In this modern day and age of technology, a lot of us have started feeling comfortable in traveling to new places by ourselves and taking the so called “solo trips” to enhance our relationship with self and elevate our travel experience in its entirety. However, it is worth noting that these solo trips have gained so much traction not because they allow you to cut off with the rest of the world but more so because they present you with an opportunity to create a community with the rest of the world – a community that transcends borders.
Why is there a need for community while travelling, though? Community brings together a social unit of people that offer each other support, insight and a sense of familiarity – all essential elements to get the most out of your travelling experiences. Community serves the purpose of fulfilling our innate need to feel belonged and safe. And communities aren’t just for extroverts. Introverts too need a sense of belonging and security, especially when travelling. When and where each person finds their community is a highly individual process that depends on each person’s passion and interests.
How does one find community while travelling then? Here’s our top 3 tips:
1. Talk to a stranger
What’s the worst that could happen? The stranger you just offered a kind smile and said hello to will think you are an odd ball and walk away from you? That’s it. No big deal in that, really. On the other hand, if you do manage to strike up a conversation, who knows what that will lead to? You might hear of a story that cannot be found on any tourist website or you may as well be making a friend for life. Leave aside all your “stranger danger” notions, and say hello to that person next to you on the bus or ahead of you in the coffee line. Introduce yourself but focus on them – who are they, where are they from, what are their interests, and what brings them to the place you’re both at? Finding a familiar thread is all it takes to lay the foundations of a community.
2. Share a meal
Find a friendly couple or family and ask if they could recommend their favorite restaurant in the area. Follow that up with an invitation to join you at said restaurant – afterall, we all know that nothing brings people together better than the shared love of food. Sharing a meal is an intimate experience and offers an unparalleled opportunity to shed inhibitions and exchange stories. If you are confused as to where to find such friendly people to share a meal with, you can simply sign up on food.social and look out for a local food host near you.
3. Sign up for a food event
Sharing a meal isn’t the only way to connect with the local community in any place. You can sign up for a multitude of food related activities including walking food tours, private dining, and home food experiences. All of these events will give you a chance to interact with like-minded people with similar passions and tons of ideas, insights and information up for an exchange – all of it combined with a delicious meal. Food, culture and personal histories shared is a sure shot way to form a community that will intensify the takeaway from your travels.