In fact, culture is what I seek most from my lifestyle of world travel, even ‘culture shock‘.
Methods to Experience Culture :
TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD
There is simply no better way to experience culture than to actually travel around the world and immerse yourself in it. Books, films and the internet can only take you so far beyond getting a base knowledge of a culture but simply being present in a country won’t take you that much further either. Not without actively discovering and participating in your new foreign environments.
PHOTO : Taken while swimming at the Marina Bay
Sands Infinity Pool in Singapore.
SOCIALIZE WITH THE LOCALS
Its the people that originate, develop and maintain a city or country’s culture so it stands to obvious reason that they are the best way in. There are many levels of socializing with the local people and you should try to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible; a small but meaningful conversation with a shop owner, a romantic encounter or relationship, couchsurfing…
PHOTO : Taken while at Jimbaran Beach, Indonesia with
a fellow traveler and 4 local Balinese girls.
EAT THE LOCAL CUISINE
There’s nothing like getting a literal taste of culture. To actually smell, chew, drink and swallow a piece of culture is why eating the local food is 1/3 of the experience of travel. Instead of going to familiar fast-food chains while traveling, hit up the night markets, the small family owned restaurants and street stalls to get the most authentic cultural food possible. A bonus is that the local food is almost always cheaper as well.
PHOTO : Taken while eating a Balinese lunch on a mountain peak in Bali, Indonesia.
ATTEND CULTURAL GATHERINGS
Every culture has their very own festivals, ceremonies and events unique to others. Even when celebrating the same things such as New Years Eve or a wedding, varying cultures celebrate them completely differently. So no matter the gathering, if ones going on and foreigners are permitted, attend and participate. This is an excellent experience a culture on a mass scale.
PHOTO : Taken during a religious ceremony at the Uluwatu Mountain Temple in Indonesia.
VISIT HISTORICAL SITES
While traveling, sightseeing will be a natural and constant occurrence but just looking and taking photos isn’t enough. For the purposes of experiencing culture, really learn about the places you visit; ask questions, read the signs, go beyond just viewing them and really get a feel for it. After all, these are the places where pivotal events may have occurred that shaped their very culture.
PHOTO : Taken at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
LIVE, VOLUNTEER OR WORK
When you start having a routine in a foreign country like working, volunteering or simply living there, it gives you a unique perspective into a culture. You slowly, efficiently and inadvertently learn how the local people live and go on about their lives and therefore experience culture. This is essentially a nomadic lifestyle, more traveler than tourist, or simply a vagabond.
PHOTO : Taken at my temporary beach bungalow home on Nusa Lembongan Island in Indonesia.
These are just the first tier methods of experiencing culture while traveling abroad with endless other means at your disposal.
Explore life by experiencing culture.
[The featured photo was taken while I was on a longboat riding through the Floating Village just outside of Siem Reap in Cambodia.]