Over the course of the year we have stayed five nights or more in just seven locations, one of them our extended stay here in the heart of Xiamen, China. All have been an opportunity to get to know and feel part of a local community, something you can’t do just rushing from hostel to station. You experience how the locals shop, where the kids go to school and how friendly, or otherwise, everyone is. We’ve also managed to get into an exercise regime at the local park.
Perhaps extended stays are particularly important in cities. When we arrived here, it was dark, a tropical storm was raging, and we had a disastrous meal out. But a few days later we have mastered the buses, settled into a relaxing routine of living locally and are greeted with warm smiles as we return to the same shops. It takes time to find your village in the bigger city.
Getting the balance right between travelling and extended stays is part of any gap-year planning. How did we do? Well, Hilary thinks we haven’t done enough extended stays, Roger feels we got it about right.
This is one of our occasional tips for middle aged gap year travellers. To see the others, click below on the link – Travel Tips