Travelling is not just to move your body from a starting point to a destination nor only to refresh your mind and taking picture. It is beyond that. I choose the idea of travelling is to share as well as to be shared.
On the journey to my preferred object of interest, I love sharing not just my knowledge but also the information I got about my hometown. Also, one of the main reasons I travel is to know more about any of history, culture and some lists of fun facts of such place. The locals may usually tell you on such things in detail, especially when you travel without hiring any tour guide.
Through this writing, I would like to share a story of how I experienced travel pleasures with the locals in Bali. In late of December of 2011, my office mate, Citra and I went to Bali and Lombok to celebrate the year end. We went there by taking inter-cities buses (including a ferry crossing) without reserving any travel and tour agency. I have not even booked and arranged our accommodation and local transportation there, in Bali.
Long story short, when the bus has just almost touched down the final terminal in Bali, I came to an idea to call a friend, Eric who lived there as a district attorney. No, I have not known him for long since I was just introduced to him by my friend’s friend (it is not that confusing, right?!) in 2010. I told him I was in Bali and had not have any place to stay and did not even have a tour itinerary to do. Somehow, he offered us to stay at his place and even picked us up at the terminal.
Furthermore, he brought and introduced us to his beautiful friends who worked as stewardess. Glad to have even more friends! The girls also cooked us a delicious dinner at their place. The following day, they took us to a bar situated on the infamous Seminyak Beach to have some drinks and enjoying the sunset. Not to mention that the day after, my friends who also lived there, a lovely spouse, Diana and Eko arranged me a dive trip in one of the most amazing wreck dive sites, Tulamben.
What I am trying to describe is that it would be a fantastic experience to be able to interact with the locals on the visited destination. However, I am wondering, “What if I travel to some places with no locals who are friends?” or more specifically “How could I get along with local people when I travel a town or abroad?”
Worry not my friends! I have found a site with a fresh and brilliant idea to accommodate such wishes. It is www(dot)withlocals(dot)com. The Withlocals website is a marketplace connecting travelers from all over of the world with the local people specifically in Asia therefore it is not just ‘another’ tour and travel agency.
Aside from the pleasure, the idea given by Withlocals is very generous, i.e. to help local people in the visited destination, including Indonesia, to have more earnings and in the hope of to have a better life. The concept offered is sharing economy. My guess is that the locals will give us the best offer since we will have their services directly. In conclusion, this is the most fun yet memorable and efficient way of travel you will ever experience.
Moreover, there are three categories to enjoy while travelling, i.e. the EAT, TOUR and ACTIVITIES. Such experiences will be offered in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Wait what? Indonesia? Yes my friend, yes! Our beloved country is in the list!
The website is user friendly. Here is my experience when I accessed it via mobile phone:
- There will be a question of “Where are you going” and when you click it, there will a several selections. In my case, I chose ‘Indonesia’.
- There was an information saying “39 hits for Indonesia”. There will be also a selection of currency. I chose ‘IDR (Rp)’.
- In this step, the information provided are still mixed up between Eat, Tour and Activities nevertheless there is also a menu to filter everything, e.g. the type of experiences.
- I selected the menu of ‘Enjoy Organic Food’. There was a highlights which told me on the location to eat, the duration of the occasion, the number of participants capacity and the information on what is included and what is not. There was also the brief description on who was the host and the time of occasion (i.e. lunch or dinner).
- Having read the highlights, I then selected to book the date of such experience and checked the ‘Private meal’ selection. The published price per person was Rp 144.472.
- After I hit the ‘Book now’ button, I was directed to a ‘Sign up’ or ‘Log in’ menu.
I was impressed with how user friendly, informative and detail the website is. Therefore, we will not be mislead in making a reservation to Eat, Tour or Activities.
Beside that, there are two main choices, i.e. to become a host or a guest. Just remember my words that to travel is to share and be shared. Let’s go travel withlocals!