Cross with the Locals

Years ago on my first trip to Europe I spent a significant amount of time in England. I traveled all over the countryside as well as spent time in London. Each location had its own distinct personality, vibe, flavors, culture, traffic laws…

My girlfriends and I were nearly mowed down in London (although nothing approaching the pedestrian bowling competitions that are the Roman motorways) while the drivers in the Cottswalds seemed pro-actively pleased to stop for any given length of time as we wound our way through their winding, cobblestone streets. I surmise they are so accustomed to yielding for massive sheep herds on their cobblestones that the institutional concept of time is vastly different from the bustle of London.

I soon realized that we weren’t staying long enough in each location to learn the particular transportation culture of the town. I began chiming “Cross with the locals” each time we came to an intersection. The phrase eventually took on a life of it’s own and began to expand to a far larger philosophy of travel similar to “Don’t be the Ugly American.”

I think an essential element of worthwhile travel is staying local. IE: if there is a B&B and a Hilton, always ignore the Hilton. If there is a familiar restaurant, even a familiar style of food, pass it by. Find the hole in the wall and eat with the locals. You can take a cab from point A to point B and be very efficient with your time, but what’s the point? Buses, subways, walking the side streets, and “crossing with locals” is my overarching travel philosophy.

I've developed this thought further on each subsequent trip abroad. I would love to write either:
  1. A non-fiction travel guide to the world’s coolest places (whatever those may be, according to me); or
  2. A creative non-fiction, essay-style travel memoir.
Regardless of which piece I pursue, if either, it will be titled “Cross with the Locals.”

P.S. When I shudder to see "Cross with the Locals" on the annoying shelf at Barnes and Noble next year, myself not noted as the author and/or editor, I do plan to reference the date/time stamp of this blog in my intellectual property law suit (once I learn exactly what an intellectual property law suit actually entails).

At a Loss

"Get Your Grandfather"