French version here.
Travelling without leaving home? Impossible some will say. However, I have more and more the feeling it is possible. I’m not talking here about tropical landscapes etc.. I talking about meetings, about people. I’m persuaded meeting another culture, which is my favorite thing when I travel, can happened down home.
Obviously, I’m not talking about a four months road trip in south America, there is no immersion, yet the meeting happens.
As usual, my article makes no sense, so let me explain myself: I worked in an hotel specialized in welcoming families who have a member at the hospital. It permits them to be closer from the patient when they live far from hospital.
This is there that magic happens: In three little months, I sympathized with Dutch, English, Italians, Bosnian, Senegalese and I became friend with Tahitians (I know, they are french citizens but their culture is different and it is amazing how beautiful it is).
However, with all of these people, I just did my work. Yet if you take time to speak to someone, even just a few minutes, friendship happens very fast.
This how I discover the opportunity to do some fruit picking with horticulturists in Netherlands in september.
I’m now welcome in Moorea, in the family of my tahitians friends. People more generous than them doesn’t exist I swear. I even was offered a shell necklace and some monoi.
I talked for hours with Daniela from Bosnia, in my approximate english, about differences between the french health systhem and the bosnian one. She even gave me advices about what I should visit when I would arrive in Croatia.
I could tell you many other anecdotes but you will say « It’s cool for you Chloe, we are happy for you, but we do not all work in places which permit us to create meeting ». Indeed, I was in a situation which created lots of opportunities to hear about other cultures, but everyday life already permits this.
I meet tourists in the bus, at the bakery, in the street.. A smile, a word in their language or in english and you got it ! If you help a tourist a bit lost in front of a ticket machine, or even just lost in the street, you will easily have a smile from him, a nice talk, or more, it depends (and you will also give give them a nice opinion from french people). Last time I went to Paris, I helped an Italian buying himself some metro tickets because he couldn’t understand how our ticket dispensers worked. We finally laughed together when I told him that when I had been to Italia I was lost like him in front of their tickets machines !
Let’s do this !
They are also websites which permit you to meet travelers and to accomodate them if you want and have the possibility. I’m sure it can be a great opportunitie to vary everyday routine and without spending more money !
First you have couchsurfing.com which is the most known website to accomodate travellers on your couch for one or more nights. You create a host profile (you can also be hosted if you want when you travel) and you add your city, your hobbies, what you wanna talk about and what you can offer to the host (like a seat on the couch and a shower, the guest room or even just a typical aperitif haha). After this, you can contact people who said on their profiles they were coming to your city or you can just wait for travelers to contact you. If after a discussion you feel you have a good contact with them, the adventure starts and you are free to invite them in town, or at your house…
The more recent talktalkbnb.com permit also to create an host or traveler profile. It’s the same philosophy that couchsurfing but here the goal is to practice a foreign language. For example, I created an account saying I wanted to visit Spain to practice my spanish and Italia because I love their language. In exchange, I said I could talk to people also in french or in english if they want to practise these languages.
So that’s it.. for me travel, meeting people and their culture, can happen almost everywhere. You just need a smile and one step forward. I hope I will be meet billions of people again..
If you have a different feeling about this, experiences to tale, or ways to meet more people, just let me in the comments below 🙂