Travel Inspiration Series: Going Local

It’s been a while since we’ve shared a post for the Travel Inspiration series… I’m excited to share a guest post from Paula at Contended Traveller regarding her inspiration to travel – meeting and learning from locals.

 What (or who) has inspired you to travel?

 By Paula McInerney,

I think that one of the most inspiring things that make us travel is to meet people and to see how they live. I am always curious as to what is similar and different to our own lives. Some of these are only little things but all of them help to build up a picture of the world that we live in.

We like to observe quite normal things like peoples jobs, how they shop, how they cook, what they eat and even how they eat. We like to watch basic things like how they do their laundry. When we were in Rome we had a little apartment and when I was hanging out my washing, I met the people behind and that is how we got to taking in quite broken English over a glass of red in the afternoon. This became a regular meeting for the week that we were there.

Seeing people shop in the markets of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and cooking their fresh food and eating is also intriguing. Beats the supermarkets that we shop at… Food is one of those things that brings people together and helps you to meet local people. Doing cooking schools is a great way to meet a local family, shop with them, cook with them and to dine with them. We have got to know a lot about food and family in Bangkok and in Chiang Mai.

Travel Inspriation

I remember though in Sri Lanka we were invited to a mans place who we had met, and he and his wife laid out a banquet and then proceeded to go and eat in another room. Despite us pleading for them to stay with us, they felt that we were special. I have never felt so awful ever that we were considered better than them. On a more positive note, in Ghent, Belgium we were having a meal, which we ended up sharing with some funny ladies from Antwerp who were hungry, and were able to compare what was similar and what was different to our own Australian culture.

I am also very interested in schooling having been a teacher. It amazes me in Asian countries for example, that no matter how much a family may be struggling, their children go to school in immaculate uniforms. The children spend the first part of the day cleaning the school in a precision manner before going into class. I am always happy when I hear a bit of rowdiness, knowing that some things are universal yet also seeing that these people see education as very important, while I wonder whether our students see it as just something that they have to do.

Travel Inspriation
I watch children also working late into the night at their parents’ markets stalls yet still getting up and going to school. I love watching the very common love of sport in whatever country we are in. Soccer, or football as most people call it seems to be a universal sport and cricket is certainly very popular. When we were in Sri Lanka all we had to do was to mention a cricketers name, specifically Shane Warne and then the people wanted to talk to us constantly.

Interacting with and watching people are a highly inspirational part of our travels. Despite many differences, there are still many similarities.

  What (or who) has inspired you to travel?


bio photo copy 2About the Writer, Paula McInerney

Paula and Gordon of Contented Traveller like the shabby chic houseboat in Amsterdam, the tatami mat in a ryokan in Japan, the cave house in Goreme. They do on occasion do the 5 star like an over water bungalow in Vanuatu or Bora Bora. They like to ski, to have backstreet massages in Chiang Mai and to have a beer with locals in Ghent. They are masters at organising their travels and sharing this with their readers. You can follow their adventures at, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.



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