Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vacation Home Expo returning to Atlanta

The Vacation Home Expo is coming back to the Cobb Galleria Convention Centre in the Atlanta 'burbs, from January 23 to 25, 2009. I attended the inaugural show in April 2008 and found it a useful way to gather information on a wide range of vacation home rental companies. Granted, many of the exhibitors were promoting rentals in condo vacation complexes, which don't quite provide that "like a local" vibe. However, most of the big players who rent out houses and apartments in real residential neighbourhoods were also represented, and there were excellent seminars on the basics of renting a vacation property. For info, go to

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New insider's tour of Madrid, an Amsterdam-based organization that arranges dinners and tours with locals in several European cities, has added a Madrid shopping expert to its roster. Travellers can sign up for a three-hour customized tour with Tjarda, a Netherlands ex-pat, who focuses on boutiques in Madrid's gay village. For more, see her Like-a-Local profile.

Why "Facing the Street"?

I suppose I should start by explaining the name of this blog. Well, I wanted to call it "La Vida Local," to match my website of the same name. Unfortunately, that name was already taken. So I revived a name I'd considered years ago for another blog.

"Facing the street" is my short way of describing a phenomenon I've noticed in many countries outside North America. In Canada, where I live, seats at tables on restaurant patios usually face each other, so the people dining together can easily have a conversation. But in Paris, for instance, many restaurants line up their wicker chairs in rows facing the street, almost like seats at a play. That implies that the passing parade of pedestrians is at least as interesting to diners as their companions are.

In some countries, people leave their houses to see and be seen. In Canada, often, we go out to get lost in a crowd. About the closest many of us get to focusing beyond our own restaurant table is in a sports bar, when all eyes are locked on the Stanley Cup playoffs unfolding on the giant screens overhead.

These sorts of tiny differences in cultures have always fascinated me. And they're part of the reason I launched, which delves into ways people can live like locals when they're travelling--everything from renting an apartment in a residential neighbourhood to brushing up on local current events.

On this blog, I'll be covering news from the world of travelling like a local: recent articles in the media, developing trends, organizations that help travellers meet locals, you name it. So if you're looking for ways to get under the skin of your destination when you travel, stay tuned.