My need to live as a local and my secret to make It happen

Homemade Spritz with my WorkAway host... life doesn't get more local than this.
I have a problem with the unknown. You might think that a traveler is ready and prepare to live a life full of new things and to have an open world that delivers surprises non stop. 

A traveler might, but I’m not that kind of traveler. I enjoy routine. What?! That’s outrageous. Yes, I do. I love routine. I like to establish patterns of activities and stick to them. That is why I prefer long stays in the same city. It gives me the possibility to develop a way of going around things without losing my mind in the permanent discovery of everything. 

Disclosure: I love to discover, I love to get lost (and it’s super easy because I don’t have a phone where I can carry maps, so being lost is a way of living right now), I love to meet new people and to participate in fun activities that only exist in the place that I am visiting. I love all of that, so that makes me a good traveler. The situation starts to get complicated because I love other things too. 

I love to wake up very late, which can be a problem if I want to do activities that are only during the morning or if I’m visiting for just 2 days because I will want to make the most out of my trip. So no sleeping until 11

I prefer to write at night, but if I’m in a hostel, that is an issue for the people around me. They want to sleep and they have the priority, of course. My challenge is to look for another way to do my job without giving a hard time to others and without losing my inspiration mood. 

I loooooooooooooooove to watch YouTube videos and series. But how can you squeeze an Orange is the new black marathon if your day is full of sightseeing and drunk poetry sessions at bars? (Drunk poetry sessions at bars is the best, nevermind). 

If I decide to stay one month in a city, then I can have It all. I will meet new people, see new places, try new food, and at the same time I will have my House of cards marathons, lazy days in bed, homemade pedicures and extra long writing sessions. I will go to the park just to read for hours and I won’t feel like I am missing the city. Because I have the time. And I will wake up very early on those days where I have something extra fun happening in the morning. It won’t kill me because it’s an exception. 

To live like a local I like to walk around my new neighborhood (whether is a rented place or if I’m doing a work exchange) to find the markets and the spots that are the closest to me and that will give all that I need. Cheap food, bars with the same few drunk old guys every day, a place where they can dye my shoes because I want them black now, a library to go to work if it’s too hot inside... You get me. Local normal life. 

Then I will use my 2 favorite platforms to meet people: Couchsurfing and Meetup

Couchsurfing is more focus on traveling and activities that a visitor might enjoy doing. Going to day trips, meeting for drinks, walk around new neighborhoods (I have shown people around my own neighborhood in Santiago and they loved It). It’s just the perfect way to meet locals. 

I took this gorgeous girls to a walk around my neighborhood in Santiago. 

You can also meet travelers and explore the same places that you have been dreaming to visit together. 

Meetup, on the other hand, is mostly local activities. It’s so local that sometimes I feel guilty to use It because I know that I will be a part of that group just once or maybe twice, and they are looking to have solid communities to create and connect with. But I still do It. 

Through Meetup I have done the most fun things: 

Meeting single people in New York. I went twice. First to a bar crawling and then to the Highline. I didn’t hook up with anyone (bummer), but I had a lot of fun. It was in this context, at a bar in Brooklyn, when I found out about my doppelganger. A woman from Colombia, also named Luisa that worked as a bartender in a place that this girl couldn’t remember the name. She said that we were identical. I always wanted to look for her, but never did. Maybe one day... Probably not. 

Photowalks. I have participated in several photowalks. You take your camera and walk around for some parts of the city that you would never get to visit other way because they are outside of the touristy path. I did this in New York and in London and I will do It again here in Madrid. Local photographers having fun and taking good pictures around the city. Count me in. 

Tulips in Central Park during a photowalk.

Meditations. I have participated in meditation sessions in NYC and Madrid. Both times they were absolutely great for me. I have a hard time meditating by myself, so It’s good to be able to have a group. 

Conversations. I went to group discussions about Happiness while in NYC. Although I didn’t like them, still a cool experience to have as a memory. 

Workshops. I went to a photography workshop in NYC. I paid 40 dollars for 1 entire day of lessons in which I learned about techniques to shoot in studio, on the street, with models, interiors, etc. We had breakfast and lunch... All included in the price. Amazing. I still have no words for how great It was at a such cheap price. 

One of the pictures that I took during the workshop.

And notice that I haven’t mentioned Tinder. That requires an entire chapter in a book about local life and men. Stay tuned? Nah, don’t stay tuned, those stories are stored only inside my heart and some group chats with my girlfriends. 

I think I have kind of a lazy lifestyle you could think. I like to travel slow and to have my normal life with me very close. I like to be able to do the things that I will do normally in Santiago. I can not live without that. I couldn’t manage to travel for so long without having the privilege of a routine. 

I didn’t have a lot of that while traveling in Europe because the Schengen visa is a piece of shit that only allows 3 months of traveling. That really killed me. If I’m going back to Santiago in January is because I couldn’t take It anymore. I rushed and now I’m paying the price to be too tired to keep traveling. 

At least for a while. I can’t promise you to stay forever anywhere. Not anymore. Not after 2016. 

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