Adventure travel is an excellent way to learn about the world and meet new friends, especially if it’s through a well-organized community service program. It involves exploring the world beyond your community, learning from your travels and meeting new people. Here are ways that teens, adults and families can maximize building new friendships during their travels.
Develop Interest in Culture
One of the key benefits to adventure travel is that you will be expanding your cultural horizons. The trip itself will allow you to learn about cultural differences, but you can get a head start by reading up on your destination before your journey begins. Whether you are an American visiting another state or travelling around the world, you will become more familiar and comfortable with the culture the more time you spend studying facts about the lifestyle, climate, history and customs.
By learning about the culture prior to your travels, you will have more of a vocabulary to fuel conversations with new acquaintances. They may have annual traditional events that you can discuss. Asking locals about tourist attractions is another way to break the ice when visiting new environments.
Study a Foreign Language
If you visit another country in which English is not the first language, you will find it more convenient to at least learn some of the language for items such as food and entertainment. You may visit a restaurant in which the menu is completely published in a foreign language. While it can take years to learn all the nuances of another language, it’s possible to memorize a list of keywords and pronunciations in a matter of weeks.
All you really need as a base to communicate with people who speak a foreign language is elementary proficiency, which is the ability to express yourself about travel needs. It’s also helpful to understand the minimum courtesy requirements of the culture. Once you’ve learned limited working proficiency, you’ll be able to communicate in a workplace. According to professional linguist Steve Kaufman, if you practice a foreign language 10 hours per day, basic fluency can be achieved within 48-72 days, depending on the complexity of the language.
The more you learn the language, the more you will be prepared to interact with people at least on a basic level. The idea of learning a new language often seems complex until you actually start learning grammar and words. The more familiar the language becomes, the more demystified it gets, allowing you to accelerate your learning curve.
Learn About Geography
Asking natives for directions is one of the easiest ways to strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never met before. It helps, however, to first establish reference points so that you have a more meaningful conversation. Directions will be simplified if you understand how to communicate foreign words for north, south, east and west and have a sense of direction in relation to the sun.
Studying maps is an excellent way to become familiar with a city or region you’ve never visited before. One of the fastest ways to learn a new place is to study the layout of the highway system in relation to natural landmarks such as rivers and lakes. By learning the city’s grid system, you will be able to talk more knowledgeably with people when asking for directions.
Learning about geography ties in with climate, which is an important factor in planning your trip. Weather is another topic that works well as a conversation starter. Asking locals about weather patterns can help you determine what clothes to wear and when to plan outdoor events. One of the most effective ways to gain plenty of knowledge about geography in a short time is to study almanacs or encyclopedias with maps.
You can make many new friends on your travels by first researching your destination and learning about its culture, language and geography. It’s important to understand that making new friends anywhere has more to do with how you treat people rather than how much you already know about their culture. It simply helps build conversations and relationships when you show a desire to learn about your surroundings.