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Sign me the hell up!

“I’ve been raised by two very social and dedicated parents. They’re the type that makes friends with the cashier at the supermarket and asks them how their mother is doing when they come back for next week’s shopping. Wherever they go, they immerse themselves in the people there - whether friends or strangers. Are they like that because they are well-traveled? Or well-traveled because they are like that? The chicken or the egg? Whichever way it is, they raised me - and it shows.

Although I love solo-traveling, there's something so cool about sharing new experiences with others. Stories live forever if you can reminisce them with friends. I went to this music festival with a group of friends last year, and although our plan was to stick together, we always ended up separating in the crowds because of our very different music tastes. But, every night we’d meet up to go home together and share the wild stories of the day, while eating Chicago’s best take-out. At this point, my life has become like a portfolio of travel stories. To me, one never really knows a place unless you have dedicated your undivided attention to the people that live there. Their tastes, their mannerisms, the difference between their ‘good’ and their ‘bad’. We are all fortunate to live in an age where almost everyone is exposed to different languages and means of communication, and where diving into the people is more accessible than ever. So, I take advantage of it. Whenever I travel, I make the effort of sharing time and space with the locals; I'll have an aperitivo with the old folks at the piazza in the afternoon, always making sure I'm capable of exchanging a couple of phrases after cramming Duolingo. This is traveling to me.

I say: It’s late and you’re tired? Go and have one last drink with the other kids in town! It’s early and you’re hungover? Go and have some coffee with the older folks. I mean, this life is just fun. Sitting down, having a drink, or lighting a smoke while chatting with different minds? Sign me the hell up!”

- Alma, Perú

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