March 23, 2016Whenever I travel, I’m always curious to know how local people see their home and how they would want a traveler to visit it. During their own travels, Marijn and Willem Maas experienced how much they learned about the history and culture of a place by dining with the locals. As I had a trip planned to Amsterdam earlier this month, I chose a WithLocals dining experience with Lalaine. Before I knew it, three hours and many more topics had passed while I had had an amazing home cooked meal. I really like this idea of WithLocals – it’s surely the best way to see a place! Wonderful Walks are thematical walks full of cultural, culinary and other interesting stops. At the same time, they noticed that local guides and activity providers often struggled to get by as most of the tourists’ money went to the big tour operators.

Lalaine is originally from the Philippines and creates her own version of countless of Asian (not just Philippino) dishes. We started chatting about the language situation in Belgium and how the food culture in Belgium is so different than that from the Netherlands, while they’re neighboring countries. We talked about the origin of the recipes and how Lalaine loves to change them, always looking for new ways to combine ingredients. I think it’s easier to make a connection with a local than with an official guide, for example. They're available as pdf's so you can take them with you on your laptop, smartphone or tablet. And so they decided to start WithLocals, a platform where locals can offer a food, tour or activity directly to travelers.
She offers both cooking workshops and dining experiences on WithLocals, but you all know me by now: I only do the eating part.

I used to have a steady career, but then I quit my job to explore my home country, and the rest of the world while I'm at it. WithLocals keeps 20% of whatever travelers pay to manage the platform, for marketing purposes, to do all the administration and to deliver the customer service; the rest of the money goes to the locals.
They have an extensive list of things to do in Amsterdam with locals on their website, so check it out.

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