Offer to Help in some small Way

When on the usual tourist trail I often feel like I am not really in the the place. Like I’m in a bubble with a barrier between me and the place.

My son and I had a talk about this isolated feeling. It is easy and comfortable when traveling in a group to create your own bubble. Especially if there is a language barrier. But it leaves us feeling like we missed out on something. When the two of us travel together we try to interact with others, both local and fellow travelers. But with the emphasis on local.

Taking pictures at the Confucius Temple in Qufu, China.
I offered to take pictures of the couple together. Wound up taking the picture of the phtographer and the couple then having my picture taken with them.

Not being outgoing I am not comfortable striking up a conversation with strangers. One way to engage with people that I am comfortable with is to offer to help them. This usually involves offering to take a picture for someone who is struggling to take a selfie or to take a picture of a couple or family group together. Sometimes it is picking up and returning something that is dropped or blows away, or reaching something down from a shelf.

These little interactions break the ice and make me feel less isolated.

Are there things you do to connect with locals as you travel?

4 thoughts on “Offer to Help in some small Way”

  1. Shop local, engage the shop keepers, the bartenders, etc, and immerse ourselves in the locale and try to live like a local the whole time we’re there. It usually works out well. Even with language barriers. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Smile a lot especially if there is a language barrier. I often ssk people if they have lived in the area for a long time. That breaks the ice. Have a few set questions that aren’t too intrusive or threatening to use. “What is your dog’s/child’s name?” “Have you been busy here lately”

    Liked by 1 person

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