When I visit a place, I always make sure to experience their unique culture. It’s about more than just visiting a museum, an architectural building, archaeological ruins, or even national monuments; my trips are always about finding those wonderful moments which make me feel completely carefree and “at home”. Experiencing culture involves interacting with locals in any way possible such as through simple conversations, small talk, or banter which could possibly be over a meal or a drink – being comfortable with people means you are allowing them to be comfortable with you which opens the gateway to seeing them in a different perspective that makes you feel genuinely kindred with one another.
I have been living in the South of England for the past six years and I have always wanted to visit other parts of the UK, Scotland being one of them which also happens to be at the top of my list. Edinburgh has always fascinated me because of its rich history, culture, and of course the world class Fringe Festival.
Homestay was more than just having a bed to sleep in while I was away, it was a way to allow complete immersion in a cultural background so different from my own, which allowed me a depth of insight into local Scottish life and seemingly opening a new dimension on how people from this culture live.
If what you are looking for is a more authentic and immersive experience then Homestay is the way to go. Homestay provides a comprehensive list of various places to stay with local hosts and is always worth a check for your next travel.
And as for me, here is my Edinburgh Homestay experience.
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How to get to Edinburgh:
It only takes an hour to fly from London to Edinburgh which is what I did from London Gatwick airport in order to have more time to explore the city. However, if you are in no rush at all and want to take the scenic route, trains from London Euston are also available but besides taking more time, these can actually also turn out to be more expensive.
A warm welcome from my Homestay host
From the city centre, I took a local bus to my Homestay host in Duddingston, Edinburgh. Once I got off the bus I phoned Karen to let her know that I would be arriving soon; by the time I got there, she was standing outside her house and waving at me. It can sometimes be awkward to be introduced to and meet new people but when Karen and Jamie (her son) introduced themselves, it was almost like we had known each other for years. There are just those times when you meet people where something seems to click and you are immediately comfortable with each other like old chums free from any pretension or judgement.
Karen is very easy-going and has a fascinating blend of personality traits and I could tell straight away that she would be fun to spend time with as we swapped travel stories and she told me about her adventures with her son, Jamie.
Photos above: Kitchen and Dining area,apart from eating, it’s also where all the great conversations and banters happened. Karen and Jamie prepared a lovely barbecue dinner for us. They’re the best!
After a quick tour around the house and a nice dinner, they gave me a little ride around Edinburgh, including a short stop at Portobello beach where most locals spend their afternoon in summer followed by a trip to the Holyrood Park to watch the beautiful Scottish sunset.
Tour Around Edinburgh
Astonishing and unique are the words that immediately came to mind about Edinburgh as soon as I got off the tram. Edinburgh stretches out over a landscape which is a product of volcanic and glaciation activity with the castle sitting on top of an extinct volcano known as the most besieged place in Great Britain. Edinburgh is a cultural melting pot because of its world class Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I was even lucky enough to witness some high-profile theatre productions and music performances from different parts of the world on the streets of Edinburgh.
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Note: This wonderful experience was made possible in partnership with Homestay.com
About the Writer
Arione Stewart’s passion for travel was ignited when she persuaded her mother to allow her to leave her home in the Philippines and go study for a post graduate degree in England. She then braved the uncertainties of a complex, new environment living in a new country, and exploring a new culture, which has become now her second home. Her feet has been itchy ever since and luckily, being a free spirited person allows her to indulge her travel lust. Always yearning for nothing but a sack on her back and shoes on her feet (sometimes). She has been to over 30 countries and still craving for more adventures. For a long time living abroad, Arione used to dread being asked: ‘Where do you come from?”, to which she learned to reply, “I’m a citizen of the world!”