950s, the girls of the Chin had been tattooed in the face – often at the age of 8 or 9 years. Today no one knows for sure, why this had been done, like it´s often the case with traditions.
Nowadays, these ladies are promoted as tourist attractions. We wanted to get an idea of this story and drove to the Chin villages. It was terrible: The women are presented like animals in a zoo! We felt at least as uncomfortable as the women themselves.
Sure, the tourists bring much needed money in the villages, but looking back, we gladly would have passed out on this encounter. Of course, our description is maybe a bit exaggerated, so you probably imagine it much worse than it is. But fact is: this spectacle will definitely not change in the future. That´s why, we actually like to ask you, to decide against a visit to one of the Chin villages, in case you´ll ever be around.
Apart from that, we only had great experiences with the locals in Myanmar. The people of Myanmar are simply incredible friendly and sweet, we really felt welcome. The smiles of the locals were really catching and we´d also beamed with joy during our stay.
Read more information about our visit to the Chin villages of Myanmar (in German).
Annika from Midnight Blue Elephant in Food Heaven
Annika from The Midnight Blue Elephant is an extremely inspiring traveler and always looking for adventure coupled with a touch of luxury! She shares her experiences in a wonderfully authentic way – that´s why I´m really happy that she takes part today and tells her story! Annika is at home all over the world – right now she´s spending her time in beautiful South Africa! Why there is also a category called “Foodie Heaven” on her blog? Read her story, and you´ll get an idea 😉
My favorite way to meet locals center around food. I love activities like food tours or communal dinners. Different companies already offer experiences that give you a glimpse into a local’s home and kitchen – ideal if you want to have a meaningful authentic interaction and eat locally.
What I like about organized tours or these foodie events, is that you usually have guides and hosts who will speak at least somewhat good English. Try as I might even a few weeks in a country are not really enough time to learn much of the local language to have a decent conversation. Needless to say that speaking the same language is often key to have a meaningful exchange with locals and to get to know the culture better.
A few years ago I was in Marrakech when I joined Youssef from Marrakech Foud Tours for a private dining tour through the medina. Not only did I eat some of the best dishes in the city but I also learned about their history and Moroccan culture which is reflected in its food. During our conversation, it turned out that Youssef’s partner and wife, Amanda, is also a travel blogger. She and I have since connected as well and shared a few more meals together during my last visit in Marrakech. It seems inevitable that anywhere in the world, food brings people together regardless of where they are from!
The photo credit of all images goes to each blogger! The cover picture was taken by myself during my trip to Ecuador in 2012.
The stories from Julia, Sebastian, Jenny and Sebastian have originally been shared in German language. Celinne and Annika contributed her experience in English (translations made by me myself).