There are two main mistakes I make when travelling. The first is to think of the world as a huge place with lots of faraway mysterious things to discover. The second is to imagine I can work out the coolest things to do on my own.
Those might not even sound like mistakes, but they are. Now let me explain why.
It’s undeniable that this world is massive and full of mystery. But just change your perspective and you’ll see that just about everything is local, and between us we know just about everything there is to see and do everywhere.
So the lesson I’ve learned is not to attempt to use my eyes to work out what I should be doing in a certain place, but rather borrow other people’s. People like the travel gurus at SLH, which offers 520 carefully selected hotels in more than 80. That’s a lot of eyes in some very cool places!
For curious people who want to delve into the local culture, SLH have created Neighbourhood Guides that are right up my alley!
It’s a simple concept: take one hotel, use their expertise on the surrounding areas they know better than anyone else and share their tips with someone who has no idea. Me, for example.
Thanks to these guides I now know a lot more than I did before. I feel better equipped to give lots of tips to friends who ask for them as I can steal these and pass them off as my own. Shhh!
Hotel infant Sagres revealed the best spot for a selfie in Porto is Dom Luis Bridge. The best time of year to go to Prague is May because the flowers are in bloom says BoHo Hotel. The world’s largest bat colony is at Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin – thanks Hotel Ella. Maduzi Hotel tells me I can live like a local in Bangkok by eating at ‘The Tent’, a collection of food stands that is popular at lunch time. I didn’t know any of those things.
I didn’t even know that there’s a tour with a company called Sidestory to visit the best local vintage fashion shops in Notting Hill. And I live about three miles away. And I love local vintage fashion shopping. And I love tours. And I love Notting Hill.
So while it’s possibly unreasonable for me to be expected to know that the Ock Pop Tok Handicraft centre by the Mekong in Luang Prabang is the best place to learn about silk worms and weavers I should probably have had an inkling about what’s happening three tube stops away!
So thank you to The Laslett for sharing their Notting Hill eyes with me. My ignorance will remain a secret between me and the 200,000 people who read this blog… hmm.
I’d love to hear about something amazing local to you… answers below please.