Shop Like a Local

Souvenir Shopping
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(from the NY Times)

Some great advice on how to shop like a local when you travel by Bonnie Tsui.
“I hate shopping, and I’m not alone. The sensory overload, the paralysis of too many options, the stress of haggling — it can all be overwhelming. But when I’m traveling in a new place, I admit to getting outsize satisfaction from unearthing just the right souvenir. I generally don’t look for fancy items, but rather something functional and frugal that’s representative of everyday life in that place. (More often than not, it’s also tasty.) The best way to find these gems, I’ve found, is to immerse myself in a destination and seek out the unusual. With that in mind, here are three strategies for thinking like a local — avoiding the usual suspects to discover something memorable, and well priced, to take home.”

Go to the Source

Kampot, Cambodia, is known among foodies for its quality peppercorns; cooperatives like FarmLink have made it easy and affordable for tourists to buy them from local farms to bring home ($4 for 40 grams of the spice — half of what it costs when purchased abroad). Though FarmLink was founded to help farmers prepare their crop for export, it now offers free educational tastings and tours of its facility, which farmers use to process their pepper.

“Pepper is the No. 1 spice in the world, and yet people know so little about it,” said Christophe Lesieur, an owner of FarmLink, who points out that Michelin-starred chefs are ardent champions of Kampot pepper. “Coming to learn about pepper in Kampot can be compared to visiting a vineyard in Bordeaux.” (I’d add that it’s a lot cheaper.)

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Bring Main Street Back!

What Happened to Main Street?

Main Street

This article really struck home for me.  I was acting as a Local Economic Development Coordinator in a historically economically challenged area of the US.  It became clear to me that the easiest, fastest way to positively impact the economy was this  10% plan.

“So from the neighborhood of Brixton in London finding they could be bringing 60 million pounds a year into this urban district if they could just coordinate a 10 percent shift in how they spend money on food. That is not some hippie, flaky idea — that’s economic development at a time when we really need it.”

To implement a campaign that would trigger an awareness of the local independent business owners and the real impact they have on our communities became a priority. I am not the only one that recognizes this; a movement is sweeping across the planet to shop locally. We are awakening to the value of neighborhoods and interaction at a local level.

“It’s good for me, you and the whole of humanity!”

I believe that the largest factor in any economy is the underlying foundation of mom and pop shops. It is this global demographic that truly supports and drives the world economy. Why do I think that? Because in all the years of watching experts try to fix our economy I have seen nothing but failure. They all talk about the same things and none of it works. The one thing I see them dismiss consistently is the power of local independent businesses. The corner store that employs the whole family isn’t being recognized as the drop in the puddle. The drop is the beginning the sea. Just  like the individual is necessary to create a society so is the drop the essential ingredient to a puddle, lake or an ocean for that matter. It is the smallest component that ultimately has the largest impact in any model. I believe this invisible demographic is truly the largest single factor in any economy and it is being ignored. I intend to change that by bringing Main Street back!

 

Want to help bring Main Street back? Here’s how…

Think a New Economy Is Possible? Meet the Man Already Making It Happen

Pacific Blue Ocean Breeze

Pacific Blue Ocean Breeze

Pacific Ocean

Our road trip begins at the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific blue ocean breeze was calling me! We headed out of Tucson, AZ on Friday afternoon. Our test camping outside of the city was a success so off we go!

We spent the first night sleeping in the car at the Paradise Casino in Yuma, AZ.  The next day it was a short couple hours to the coast!

Once here we did a little exploring around the San Diego Harbor and found this :

Famous Kiss

The Naval Midway Museum was packed on a Sunday afternoon, even Captain America showed up!

Captain America

Sleeping within earshot of the surf was really a great way to get started on this adventure.  We found a tent camping spot at San Elijo Beach State Park. There were a few kinks to work out but it was worth it. We had our first official cookout and I admit, nothing tastes like open fire food!

The morning brought a smile to my soul as I greeted the day gazing out over the Pacific Ocean. It was cool, the sweatshirt really felt good as well as the warmth from the hot coffee on my hands.

I was a little surprised to see the beach dotted with surfers as the daylight washed over the sand. I watched for awhile, it was very entertaining to see the different approaches to riding the waves. I personally have no idea how to surf but I admire the skill when I see it.

I had been contemplating the city life last night before I fell asleep.  I am okay in the urban atmosphere, comfortable driving the freeways and all. It just isn’t really my cup of tea as it were. I wondered how so many people could spend their lives so piled on top of each other. There seemed to be no relief from the flux of humanity, traffic like a wave creating its own rhythm as you travel; almost like the ocean that was so close by. We can play in it, on it and around it but it has it’s own nature and will not be directed by mankind. There is a peace in that; a comfort in knowing it isn’t all up to us. There are larger forces at play in the world.

That having been my thought process I found my answer this morning as I observed the surfers. that’s it I think. The vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean allows the space, the solitude for peaceful living here.  On these shores you see the insignificance of humanity and can converse with your own soul. Perhaps that is the attraction, then again it is really only my perspective.  I wonder what the surfers think?

Enter a Referral to Win $20*

 WIN $20*

Win 20 dollars!

This is your chance to get paid for telling us where to go!

Who doesn’t love that right? GoLikeLocals is pleased to announce a new feature. Just enter a referral in the form found on almost every page and as long as you use a valid email address you will be automatically entered into a random monthly drawing to Win a prepaid visa gift card worth $20.00 USD!

This is our way of saying thank you for sharing your knowledge and neighborhood with the world. You can enter as many as you like so hop to it today! We know that when you enter a referral it is a Win/ Win for all! We want to support local independent businesses and count on your help to make that happen in your hometown.  Your participation creates a Win for the local independent business you tell us about, tourists and travelers , locals and a possible $20 for you!

What we are looking for: the local favorites, best place to eat, best places to sleep etc. It matters to us that all of the referrals are for locally owned independent businesses. There are not really any restrictions on the kind of business you refer to us as long as it is legal.

We always verify and investigate the referrals before they make it live on the site. You can only be entered to win the drawing if you submit an actual ongoing and currently operating local business. We will contact them to verify phone numbers and addresses.

This helps us support local economies on a national scale. We are supporters of the Localist movement, found here, and hope you will also support your local independent businesses. It is said that changing just 10% of your spending habits can change the world. See the Studies here.

Why wait? Here is the form!