If you’re a frequent reader, or if you just came across one of my previous articles, you know that I share tips on how to make friends in specific cities. But, I never really shared a complete story of how I made friends abroad.
‘Do this’ and ‘do that’ doesn’t really help when appealing to my credibility. It weakens the ethos in my content.
So, I created this post to exemplify the tips I recommend, and to share my personal story. 🙂
Here it is:
Trekking through touristy cities like Cancún and Cabo has become a bit repetitive for me. Knowing that I would be traveling to León felt like a breakthrough because I really wanted to see what the true Mexican culture felt like.
It was really hard for me to see locals. I might be exaggerating a bit, but all I saw were other westerners sipping on tropical alcoholic beverages with loads of sunscreen on their face.
I arrived in León and I knew zero, zilch, zip, nada.
Relying on Google was the last thing on my mind. I mean, I’m here, why do I need Google? The city is literally right out my hotel door, why should I Google the information when it’s already awaiting my exploration?
So, I put my phone away, grabbed a pen and notepad, and I started planning out how I was going to find information out on my own. And, as a millennial, we are exposed to constant technology that encapsulates our mind and implants the phrase, “the world is at your fingertips.” Because of this, trying to plan out my adventures without the aid of the internet was sadly difficult.
I set off into the unknown, beautiful city of León
León is beautiful. The beauty resides in the different colored houses that fill every gap in the streets, luscious verdant trees and bushes that show the beauty of nature, and the divine looking buildings that expose the visitor to the authentic Mexican architecture.
What’s even more beautiful is the sweet, kind, and welcoming people that make you feel like family, and I got to experience it. It was nothing less than amazing. They were family.
It all started with a ‘hello.’
I went ahead and approached a local, who would later inform me of his name, Chuy.
Me: Excuse me, do you think you can help me?
Chuy: Yes of course! What do you need?
Me: I would love to get to know León better, and I want to experience the city as a local.
His face lit up, and he smiled.
Chuy: I’d love to help you. Here’s my Facebook, and shoot me a message if you have any questions.
While it wasn’t immediate help (he was waiting for friends), he gave me his Facebook so that I can contact him if I ever need any information. So, later that day, I messaged him. I asked if he recommends any places to dine or any places he recommends I visit.
It was simple information. But, our conversation diverted into a more personal appeal. I was really hitting it off with him.
We shared laughs and jokes. I was actually bonding with a local in such a short amount of time!
So, we met up one last time before I flew back home to Los Angeles. While he was taking me to the local hotspots and the best places to experience the authentic culture, we had a great time laughing and just trekking the city. But, it was something he said that truly changed my perspective on this local.
He said to me,
Chuy: You will always be my only brother.
He shocked me. A couple of days in this city has already made me a life-long friend. My heart warmed up, hotter than the climate. That simple phrase made me feel like I was actually his brother. Something about this local was fascinating. Nobody has ever made me feel like a best friend in such a short amount of time. He created an environment in which he made me feel like I was at home.
For this reason, León had become my home.
Don’t be afraid to approach locals because, in a matter of a couple of hours, you may find a lifelong friend that was once a stranger on the streets of an unusual place.
If you guys would like to contact him, please do so! Here is his Facebook. He is willing to help others traveling to León. 🙂 AWWWWW
P.S. If you are traveling to León and would like to meet up with the featured local, you will be able to contact him on my “Friends” page that will be live very soon! So, stay tuned!