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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Traveling with your eyes open

Usually, people that feel passionate about languages also does about traveling because they both mean seeing new places and knowing how people live, communicate, work and think in different areas and cultures that coexist in our planet.

Traveling is a great way of opening your mind to unique visions of the world and of understanding that everything you've seen and every detail that has built your education up to now are just a small piece of that infinite universe that cultures, languages, religions, weather, art and customs bring to life.

It's important to clear up that the world traveling doesn't only mean going really far from home; of course that if you go to the other side of the planet, you'll find enormous contrasts and, if you're sensitive to your surroundings, you'll learn a lot and enrich yourself with the marvels of nature and humanity.

But also, just getting out of your city or of the places you usually visit can become a surprisingly delightful and teaching experience if you decide to open your eyes, mind and soul to actually see and understand what the people and the environment in those places are willing to share with you.

What to see in a new place

When you go to a new place you should be excited for everything you'll get to see and hear. Don't walk as if you had blindfolded eyes; don't miss the opportunity of smiling or crying after seeing and experiencing something that moved your emotions; look right in the eyes of a child that walks by your side; ask the stall keeper anything about his or her day or about the business; discover the details in peoples lives.

There are some well known ways of getting to know the truly traditional and original characteristics and customs of any place, to not merely see what the touristic books tell you to see and to go beyond the, sometimes, shallow glance of the typical tourist.

A really old one, but useful and interesting, is to talk to a taxi driver about the place, its customs, the worth visiting sites, etc., because, as expert connoisseurs of cities, they know vital information for visitors and are also great sources of data because they talk to a lot of people every day.

Something else would be to try to meet somebody from the place, not a tour guy and not another tourist, but someone that lives there and can show you the traditional places and take you to try the traditional dishes. That's a way to taste the real flavor of a new place.

You've got to make an effort and see a little bit of the different aspects of life: day life and night life. Go to a bar and sit there to just look around and keep some faces in your memory, listen to their music and watch them sing and dance…

Those details will probably seam really simple and common at the moment; you won't think you're experiencing anything exceptional, but then, when time goes by, once you're not there anymore and you get to try to remember everything to tell stories to your family and friends, you'll be surprised with how big an impact those faces had on you and you'll have interesting and unique details to tell because you'll be talking about cultural memories, about memories of humanity.







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