Category: Meet the Locals

Shetland had been on my bucket list since I could say pony – yes, it’s not the hardest of words, so you can imagine that the islands north of mainland Scotland have been a dream destination of mine for a very long time. This past January I finally set out to visit the islands for a week during Up Helly Aa and came back with a suitcase full of impressions, and a feeling of awe that I initially could not quite describe. I was asked to contribute a story to the Spring/Summer edition of 60 Degrees North magazine which is published in Shetland and captures some of the greatest stories of the islands. In close encounter with the local traditions I started wondering what draws people up north and what the ‘essence’ of Shetland’s island life might be – here is what I found.
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The best way to understand a foreign place as the Faroe Islands it to meet its locals, listen to their stories and learn to understand their way of life.

Lately I have made it my goal to speak to as many locals as possible when I travel, record their stories and tell them back to the world. Through the stories of the people I met on the Faroe Islands I have come to understand a lot better what life in such a place means. A sheep farmer in a tiny village at the end of a long island said to me, over a cup of coffee I had bought in his barn shop, that it took him quite a while to adjust to life in Trøllanes. In Mikladalur where he grew up and which is just behind the mountain, he said, he could always make out the village of Kunoy across the water on the neighbouring island. But here in Trøllanes you could see no sign of civilisation. You were all alone with your thoughts. I guess what isolation is, lies in the eye of the beholder.
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Meeting & connecting with locals are major reasons for why I travel. Here I tell 3 extraordinary stories from London from people who have crossed my path.

When I wrote a little text called I travel to escape reality I thought a lot about the reasons for why I travel. Important things like endless learning opportunities, broadening my horizon and escaping prejudices aside, meeting locals and making a connection with the local culture is a major reasons for why I hit the road again and again. My first multiple destination solo trip after this revelation should be an assignment for Travelettes leading me to London, York and Edinburgh, and while the core task of the trip was to test four locations of the same hostel group and discover the best of each town or neighbourhood in just 24 hours, I made it my personal goal to also connect to some locals.

In London I didn’t have to try hard to get into conversation with people. My assignment, the flashy camera and my weird hybrid Austrian-Scottish accent are enough to kindle encounters with all kinds of people. I’ve picked out three stories from London that stood out among the others and want to introduce you to these three locals who crossed my path.
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