Travelling to new cities, countries, and communities is an exciting time; everything is new and teeming with foreign novelty. However, I have learned that creating a small sense of familiarity in these places allows for a further personal connection to develop.
For me, I always feel at home in a café (Although sometimes I am in very remote areas without the option or allure of a neighborhood café). When I get to a new place, I always walk around to explore the area and to scout out an interesting coffee bar. While I am all about trying new things, I am also a creature of habit. By having a coffee at the same place every day I am able to form a relationship with the baristas or café owner, which gives me a sense of comfort.
By the third time you step foot in the coffee shop, corner deli, or market, I assure you you will be greeted like a local. So often we travel to a place and never truly get the essence of what it would be like to live there. I have even found that when you return to a shop more than once, you will be treated better than the first time around. This is mostly because people are pre-dispositioned to interact with familiar faces in a more genuine manner. Of course, this is also a two way street, but if you are reading this then I assume you are a respectful traveler.
Creating a relationship with the baristas and the local regulars at a café also shapes my experience in a place. I have had numerous conversations full of insider tips, advice, and stories that allowed for me to have amazing experiences that I might have otherwise missed. These places of familiarity also allow for me to receive a moment of peace.
A few of my favorite familiar places...
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