Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Getting To The Heart Of A Culture

Traveling is something that we should all do. It doesn’t matter how far you go, even a night spent under the stars in your own country can open your eyes and extend your awareness. However, one of the most important things to do when traveling is to get to the heart of the country you are in. You need to really surround yourself with the culture to get to grips with how special it is.

A really great way of doing this is to head away from the typical tourist areas and look for local action.  Researching where the locals go to celebrate events or spend their time off.  

A great example of that is the island of Crete.  This is one of the popular destinations for mainland Greek residents.  They head over to this little paradise, favouring Chania and the strip of Platanias, often saying that they already live in the most beautiful country in the world, so why go far away.  Crete is such an independent island, offering some really fantastic local cuisine, from the beautiful wild capers to their love affair with baby octopus.  You will find a very different side to greek cuisine here, away from the tourist pizza and kebab restaurants, lie some stunning tavernas offering the very best of Crete produce.  

Sticking with food, this is a wonderful way of tapping into the heartbeat of most countries.  Regardless of where you are in the world, food is usually a celebration of all that is marvellous about a country.  If you are heading out to Asia then get to grips with the street food.  There are lots of stories about food hygiene and urban myths about what meat is actually going onto your plate, but these should be ignored.  Yes, it is wise to understand things to avoid, such as eating sea vegetables in Japan due to the tragedy which hit the island resulting in radiation and toxins contaminating the ocean, or understanding the water issues and what bugs could be lurking in watermelons.  However street food tends to be prepared right there in front of you, talking to the chef about his produce and what goes into it, will help you get to know the people and their passions.

Heading out to explore the environment is another great way to understand a country. Guided wildlife holidays abroad can put you in touch with animals you may not even know existed and with a personal guide you will get under the skin of the relationships that the locals have with the wildlife.  It can even be a good way of getting to understand your own country a little more. Knowing what animals are native to us and understanding the effects our daily lives have on their survival could really change your lifestyle choices and make your home a better place.

Culture is everything, without understanding the differences we cannot be aware of all the reasons our planet is beautiful.  People, art, history, environment and food.  The perfect ways of getting to know why the earth is such a special and fragile space.