2010 New York Times Travel Show Blog (Day 2 Video — Farley Panel 2: Revenge Of The Travel Writer)
Actually it was called: “Travel Through the Eyes of a Travel Writers,” but I kind of like my title better.
The above clip finds moderator David Farley asking panel members Tony Perrottet, Susan Orlean, and Don George, how they go about meeting locals in the places they visit.
The common answer? Alcohol. Bars, cafes, art openings, you know, places where social lubricants go a long way in making new friends.
Susan goes on to discuss in detail one booze-free option in Japan called Homestay in Japan, where visitors can shack up with local families and get a feel for the culture from the inside, and an option that is available in many places around the world beside Japan.
David also asked the panel what is the first thing they do when they arrive in a new destination, to which everyone pretty much agreed: walk around. There’s perhaps no better way to quickly take in new sights and become comfortable in your surroundings than to wander around and get lost, hopefully figuring out where you are by the time bedtime rolls around.
A memorable quote that I liked was when David asked Susan what she does to prepare before going on a trip. She responded by saying that she in fact tries hard not to prepare. “If you prepare to much you tend to be let down once you arrive, and your destination loses its freshness.”
Great point, and something I’ve tended to follow more and more as I travel. Despite seeming counter-intuitive, there’s something about arriving somewhere with a clean slate and zero preconceptions in your head that helps you to avoid spoiling the fun of discovering that place.