Posted by: Waheeda Harris | April 24, 2012

How long do you have to stay to be considered local?

I have a unique relationship with the word ‘local’ – it seems many people on the planet think I’m local, even though I’m the visitor.

Is it my laid-back spirit helping me go with the flow or is it my unusual name, encouraging many to assume I’m from many places, but not Canada?

I’ve run into this phenomenon in many destinations, and frankly, I like it. Its not a bad side effect to arrive somewhere new and have everyone assume you’re returning home or a relative they haven’t yet met.

Despite my wide range of travels, I’ve rarely done the vacation where I rent a house, cottage, or cabin and set up like a local. But when I saw this sweet rental home in Hopetown, I thought, hmmm, what would it take for me to be considered local here?

With a small population and an intimate community, there would be no assumptions that I wouldn’t be anything but a visitor. I’d be living steps from the beach, in a house everyone knows is a rental property, not staying with my uncle or grandparent or school friend.

But then there’s a moment when someone looks at me, and says – aren’t you someone’s cousin? sister? It happens so regularly, I’ve now got a list of places that I could call home.

So I’d like to test out the theory in a small place, and see what the locals would say. Who knows, maybe I’d be finding my long-lost family and gain a bigger extended family. So would I have to stay a week, two weeks or longer? Until I started travelling regularly, I assumed that getting the local cred would take at least a month or repeated trips to the same place over a few years.

I know is that travelling with assumptions is generally not a good thing, except when they assume you’re local. Only then it becomes a benefit.

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