You’ve finally arrived at your exotic eco-destination! In this second article of the series, “Tips for a Timid Traveler,” you’ll learn strategies to get acclimated. So, forget the jet lag. It’s time to transition to local time and culture.
It’s time to change the settings on your cell. If you haven’t done so already, turn off Airplane Mode now. Because you’ll want to use WiFi almost exclusively, it’s good to get in the habit of shutting off your cell service. Go to Settings, Cellular, off, Data Roaming, off, International Service, off. (These may vary slightly, based on your carrier.) WiFi, on.
Use your lodging’s WiFi whenever possible, and you’ll probably find yourself buying organic smoothies or trade-free coffee at local cafes to grab their WiFi signal. Most places that offer WiFi have a sign in their window, hoping to attract just a little more business. Yes, you’ll lose connections and get frustrated with international WiFi. But remember—you’re at an exotic eco-destination! It’s a small compromise for such experiences.
Basic Local Words
Pull out the phrasebook. Start studying the most essential words you need to present yourself as a respectful, civilized world traveler. Here are mine: I’m sorry. Please. Thank you. Hello. Good day. Excuse me. Yes. No. Do you speak English? How do I buy _______? Where is ______?
Of course, you won’t be carrying on any substantial conversations with these few terms. But you will begin to interact with the local people and start to join in their culture. The exotic eco-destination will more than make up for your language frailties.
Get Acclimated to Local Time
Various theories exist about getting acclimated to your exotic eco-destination’s time. One is to eat meals consistent with local custom. That means having breakfast when your body says happy hour. Another theory is to get on the sleep cycle of the local time. Sure, you’ll need a nap on arrival day, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be awakening to the stellar sunrises of your exotic eco-destination.
Walk the Perimeter of your Location
Use your lodging as the central orientation point to get familiar with your general location. Start at the front entrance. Walk around the block in a circle, returning to your lodging’s front access. Then start again, but, this time, walk in a wider spiral. Repeat.
You’ll broaden your area of familiarity slowly and efficiently this way. Take note of shops, food stalls, services you might like to visit. And you’ll find yourself breathing easier with every new street of exploration. Yet you’ll always have your lodging just close by enough if you need a little guidance or support as you explore your exotic eco-destination.
Study those Brochures
Even if you’ve never been a studious type of person, it really does make sense to skim that handful of maps, pamphlets, postcards, and brochures that the concierge gave you upon check-in. Yes, you’ll discard many of them. But you’ll also quickly identify what in the immediate area is deemed important and entertaining— and the prices. You can then find additional resources at the local tourism information (TI) office. Jot down a list of ideas of what you’d like to do locally so the TI reps can help you design the perfect exotic eco-destination experience.
Ask for Help
As home, you’re the Go To person. You’ve accumulated years of education and career experience. You’ve established yourself, and you’re confident of who you are. Well, now it’s time to swallow a Humility Pill. You’re in your exotic eco-destination because you want to experience a different, more naturally-grounded lifestyle than your home community can offer. Swallow and plead ignorance. Thank anyone who offers to help you profusely. Offer small tips here and there to demonstrate your gratitude. The locals will appreciate it, and you’ll find yourself getting more and more settled in your exotic eco-destination.