Travel Tip: Make Sure to Talk to the Locals

One of my favorite places to hang out in when traveling is the bar. When coming to a new town I will always first look for a hotel close to a row of bars that I can easily walk to. It makes the logistics planning easy to getting back to the hotel safely. When I go to a place like Thunder Bay, this is one of the reasons (well there’s a bunch of other reasons) I love staying at the Prince Arthur. The Prince Arthur is literally a block walk from a series of bars on Red River Road.

The reason I like going to the bar is a chance to talk to the locals and start really taking in the culture. A bar typically has a relaxed atmosphere where it’s easy to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. People stick around at a bar longer than they would in most other settings, so it makes it easier to get into a deeper conversation where you can start really learning about the area and the culture. Maybe it’s just the extrovert in me, but I love just talking to people and getting their perspectives on things, and I love hearing some of the stories they will tell that help put a lot of things into context.

It’s also a place where you can make friends. This is one of the cooler elements of travel. If you have read any of my Thunder Bay blog entries, you’ll probably see I mention my friend Ryan a lot. He lives right there in Thunder Bay and we actually met at Sovereign Room when I was out and about in Thunder Bay in December 2015. We have kept in touch ever since and have became good friends. Every time I come to Thunder Bay, I always make sure to get a hold of him so we can hang out.

In addition to Ryan, I have also met a lot of other great people in Thunder Bay that I will also hang out with on a regular basis. Ryan is really a social butterfly, so I have met a ton of people just through him alone. In many ways having a group of friends in a given location makes it so much more enjoyable to come back and visit again. You get to see things in a very different context than you would just visiting and seeing a city basically for the buildings and other landmarks that are there.

That gets me into the travel tip part of this blog entry. Make it a point to talk to the locals. You may not be as extroverted as I am and be able to strike up a conversation with random strangers in a bar, but make it a point to talk to people. Whether it be standing in line, at a bar, or any place that allows the opportunity to make small talk, try to do this.

You can talk about anything under the sun, but no matter what you talk about if you actually listen to what people have to say, you’re going to pick up on the culture and it’ll add more context to the area you are exploring. Even if it’s just surface-level small talk, you still might get some recommendations on places to explore that you would have never thought of. If you somehow get into deeper conversation, you can make some really awesome friends that will make you want to come back and visit on a regular basis.

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