Fasten your seatbelts and get ready to venture into a world of respectful and immersive travel. This episodes promises invaluable insights, a fresh perspective, and a chance to shift your narrative from that of a tourist to a well-informed, respectful traveler. This episode is a thrilling journey through the wonders of Patagonia, the art of cultural etiquette, and a thought-provoking discussion on traveling for experiences versus vacation.
Prepare yourself for a feast of cultures as we shine a light on the vibrant world of culinary experiences. We explore how food can deepen your understanding of a destination's heritage and traditions. We share our personal experiences, tips on seeking out authentic local food spots, and how to navigate allergies and dietary restrictions thoughtfully. Our adventures from food tours to Airbnb cooking classes will surely leave you craving for more!
Lastly, we dive into the heart of travel - connecting with locals and participating in cultural activities. We share our experiences of navigating language barriers, showing respect, and the beauty of demonstrating genuine interest in the local culture. Adding a cherry to the cake, we reminisce about our experience attending a Carnival rehearsal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and discuss the significance of mindful and ethical travel. This is an episode packed with stories, advice, and experiences that will revolutionize the way you see travel. So, tune in and embark on this journey with us!
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Get inspired by world travelers Chris and Sara with "What No One Tells You," their conversational podcast. Each episode is a fun chat with friends sharing personal experiences, insider tips, and riveting stories. The show is elevated by amazing guests from Youtubers, ultra marathoners, bloggers, and adventurers who bring their unique energy and perspectives to the table. With Chris and Sara, you're sure to feel a part of the group, ready to embark on a new adventure. Explore the world one story at a time and join the conversation today.
Hey y'all! We're Chris + Sara (or as you know us, Let’s Be Us), a husband and wife digital nomad travel duo currently working and traveling full time with our pup, Kramer. We've always dreamed of traveling full time, and in May of 2018 we took the leap and made it happen! Today we're balancing work and fun everywhere between the Pacific and Atlantic. From hiking and cycling to tacos and coffee, we're trying to see and experience as much of this world as we can! While our home is currently on wheels in our DIY Sprinter van, our travels take us all around the world.Be sure to hit subscribe here on Youtube and follow along on Instagram for more daily fun! Oh, and be sure to say hi while you're here. :)
NOTE: There were 2 speakers identified in this transcript. Speaker separation errors can arise when multiple speakers speak simultaneously.
0:00:00 - Sara
Welcome back to what no one tells you. I'm Sara and I'm Chris. Our names don't sound right. You're saying I'm out of order, just Chris and Sara.
0:00:07 - Chris
So when we were changing our name from let's be us to Chris and Sara, we asked a professional musician friend of ours, really, which one sounds better, Sara and Chris or Chris and Sara? And he said, unfortunately, chris and Sara sounds better.
0:00:20 - Sara
I agree, and that's unfortunate, though, because the domain name for Chris and Sara versus Sara and Chris was Way more expensive. Yeah, but at least my name is not Sara with an H, because that was even more true by a long shot, it's true.
All right. So this is episode four of our little mini series called wonderless 101. Don't still don't love that name here. Fourth episode, but we're going with it. I've got one more episode after this. Today we're jumping right into talking about cultural etiquette and local experiences, embracing new cultures, and this is, for us, why we love to travel and we love the beauty of places, but we really love the people. Yeah, and experiencing the cultures.
0:00:55 - Chris
Yeah, I'm really excited to talk about this, but before we really dive in, we have a couple of housekeeping things that we need to do. First, we announced a trip to Patagonia.
0:01:05 - Sara
Yes, we did. March 15th through 22nd we are taking people with us to Patagonia and it's gonna be Argentina and Chile.
0:01:13 - Chris
Mmm. Oh, we are so excited and it's a. It's gonna be a lot of fun. We led a trip to Iceland last year and it was such a blast being able to travel with people, just in a different country so much fun.
0:01:25 - Sara
I can't believe it's been exactly a year ago today that we were there. We were there this week, yeah, man. So we're taking people with us. Not gonna lie, this trip is pricey. We did the best we could to keep this trip cost down. Unfortunately, patagonia trips were Increased in price for 2024 due to inflation. It's already expensive place.
I don't want the price to turn people just because I know it's a bucket list place. We surveyed our audience and it was the number one place people want to go was Patagonia. So I know that people are interested. It is expensive. It's also physically demanding. It's a four or five on the level of difficulty, mostly because we do a lot of hiking. There's a 13 mile hike and an 11 mile hike. There's also a four mile hike, different days obviously, and there are rest days between them. But do know that if you want to go and you're like, oh, I'm kind of nervous about that, I don't think I'm physically fit enough, like I mean, just look at us like we're gonna make it.
0:02:13 - Chris
We'll make it. We'll make it.
0:02:14 - Sara
If we make it, you can probably make it we will give you guys training tips of how to prepare for it. So I mean know your limits, know your abilities and we'll help you prepare. You've got several months.
But, yeah, and also finding flights down to Argentina can be expensive. But I've got a whole blog post I'm gonna link down below. I've answered all the questions about this trip from hotels today I'll have roommates, or what border crossings are gonna be like, what airports to fly into and how to save money on tickets. I've put all of that into one blog post. I'm gonna link it down below. So if you still have questions after that, please don't hesitate to reach out on Instagram or via email and we will do our best to answer your questions and help.
0:02:48 - Chris
You'll find everything down below, so I'm excited about that. The second piece of housekeeping is please leave a review for this podcast it's. It means the world to us, but it also helps the show out.
0:03:00 - Sara
It does, it really does, whenever we get new reviews. That week is when we rank in the ratings again.
0:03:06 - Chris
So it just allows new people to discover new shows.
0:03:09 - Sara
Yeah, it's not about the ratings, just about like oh, when they see that people are reviewing, it Must mean they like it, and so they'll push us to new people, which is kind of cool. So, yeah, reviews, ratings help. We'll just get right into the episode. Now that we've mentioned all of our housekeeping things.
0:03:22 - Chris
All right, let's go.
0:03:28 - Sara
So cultural etiquette and local experiences, I mean this is to me there's two different ways you can travel. You can travel for the experiences and you can travel for vacation. You can also travel for work. That's like a whole nother niche now, but I think a lot of people get vacation and traveling for experiences not confused, but they don't differentiate. So there are there's traveling for the experiences and the culture and then there's traveling for vacation, and if you're like us, you typically combine both of those into every trip you do, but there is a difference, and so I don't want to guilt people. If they're going for their honeymoon and their main interest is to Lay on a beach in Hawaii, this might not interest you as much. But if you're going and you're traveling for the sake of you, want to experience a new place, you want to see a new culture and meet some new people, this episode is for you.
Well, and I think, no matter what trip, you're still meeting new people and you're still experiencing a new place, but on a different level well, I'm thinking like what I mean by that is, like you're not going for the experiences or the culture is if you're getting like an All-inclusive resort at an American chain in.
Jamaica. Like you're something, like there's nothing wrong with that, but and I mean honestly, I think that'd be a fun experience sometime. Not gonna knock it, but I mean it's not gonna be the same as if you were doing eating the street food or you were Staying at a local hotel or hostel or something.
So, that's that's what I mean by different. That's that's what I mean between travel, the difference between travel and vacation. But we're gonna talk mostly about the travel side, like the experience, the cultures, and you can do as much or as little as you Want on a trip, but just jumping right in we're gonna start with, before we ever leave home, the research, my favorite part you research everything.
0:05:08 - Chris
I do don't ever argue with Sara, because she will always win. When one of the very first lot lessons that Sara taught me we were, we in our bathroom. We had two different towel racks and I would get the towels mixed up.
0:05:24 - Sara
No, I can't.
0:05:25 - Chris
We were saying yes and she looked at me one day. She said stop using my towel, like it's disgusting. Use your own towel and she's like the best way for you to remember what towels which is Mine is on the right, because I am always right.
0:05:39 - Sara
And every time we have to put something side by side whether it's our ice cream pints in the freezer mine always goes on the right. That's like one of our funny little like. I don't actually think I'm always right, but it's just. We come like this funny little joke with us. If, like, everything is mine is on the right, so I'm always right. Moving on researching I love researching. I think it's the homeschooler in me still, where I just love learning about things and Doing my due diligence at head time. I'm still gonna make a fool of myself. I still mispronounce words and a number of comments we get on videos where they're saying you said that wrong, you didn't do that right, you just you do the best you can that's all you can do at the end of the day.
But researching, you know what is appropriate in a culture like what are, you know in certain countries. Like Giving a peace sign is like offensive, like two fingers is very offensive in some cultures. Dress codes, what do you wear I mean that kind of stuff is really important. Like you don't want to go to, you know, a Middle Eastern country and wear a tank top and short shorts. I mean that's offensive to them just because you're.
You need to be respectful of wherever you're going, because this is someone's home that you're going to, and that's how we always should Remember, like, how would I want somebody to treat my home?
0:06:47 - Chris
Yeah, and most of our audience is Americans.
0:06:50 - Sara
Yeah, we're dressing like Western culture.
0:06:52 - Chris
Yeah, so we're. We're talking to Americans right now and this can apply to to anybody in the world but typically when we talk to foreigners about Americans, the first thing that they say is you guys are very loud, very loud. I.
0:07:05 - Sara
But I sometimes I'm offended by that. I shouldn't say I'm offended. I know what they mean, cause we are loud, we talk loud. But also I think sometimes people get confused with like Americans are really happy too, like we have like this we're unashamed lappers, like you know Asian culture especially. They're very like reserved, even skin and avian culture. They don't really like boisterously laughed Americans like show their teeth and laugh and it's part of our culture. So I'm not going to like shy away from being happy, but you do need to like tone it down in another country.
So like even in Asia, I was really careful. In Korea, I was really careful not to like ah.
0:07:38 - Chris
Yeah, and the best. The best way for you to find out about those cultural differences is really just to ask somebody.
0:07:45 - Sara
Ask somebody yeah, I mean, if you have a way to interact with someone from that that country, like maybe, who spent time there or has traveled there extensively, besides online, just maybe like hey, what do you think of this? Like I read this online, Like is this really true? Like there was one thing for Korea that we read and we talked to one of our friends who had spent time in Korea and he is like that's really dated, Like they don't really actually do that. It was. It was apparently disrespectful if you put leave your chopsticks sticking into your rice, Like that's really disrespectful.
Yeah, yeah and I because I was like learning all these norms and everything before we went over trying to like make sure I didn't show the bottom of my feet, because that's really disrespectful over there, Like all these little things. And that one he was like I don't think that one's really practiced too often.
0:08:24 - Chris
Yeah, so just ask people, ask your friends and and I know Sara said, don't you know, try not to do that. You'll find information online and sometimes, sometimes you have to ask people online whether that's in Facebook groups and that can be a good resource, but there in lies, you don't know. You don't know that person on the other end of the their experiences what their experience is, and so it makes it a little difficult, but you can find Facebook groups that will help you.
0:08:55 - Sara
Yeah, and I would say just be careful in how you phrase the questions. Make sure you. You just have to show respect, Like you, don't? You're not trying to be condescending. Do I really have to do this in this culture? No, just be like hey, because somebody educate me on what the proper clothes like, what it would be respectful for me to wear in your country or something like that.
Just you know, you treat them with respect because these are people and this is their home, and what's unusual to us is not unusual to them and I think that's the bottom line of this entire episode is respect.
Respect. Yeah, doesn't mean you have to agree with everyone and everything that you experience, but just trying to see it. I mean that to me is like what travel is all about. It's just trying to experience a new culture, a new place. And seeing a new point of view Doesn't mean that you have to go and change your mind of who you are, but it means experiencing that and maybe say, okay, I understand why you think that way.
I still disagree with you, yeah, but I get it, so that's kind of what, to me, travels all about is just learning, and I can tell you how many times I've had my mind changed while traveling. It's really cool. So, doing the research ahead of time, avoiding ruchesters, sensitive topics like, for one, we're in Thailand and it's really, really round upon to mention the king, like when we were there, the king actually passed away and then his son was set to take the throne. I think he's since taken the throne, but we were there and the king died. But even then, like it was like you just don't talk about the king because the people loved their king so much, and it wasn't like we're scared of our king, but it's a More of an honor a respect thing.
We shouldn't talk about it. And so our friends were just like who lived in town. I'm like you know, even if it's praise, like just don't mention the king out loud, like just don't do it, so like there's these little things that you got to be aware of and that's something you can totally find online easily.
0:10:33 - Chris
And I think the best rule of thumb no matter where you're traveling, keep politics out of your conversation.
0:10:39 - Sara
But that's not even politics, that was just like day to day. I mean, his picture is in every rush drive.
0:10:43 - Chris
Yeah, yeah, you're right, you're absolutely right.
0:10:44 - Sara
He was like who's that? Oh, that's the king. But I can't say that. So, very like you just want to respect the culture because everybody handles. You know that's a monarchy. It's different than what we have in the US. Your speech is not a thing like it is. That's where Americans I feel like getting in trouble, Like we are so used to free speech here, but one of our good friends.
0:10:59 - Chris
He always he jokes and he says I'm an American citizen, do you understand what my rights are? And the thing is is people think that they can say that outside the country and it doesn't work. You're like, yeah, you're an American citizen, but it's not America and it's. It's a different place, it's a different role, it's a different culture.
0:11:15 - Sara
We need to save our friend here and say he's saying it ironically, like he's making fun of himself, he's not being serious.
0:11:22 - Chris
But we've all seen interactions like that. You just have to be yeah, you just have to be respectful.
0:11:28 - Sara
Yeah, be aware, figure it out, do the most you can, but then today you're not going to be perfect. I mean, I know I've messed up in cultures, like I've said the wrong thing or I've done the wrong action, and you know it's a learning process. Most people are really gracious and they realize you're a tourist. I mean, chris and I look like tourists, no matter where we go pretty much, except for Scandinavia.
0:11:44 - Chris
Iceland. People thought we were locals in Iceland, that's the only place that people thought we were locals from.
0:11:49 - Sara
Yeah, everybody in Iceland speaks perfect English, and many a time people would like start to speak to us in Icelandic.
0:11:54 - Chris
It was really funny. I was like no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, definitely American. Yeah, drip coffee please Drip coffee.
0:12:00 - Sara
That was cool, yeah, so just do your research at a time. You're a guest in their country and treat it like you're a guest in someone's house, all right. So let's talk about the best ways to experience a culture Like we I wouldn't say we're foodies Like we enjoy food because it's a way to experience a place, like I enjoy experiencing a place through food as much as I do hiking, and I think that's such a cool thing to experience in different cultures because the food varies. So let's talk about, like, culinary experiences.
0:12:29 - Chris
I think food is one of the best ways to experience a culture. I do think that, and because it's prepared differently all over the world Sometimes it's about tradition or sometimes it's just, I don't know it can be very, very special and so one of the things that I like to do, no matter if we're in the States or abroad I like to ask the waiter, the waitress or whoever's working at the restaurant what they would order.
0:12:56 - Sara
Yeah, that's always a good idea. Yeah, asking what they would like to what they would recommend. But more than just eating the different foods, like I mean, they're prepared differently. They smell different as different ingredients. Be aware of allergies. Chris has a nut allergy.
0:13:08 - Chris
So you always have to be careful. Yeah, you have to be careful with that nut allergy.
0:13:11 - Sara
But on top of that, it's just the experience of eating Like. I feel like food is very personal. That's one of the reasons why we like it is there's something special about sharing a meal with someone around a table, even if it's just a cup of coffee. Sharing that it just. It gives your hands something to hold, kind of takes some of the awkwardness out, it does. But it also is something like a common denominator.
0:13:31 - Chris
instantly, you're all sharing this one thing together that wall, whatever wall you have up when it comes to strangers. It's sort of broken a little bit because your defenses are down. You're enjoying this good cup of coffee or you're slurping noodles.
0:13:45 - Sara
But you're sharing something, like somebody is sharing a meal with you or you were buying their dinner, or they've cooked for you or whatever that looks like. There's something really special about that. So different cultures have different ways that they experience meals, whether they sit on the floor, or whether they have several courses, or they eat late at night or like whatever that is. But the entire process of food is just so unique. So there's a few different ways you can do that. You can totally go out there, do your research and figure it out on your own. We love just walking down the street, seeing where the lines are of the locals. That's the favorite way.
0:14:14 - Chris
That's the key, especially for street food. Like if you are looking for some good hankering like street food, oh, just look at the lines, see where the locals are. Go there.
0:14:25 - Sara
Go, yeah, and those are the places that you're not going to really find online. It's like some random food cart on a corner in the middle of a major city. Like most of the time those aren't online, but if you see a line there, it's going to be good.
0:14:35 - Chris
Yeah, and I will say this it doesn't hold true always, but typically If you see sort of a hipster restaurant abroad, like if it's good, clean branding and it looks nice, the food probably really stinks.
0:14:50 - Sara
It probably does, I mean sometimes the coffee shops are really good and I don't want to say all their food's bad. But the good stuff is going to be the stuff that you see where the locals go, not the stuff that's catered, maybe, towards the foreigners. Yeah, exactly the stuff that's catered towards the locals Exactly, which is also good, because a lot of times it's the best priced stuff too. If you eat like the locals, you're going to save a lot of money.
0:15:09 - Chris
0:15:10 - Sara
And eating other food besides what's traditional in that country is way more expensive.
0:15:16 - Chris
0:15:16 - Sara
Yes, usually, usually, not always. But so, yeah, you can do the research ahead, you can walk down the street, you can book a food tour. We've done one food tour. We've done just one Sort of two. Our friend Larissa took us around in Brazil too, but we did one in Korea.
0:15:35 - Chris
Yeah, that was a great experience, so fun. It was fun Because in a food tour, you get to hear about the history of the food, why it was created, why people love it, how it's prepared differently. Another way to do that is cooking classes.
0:15:49 - Sara
Yeah, you know what We've never actually done? That We've really wanted to.
0:15:53 - Chris
We did one cooking class in Korea and it was a kimchi class.
0:15:55 - Sara
Oh my gosh, we did. I forgot, we did that we created kimchi and I loved it.
0:16:00 - Chris
I was awful at it. Well, one, I was trying to film, but two, I'm just not very good with a knife and everybody in that cooking class was looking at me like why are you here?
0:16:10 - Sara
No, they weren't doing that, that you were struggling a little bit. I was struggling. I was surprised you didn't lose a finger.
0:16:15 - Chris
The teacher gave me a gold star and I think it was just for participation.
0:16:18 - Sara
She was so sweet. She invited. That's one of those cool things, okay. So both the Koreas are really good examples, because the Korean food tour was from a local Korean girl. So you get, she's sharing her culture with you. She invited us into a market. It's a very popular market, but she was sharing like hey, this is my favorite dish. I eat this all the time as a child. Like you guys need to try this. Like she knew which vendors were better in the market and it's such a busy, famous market. But she had already prearranged everything. She does these tours all the time, so she would go up to the booth instead of us standing in line. She already had everything organized. Like she walked up and got the eight servings for the eight people in our group. Like she already had it all set in. It was great. I can't say that every food tour is gonna do that, but our experience was really good. So she was sharing her culture with us.
And then the kimchi cooking class it was this lady. It was another Airbnb experience and she just literally invited us into her home. So we met at a market. It's where she does a lot of her shopping. It's right next door to her condo pretty much. But she took us shopping. We learned what to buy for kimchi, all the different variations, everything that you could. There's hundreds of kinds of kimchi which I didn't know.
0:17:23 - Chris
But we do now, we do now.
0:17:26 - Sara
We went to the market, we bought it, and then she took us back to her home. We made it in her house we made it in her house, in her home kitchen, and sat around her dining table and ate kimchi.
0:17:35 - Chris
It was such a cool experience and the way that we found these experiences were from Airbnb.
0:17:42 - Sara
Both of those were Airbnb. We've had a few good Airbnb experiences. I wouldn't say it's like I don't know if that's always the way to go, but those were both good ones. I think it's a cool way for small business entrepreneurs kind of to get a start, but Airbnb takes a large cut. So that's kind of why I'm always like yeah.
0:17:58 - Chris
If you do some more diligent research, you could probably find a lot of independent cooking tours or something like that, but those are great options when you go to a different culture.
0:18:09 - Sara
Yeah, and you can read a lot of reviews and this is the food tour actually came recommended by some friends who had already been there and done the exact same one and that was really worthwhile. So food, we love food. We could go on and on forever about that. Let's talk about connecting with locals. I feel like that's kind of what we've already touched on. Just meeting the locals through the tours is a really fun thing. They are excited about meeting you.
0:18:29 - Chris
Yes, and a lot. So when you're outside of the US of A, a lot of Of A.
0:18:38 - Sara
Of A. Did you say it like that I?
0:18:39 - Chris
don't know, I don't know why. I said it up Like. But when you like, if you're an American and you're outside of America and you're in a different country, and you tell somebody that you're an American or they ask where you're from, you say I'm an American, they immediately want to like, they want to talk about like why do you love their country or why are you visiting. And this is like a really perfect opportunity to interact with people because they're interested. They've already a lot of times we don't start the conversation, it's the locals that start the conversation with us, and then we go from there.
0:19:14 - Sara
I think some of that's because you and I both end up in absurd places sometimes, like we just kind of go into these small towns. I should be. We are regularly rent cars in countries because we love driving. But we would. They'd be like why are you here? Why are you in our town right now? I remember being-.
0:19:28 - Chris
We stopped at a rest area in Brazil and it was sort of like think like a low-key Brazilian Buckeys you know, like they had a buffet food court and everything, but it's in the middle of nowhere in Brazil and everybody there was Brazilian except us, and you could tell they were like how the heck did you I should find your way here.
0:19:51 - Sara
But most people are really excited to share about their culture. So when they ask, you say I just really wanted to experience it or you know whatever the reason is that you're there, but then ask what do you like about it? Like, what do you think we should do? And every time people will give you an amazing list of things that you've never found on Google. Because I mean, as much as I love writing travel guides, like a lot of times we a lot of travel blogs we do write some of the same stuff. That's why I try to make my blogs personal, because I want to give people the experiences that we've had, something that's a little different, but even in that, a lot of the same tips could be, you know, repeated over and over. So, like talking to a local, you're going to find stuff that I've never found, like they're going to have their personal favorite spot and it's going to be so cool and so unique.
0:20:30 - Chris
Yeah, and they're going to tell you what's busy, like. Don't go there. That's a tourist spot. Go to this spot, it's even better, or it's you can get through all the fluff.
0:20:39 - Sara
Yeah, they are just going to shoot straight with you. So, that's really cool, but speaking with locals is really important. But let's talk about language barrier.
0:20:46 - Chris
0:20:46 - Sara
you dealing with language barrier Because we're both very American. And then we and we, we stink at language.
0:20:51 - Chris
I try as we might. Yeah, we try, and so it's always courteous to even start the conversation with a high in their language. Hola, bonjour, bonjour, that's a lot of guys.
0:21:04 - Sara
I was trying to think of another high Like Hola, Hola.
0:21:08 - Chris
0:21:10 - Sara
0:21:11 - Chris
Yeah, it's Anyang, so it's always nice to at least attempt to try. I remember being in Thailand and I was trying to tell the taxi driver take a left.
0:21:22 - Sara
0:21:23 - Chris
I was. I tried my hardest and he just chuckled and laughed and he started giving me an English lesson right there.
0:21:31 - Sara
So you sat in the front with him, didn't you? Yeah, I was in the back of that truck, yeah.
0:21:34 - Chris
He started giving me a Thai lesson. He's like no, no, no, this is how you say left and right. And like, instantly, like if you show an interest at all, just a little bit, of their culture and their language, they will take you to the next level.
0:21:48 - Sara
Yeah, they're yeah, just to. It comes back to that respect, like, just do your part, learn hello, thank you, please. Goodbye, that stuff is goes a long way.
0:21:57 - Chris
Yeah, yeah, bathroom. Always try to figure out how to say bathroom.
0:22:02 - Sara
Yeah, when all it tells download the offline version of Google translate for that country. That saves me so many times, if nothing else, like I hate to do this, but at least hold up and like type it out in English, and then it'll translate and hold it up. And usually they're like oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you're talking about now.
0:22:16 - Chris
And they have Google translate. Typically, they'll have Google translate, too on their phone. We've dealt with a lot of people. We've dealt with a lot of locals who do that, and they'll try to translate Spanish or Korean English for us and that translator. It works, but it's not Perfect and it.
Sometimes it's weird, like what are you trying to say? And so you just have to read body language, try to figure out yeah, be patient with them and they're gonna be patient with you. The louder you talk does not mean that they understand you better, and so just get that through your head like, yeah, you're just screaming at them. I, for whatever reason. People think, oh, if I speak louder they'll understand.
0:22:57 - Sara
I'm like I did the same thing to us, though.
0:22:58 - Chris
Oh, sorry yeah.
0:23:00 - Sara
And some countries are much more like. I hate to expect people to speak English, but it is a universal language. At this point, like most countries, when they learn another language, it's going to be English. It's more prevalent in places like Europe, even South America, over Asia. I feel like Asian countries don't speak it as much yet. So I'm due, but it it's a little bit more Behind, not behind, I should say behind.
0:23:25 - Chris
Asia doesn't speak it as Fluently it's a very different thing over there and I will say that as much as we try and we do try Our experience a lot of times in whatever country we're in, we will say hello in their language. They'll say hello, and then we'll come to come to find out. They know a little bit of English and they no longer want to talk in their normal language. They want to talk in English and they want because they want to practice their English.
0:23:51 - Sara
Yeah, and that's. It's always hard, because Christmas I really want to practice our language and you know to try for them, but At the end they're like no, no, no, like you know, english is such a. It's a business tool now business language. They all want to practice it and then it helps them and, like the uber drivers, they get better tips if they have to get English. So we would practice with them and it's actually sort of a nice way to be able to give back like, and just you get to know them too.
0:24:13 - Chris
Really well, and an app that we've been using and I really enjoy is called do lingo. It's free and you can Go and learn whatever language you want from free from your phone.
0:24:24 - Sara
Yeah, that's is a good one. I'm terrible at being consistent in that, but it's a nice idea. I'm aspiring to be fluent in another language one day.
Um so connected locals you could also do like home stays. You could do staying in a local hotel versus an american chain. We've talked about that in another episode of how we often do stay in american chains, as much as that sounds boring. But there's a ton of different ways to connect with locals. At the end of the day, just walking, just make sure it's a safe area, but just walking, just walk around and see what's around and see how the people live.
0:24:56 - Chris
Yeah, and eventually somebody will talk to you. We were in a pub in ireland and people wanted to talk to us there and we were. That's also an ireland pub.
0:25:03 - Sara
Yeah, like they all want to talk.
0:25:05 - Chris
They were all three drinks in anyway this isn't. Oh, ireland, so beautiful.
0:25:12 - Sara
Um, all right, so let's talk about participating in cultural activities. I I this is something that's we've had a few cool experiences. I remember my first experience traveling abroad I was Going into ninth grade. I'd saved up my money and I went to scotland, like that was. I got a chance to go with a musical group I was in and we went to scotland and I thought it was the most amazing thing and it was beautiful and I loved it.
But I remember one night we were walking around and even from you know, or going into ninth grade, my favorite thing in that trip wasn't the tours or the museums, it was walking around the cities at night. I got to go around with some of the older people in the group and Experience it. And one night we were in the small town in scotland and they were having like this traditional dance and so we like ended up in this dance hall, like dancing with these people and it was so fun and I obviously had no idea what I was doing. But I always remember that I was like walking around is the best way to find it, like we just walk by and then the doors open. They're like come on in or I'm not gonna try to do a Scottish accent, but this is the best way. And then, like Rio, you wanna ball.
0:26:12 - Chris
Yeah, rio, yeah, yeah, yeah, so it's walking around, or even so, sometimes hotels or events will say, hey, like there's an event happening. You know, do you want a tour or do you want us to set up a way for you to go and so you can pay for that? And it doesn't have to be a legit tour, it's just somebody getting you to that event.
0:26:32 - Sara
Yeah, which is Brazil. That's what we did for Carnival, like we're not America have used. Carnival is like really crazy, like it is a party, and yeah, it is a party. That's Brazil. In a nutshell, brazil likes to party.
0:26:42 - Chris
Brazil, like they are just happy. They are the happiest people, man. They're just like yeah.
0:26:47 - Sara
They are so fun and they're so beautiful looking they're also pretty. That's just yeah Nice and so sick. They're so pretty.
0:26:53 - Chris
Pasty white and the sun's bouncing off of us, blinding everybody. That was fun.
0:26:58 - Sara
But Brazil. So Carnival is a party. It's expensive, it's really busy. But we happened to be in Brazil right before we were there for Carnival. But we were in Rio right before it happened and we heard I don't remember who told us this but if you're there in Rio before, you can actually go to the rehearsals of the of Carnival Of the schools and in the Samba Drone, which is the where they do it, where it's like that big, I think it's like half a mile or a quarter of a mile.
0:27:25 - Chris
It's this really long. It's the famous one where you see it on TV.
0:27:28 - Sara
Seeing it and they have like the bleachers at the side. But so just to like explain what Carnival is, it's not just one of them massive parade, these are all they're called Samba schools, and Samba schools are very rich and the traditions of different neighborhoods. So it's like a huge honor if you get to be in your Samba schools. Like Carnival performance, all these different schools compete to get in and it's like this huge community activity and then people come from that community and support the people. So during the rehearsal nights, like we went, I think there were three Samba schools practicing and so they were in like they weren't in their full dress up or anything like that, but they were playing their full instruments and they had to walk the full course. I think no, maybe they didn't walk the full course, but anyway they were doing their whole thing. But it wasn't just, it wasn't tourists they're watching. We were some of the only tourists there.
0:28:11 - Chris
Yeah, we were the only tourists there, we. I remember specifically this one Brazilian gentleman. He was speaking in Portuguese and then all of a sudden he looked at us and with the Southernist drawl he couldn't muster. He's like where are y'all from? Like that. And because of he knew he just knew we were from.
0:28:28 - Sara
America. He lived in Atlanta for a little bit. That was what was funny, and it was so funny.
0:28:31 - Chris
But yeah, we were the only tourists there.
0:28:33 - Sara
But what was cool about that experience more than just being some of the only tourists there is that it was seeing the community supporting their community. So they all come out and they cheer. So it's like the sisters and the moms and the best friends and the spouses, other people in the Samba school. They're cheering for them Because to actually attend the Royal Carnival is really expensive and it's just free to go to the rehearsal. And we paid it for a tour guide because we never would have found it on our own. It was like 20 bucks a person but it was totally worth it. She translated, she got us down. We actually got to like walk with the Samba school part of the time.
It's so cool.
0:29:05 - Chris
Anyway, that's a lot to talk about for one experience, but I see all that to say you can get some really cool experiences, you can and sometimes you can search for those experiences you can find different things online or whatever you look at calendars and sometimes that, like Sara said, those experiences happen to you Whether you're walking along the street and you just stumble into a dance or you know, like Sara mentioned earlier in this episode, we were in Thailand and suddenly the king passed away and this was the longest reigning monarch in the world, yeah.
And so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to experience something sad, but it was like the whole country of Thailand, like nobody. We're not gonna be able to experience that again.
0:29:50 - Sara
No, that was a once in a lifetime thing.
0:29:51 - Chris
Once in a lifetime thing, and so that there, when the king passed away, the entire country all wore black. All your clothing had to be black. And then they had these special ceremonies throughout all the countries yeah, vigils, and it was a beautiful, beautiful thing, but we couldn't have planned that.
0:30:09 - Sara
No, it was, but I remember it so vividly. It's just one of those things like being I don't know, just being open to whatever's gonna happen.
0:30:17 - Chris
Yeah, and I remember wearing, we were wearing black clothes. We wore. We went out to the mall the next day after the king passed and we bought black t-shirts and all that and Sara had somebody stop her in the street and said thank you so much for honoring our people.
0:30:33 - Sara
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh man, that's got me thinking like cause these are the memories like I mean the most, just thinking about like the plate, like it's just the once in a lifetime, kind of things. It doesn't have to be anything major, just like those are the moments that stand out the most.
0:30:48 - Chris
0:30:49 - Sara
You really get to connect and, I think, experience the culture.
0:30:51 - Chris
That's when travel becomes human.
0:30:53 - Sara
Yeah, it really is. So we've talked about connecting with locals, participating in cultural activities. Let's talk about to sum it up, let's talk about mindful travel and ethical travel, and this is something that is pretty important to you and me, and it's something that we learn almost daily another thing that we could do better.
0:31:12 - Chris
0:31:12 - Sara
There's always something we could do better, but there's definitely. It kind of comes down to that whole respect, but it goes a layer deeper of I believe that every action has an impact on somebody, whether good or bad, and how we travel is going to impact those people, that place. We hope that our impact is a positive one and it's not just hoping. We try to plan and make sure that we're being respectful, that we aren't, you know, supporting things that maybe are really shady. We're not buying from something that's really sketchy and we're supporting something that's child labor or something like that, and just doing your diligence and saying, okay, what are some issues in this place and how can you be aware of what you're going into to make sure that you are not?
you know, going and supporting a business is really like a front for another thing you know like I can't even think of anything offhand except for, like I mean, massage parlors in Thailand are all over the place and massages are so cheap. But you just kind of get to know the ones that are like authentic and then maybe ones that are more trafficked or prostitution or something like that. Like you can just kind of tell.
0:32:16 - Chris
Yes, and even I mean Thailand's, another great example for you know, uh, or let's let's say, egypt you know riding camels and and people want to do that, but the camels aren't treated correctly.
0:32:28 - Sara
They're treated pretty poorly. Yeah and same for elephants in Thailand.
0:32:31 - Chris
That's what I was going with, yeah.
0:32:32 - Sara
Sometimes and there are good ones you can go to yeah.
0:32:35 - Chris
There are, and, and that's where you really have to take the extra step to find out who. And that's asking locals, that's asking, you know, just trying to find ratings online as well, trying to just figure out who. Who are these businesses? And what is the impact that they have?
0:32:54 - Sara
Yeah, I took a journalism class in college and I remember the building was named after a guy and my journalist teacher asked he's like could anybody tell us, tell me, who this building is named after? And nobody could answer. And he's like this is a lesson. He's like always ask questions, always ask who it is or what it is. And that's always stuck with me. I'm like, okay, I'm at this park right now in Colorado. Well, who is the person that's probably? Why is it called peanut lake that we're at you know stuff like that.
It's probably cause it's shaped like a peanut but you know it's always asking those questions and staying curious, and it's not just for your own experience, but it's also to protect whoever you're interacting with.
0:33:30 - Chris
Yeah, and that's. That's a good role, Just stay curious stay curious.
0:33:34 - Sara
But I do want to disclaim and say we all make mistakes, we're still learning, we've done some very ignorant things and traveling and it's been completely accidental and, honestly, people show a lot of grace. They are really gracious but just try your hardest, that's all it comes down to Everybody's learning. Yeah.
0:33:50 - Chris
Yeah, and so um yeah, everybody's learning.
0:33:54 - Sara
Yeah, all right. Well, I think this pretty much like wraps up. That's a shorter episode. I think this was a good one.
0:33:58 - Chris
0:33:59 - Sara
It's just like, got me excited. I'm like, oh my gosh, this is why we like to travel, yeah.
0:34:02 - Chris
This is like traveling and meeting people, being a part of being a part of cultures. It's just so that fills my heart. Yeah, it does me too. I like that.
0:34:12 - Sara
Let's, let's say real fast, though, that you don't have to go far to get that.
0:34:16 - Chris
0:34:17 - Sara
I mean, you can go. You can go 15 minutes from our house in Tennessee and you can be somewhere entirely different entirely different.
0:34:26 - Chris
And you would never think that no, and go I mean even going across the country. I mean, like, if you're based in the Southeast you know, maybe Chattanooga, nashville, atlanta is your home, something like that and you travel to Seattle or San Francisco or even Denver or whatever, it's going to be very drastic, very different and people like there's even social mentalities for you know what's expected and what to wear. And it's funny because when you start learning where people are from in the States, you can tell, oh, that person's from. You can tell that person you can see it.
0:35:01 - Sara
You can see there from Washington or you can see the from. Kansas, or yeah, there's a lot of flannel there from Washington.
0:35:07 - Chris
Yeah, that kind of thing, yeah, and they're from the B and D, but I mean but, Sara's right, you can go out your back door and then you know, 25 minutes later you're in an entirely different place and it may not look at so different, but it is different, it is different.
0:35:22 - Sara
0:35:23 - Chris
I always think of. I'm a Cincinnati's Bengals fan, yeah Well they're good.
0:35:27 - Sara
now they have a historic thing.
0:35:28 - Chris
They're gonna be okay, but they absolutely hate the. You know Pittsburgh Steelers. It's a big rivalry and, ironically, your dad's a Steelers fan. Yeah, ironically, yeah. So I chose the Bengals because I did it on purpose. But if you were to drive to Pittsburgh, you know, and wear a Bengal shirt, you would probably experience culture a very different way. Same thing for wearing a Pittsburgh shirt in Cincinnati.
0:35:54 - Sara
And I mean like if you were an Americanized version of that.
0:35:57 - Chris
I mean like, let's go on the West Coast, if you were aware, to Seahawks Jersey, to San Francisco, that I mean those are fighting words. Same thing for 49ers in Seattle, like it's.
0:36:09 - Sara
That's a really. Actually I feel like that's a pretty good example of saying like cultures are different and doesn't have to be.
0:36:15 - Chris
I don't know. Yeah, no, it's just, it's not.
0:36:17 - Sara
Everybody does something different. They may look the same on the outside, but they're different.
0:36:20 - Chris
Yeah, yeah. So wherever you are in the world, just be curious.
0:36:24 - Sara
Be curious. Yeah, it should be our new tagline for this podcast. Yeah, it should be Well.
0:36:28 - Chris
We have one more episode in this series, and then we have a lot of fun guests coming up. Oh man.
0:36:32 - Sara
I'm so excited about some of the episodes we have coming up. Yeah, We've got some. We've already recorded some of the episodes and they're really they're interesting. Like it's me, it's us being curious and asking questions and I love that.
0:36:43 - Chris
Yeah. So hey, if you liked this episode or like this show, please, please, leave a comment or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify. It helps us a ton, like we said earlier, and if you have anything that you think we missed and you want to let us know, you can either send us an email, drop it in the comment line and we'll see it.
0:37:04 - Sara
We will see it With you. Your pronunciation, I don't know. You have some A.
0:37:09 - Chris
I'm just trying to prolong the podcast. Just got it All right. Y'all have a good one, See ya. Thanks for listening to what.
0:37:15 - Sara
No One Tells You with Chris and Sara, you have a comment or question that you want answered on the air? Be sure to send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call or text our phone number at 423-825-9572. Thanks for listening.
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