SURVIVING THE INTERNATION UNKNOWN – THINK LOCAL

I don’t know about you, but when I travel I don’t like to carry a lot of weight along with me.  The thought of carrying two large suitcases and a backpack on an already crowded bus is most unappealing to me.  That’s why when I’m packing my bag, whether for a one week trip or a 6 month trip, I try to bring just the bare minimum with me and expect to pick up a the rest when I get there.  I can give two good reasons for this.

For one, support the local economy!  This is especially true when shopping at one of the ubiquitous family owned, handmade shops.  You will be able to find virtually any article of clothing, including sweaters and toques (thought I don’t know why you would want one), and at prices unfathomable back home.  For example, in Kenya for just $2 CAD you can buy yourself a fantastic new (second hand) shirt, and I guarantee you that the money will mean a lot more to this local shop owner than it will to your boutique back home.

Secondly, are you looking to discover your new city, see the sights and talk with some locals?  Then head to the market!  Most cities will have a district dedicated to shopping, and it is there that you’ll be able to dip your tows into the local culture.  Spend an afternoon meandering from shop to shop, conversing with the people, and not only will you end up with a new (again, second hand) wardrobe, but also a better understanding of your new home away from home.

 

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