Temporary Local, my definition
I am a very slow person. It takes me long time to take the most trivial decision like the sneakers I want or the colours of this blog. But when is about going for some exciting weird adventure, I’m immediately in. Why say no to a Finnish girl that you met in Bolivia to go live in her house in Brighton ? Easy yes for me. But everyone is different. Becoming a Temporary Local is a lifestyle.
Slow travel was not enough for me. As I explained before in “Why a Temporary Local?” I needed to travel and make money at the same time. So in contrast with my first free of work trip to Machu Picchu for a month, my second trip to Europe was as long as 18 months. After so much time abroad you start wondering “where the fuck is home now?”. I have had become “homeless” in a sense.
“Forget about the standards of living”
I wasn’t a local either, neither in the way of becoming one. I wanted to leave that place at some point and see more, meet more people, change job and change my morning window view. I was a Temporary Local. I had a group of people I hanged out with, I had a girlfriend, a bar that I visited very often and so on. I was walking with sheep and disguised as one.
However, all this partially inclusion in the Spanish society was a great source of knowledge. A constant education in a different culture. Since I was in Lerida, a small city close to Barcelona in the Catalonia region. I had to learn the basics of Catalan language. I learned too a new philosophy at work, how to deal with bureaucracy, how to rent a flat in Spain, and more. Ah, and I accomplished my dream of watching a match of Barcelona FC with all the geniuses in the greatest moment.
“Life is a constant flow of… whatever you wanna call it”
Being conscious of the ends its fundamental while travelling. You must know that all the excitement and joy that a new place might arise in you will slowly vanish. Do not try to stop the immense curiosity that is natural in you. There will be always more to see and learn. And not even 1000 years are enough. But you don’t have to run, take your time and let things happen in its own pace. If you have a chance, stay. Become a Temporary Local. Stay there where you are feeling good and leave when the need comes.
Advantages of being a Temporary Local
Time. Although is tricky. You have to find balance between work and holidays. If you are working in a farm for 10 hours a day with 2 days off per week you will have to take short trips not far or just save as much money as you can and then leave, take a break and find another job in another place. Of course it all depends in what you find pleasant to do in city.
In my case I enjoy more being in the city, explore the streets, neighbourhoods, libraries, parks and specially bars. I am a big fan of going out during the night rather than the day. I do outdoors activities almost exclusively if I get invited. I usually do not wake up a Saturday morning feeling I want to climb a mountain. Although sometimes I wake up keen for certain ineffable feeling. Like that time I woke up in Tokyo feeling I wanted to find a desert train station in the country side and just sit there, enjoy the sun and maybe take a picture of a cat passing by.
Connection. This is wonderful. Getting connected with the locals will give you much more satisfaction than any tour guide or travel/guide-book. You will learn from the best. You will have a close up of country’s reality than anyone else can give you. And I am not talking about hiring a local to take you for a ride in elephant and exchange some words, of course this will nourish you as well, but won’t be the same connection.
I know this point might be difficult for many people who cannot become a Temporary Local because they have to come back home and work. But you can do it on holidays too. But it will be impossible if you are walking the city from dusk to dawn and then you come back to the hotel totally worn out of being on holidays. But you have to try a different approach, at least once. Go to a place where you can socialize and make friends. Connect.
Then you have the advantage of learning words of an alien language or even the language. You will be told to go to certain hidden restaurant that are way better than your guide-book expensive recommendation. And the list goes on because when you are free of prejudice and out of the guide the possibilities are limitless.