I’m not a huge fan of science. In fact I made it all the way through college without taking a science class with a lab component – I focused on physics and astronomy instead. But for my next travel adventures I will be adjusting my nerdy glasses, dawning a ‘virtual’ lab coat and grabbing a set of beakers and test tubes to conduct a travel experiment with some good friends of mine. No – this isn’t some sort of Jeckle and Hyde experiment, it’s a travel experiment to see just how possible it is to live like a local as a traveler who is simply passing through. This is my kind of science!
Travel companies, writers, and social media marketers have seized upon the ‘local travel’ concept as being key to the way in which people today want to experience trips abroad.
“Live like a local.” “Experience cities like a local.” “Eat like a local.” “Travel like a local.”
The thinking goes like this – travelers today want to immerse themselves in local life and tap into what are pitched as ‘authentic’ experiences. One way to do this is to choose to stay in a rental apartment as opposed to, say, a hotel. But as a visitor is it ever really possible to have true local experiences, and more importantly – why exactly do we want to have local experiences – what are we after?
In March I arrive in Berlin with my good friend, colleague, and fellow career breaker turned travel writer – Lisa Lubin. We will be staying in Berlin in an apartment provided by my friends at Go With Oh and Living la Vida Local! For the entire month of March, we will be living in this Oh-Berlin Friedrichshain apartment as we throw ourselves into tackling the pressing questions at the heart of the experiment: what does it mean, practically, to live like a local? Is it attainable, and if so, how? Do people actually want realistic travel experiences? Does staying in a rental apartment make it easier or more difficult to achieve?
In order to research these questions, Lisa and I will be taking language lessons, enrolling in neighborhood yoga classes, biking around the city, exploring neighborhoods with locals, and trying to ultimately establish some sort of routine to ‘fit in’ - if that’s possible. We will also be throwing dinner parties to meet with other locals and Berlin bloggers/writers to gather their opinions on the subject of living local and local travel.
In the process Go with Oh will be collecting all of our data we gather daily in journals and sharing them with the ‘scientific community’ – YOU! If you’d like to follow the experiment live then you’ll want to bookmark this virtual lab they’ve put together.
Other ways to follow along:
- Follow and add your opinion to the hashtag #GWOlocal on twitter
- Facebook pages where we will be posting photos and updates from our experiments in Berlin:
- Plus – check out and enter the Go with Oh Facebook competition they are running in order to win your very own weekend for two in Berlin. I’ll even provide some ‘local tips’ if you win!
Living la Vida Local – Read this to learn more on what it’s all about
This topic is certainly not new to me – I have covered this ‘local travel trend’ experience before – but not quite in this depth. However if you’d like to read my past articles focusing on local experiences traveling the check these out:
How to Fit in Like a Local in Barcelona
Apartments for Extended Travel
Experiencing a Local Tango Culture in Buenos Aires
Local Markets in Istanbul
A Day with Albert
Eating Local in New York City
Not For Tourists Luau
Disclosure: The Living la Vida Local experiment is in partnership with Go with Oh. However all opinions expressed are my own.