Just a Local

Local. Such a loaded word. When you’re away everyone wants to be one, and yet it can be such a derogatory term for a place’s natives.  Having just used my local status to boast “intimate knowledge” for a research position, I decided it was time to tackle the term. By the time I was done spending a couple months on an island in the South Pacific, it was a given assumption that I lived there. Now, I like to chalk this up to my islandy tan, but really I think I was asked for directions daily, because I was alone and look like a friendly white girl to the tourists.

So, while the weather is warming up and you’re starting to think about getting out, adventuring this beautiful planet this summer, here are 5 tips to helping you fit in local-style. (I’m really starting to like the list of 5 theme.)

1. Get serious with the sunscreen… honestly.

I know the goal is, “let’s get as tan as inhumanly possible in the next six days and everyone will think we spend our lives perpetually exiting the beach” … nothing screams Ima tourist like the toasted crisp of a, “I clearly don’t live here… no, don’t touch me, it hurts” sunburn. So, shed some sun love to the sunscreen.

2. Keep Calm and Carry On

Listen, when vacationing… or going anywhere new for that matter, the best bet is to relax. You went away to run from daily stress didn’t you?

Trust me, we’ve all been in colorful, sticky situations—I sprinted the entirety of Ronald Regan Airport last Thanksgiving in high-heel boots, the result of wearing the largest items I had to pack in my attempt at sticking it to the airline industry and only taking a carry-on fo’ freeee. I arrived at the gate roughly 6 seconds before they closed the door, to a cohort of Flight Attendants gesturing like Umpires, yelling, “Safe” as I was breathlessly collapsing on that gross blue airport carpet trying to explain that there was a slower, old couple stuck on the escalator, still coming in hot behind me…

Just swing with it. Inevitably something is going wrong. It just is. Period… Accept that and move on. It’s most likely out of your control, so keep it together and plot your next move.

3. Enjoy the local cuisine

You didn’t go somewhere exotic, or not, to eat the same thing you live off-of at home. I know there is some comfort in things that are familiar but life is for exploring…

4.  Normal attire, please

I don’t know what it is about traveling that people bring out their quirkiest apparel. Maybe it’s just that vacation days consist of a whole slew of unknowns so one’s adventuring outfit must accommodate for every conceivable excursion be it shopping followed immediately by climbing Mount Everest.

Mix that with copious amounts of walking and the result is hideous and interesting compilations of mismatched pieces that have become a Halloween icon of mockery. Keep is simple and classy like these:

Dresses. Rompers. Stripes… and well anything comfy and normal.  Stripes are my favorite.

5. The too many photo faceoff

While trying to come up with a #5, I ended up square in the middle of a conversation about whether taking too many photos makes you look like a tool but is ultimately worth it in the end

So, are the pictures worth a thousand words and really capturing a moment that you’ll want to treasure? Or, is your incessant shutter snapping simply an effort to prove your level of awesomeness. If your first thought after taking said photo is wait until the facebook comments roll in on this bad boy then, you might be taking photos for everyone else.

On the flipside, I never take enough photos.  I always count on that one friend who takes too many pictures and makes you feel a little embarrassed to be with in public.  Those moments, the constant capturing of this is what I actually did my trip mixed with the touristiest moments seem to make the BEST photos. I am convinced!

So, for this one: Own it! Take too many pictures and make a total ass of yourself, just be able to back it up when the cute bartender says, “oh yea, I saw you out there with that statue…” Totally worth it in the end!

**this piece counts for when at home too- we take our daily lives for granted and wait for special moments to takes photos. That’s bull: the world is beautiful, and life is for living so once in a while remember to capture a glimpse of it that you can hold onto.

Do you have any tips for being “Just A Local” on your next vaca? Please tell me in the comments below.
Til Next Time,



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