From our varied and extensive traveling experiences, the best piece of combined advice the team at Smiling Albino can offer you is to slow down and interact with your surroundings more.
A frantic trip catching planes and checking off your list destinations, activities and sights as you “do” them means little if you are not enriched by them or feel you have engaged and truly connected with others.
Our trips are designed to be immersive and to gain insight into local culture and lifestyles, so we often end up in back alleys and side eddies where the separation between private living spaces and public thoroughfares blurs. The locals don’t seem to mind a little variety in their daily routine, often breaking into smiles and salutations. But if we think about it, just racing through people’s neighborhoods or villages, snapping a few photos then moving on is all take and no give.
Curiosity is a good tool to discover more. It’s how we’ve found some very unique corners, heard fabulous stories and met great friends. But if you’re going to poke your nose into other people’s neighborhoods, there needs to be some reciprocity. An exchange of information, a discussion or even a trade. If a local is selling fruit or a traditional dessert, try some on us! You may discover a new taste while helping a family send their daughter to school.
Our excursions build in some time to spontaneously explore interesting corners and try a local specialty snack or cold beverage. This gives the locals opportunities to ask us questions about our own lives, and tell us more about their neighborhood and its history. You see more. You experience things that don’t cost anything but a little time. You’ll notice the intricately carved window shutters on an old wooden building or that cool piece of street art painted innocuously on an old wall while you learn about the area from families who’ve lived there for generations.
But, in an unfamiliar culture without a grasp of the local language, it’s not always apparent when and where it’s best to capitalize on these opportunities. Smiling Albino has hosted excursions for over 15 years, and whether it be a half day walk through Bangkok’s Chinatown and Flower Market or a three week multi-country active adventure through Southeast Asia, our guides are really good at knowing when and where a slow-down is warranted. This is where our experience is most valuable. Contact us to help you get the most out of your next Southeast Asian adventure!
There are incredible experiences wafting around out there, you just need a nose for them.