I had a chance to catch up with Dan Fennessy, Co-Founder of Party With A Local, an app that connects locals and travelers for a night no one is likely to forget. We here at "Live Like You're Traveling" are absolutely obsessed with tools that help us be in the know when we travel and when we're back in own cities, to continue discovering with fresh eyes; and Dan's app let's us do BOTH!
To get all the info I met with THE Amsterdam "local", Dan himself. Actually Dan is not Dutch at all, he is from Australia and has been living in Amsterdam for over 7 years. Having experienced this city as a newbie and then staying long enough to become a local, Dan knows first hand what it takes to acquire the invisible keys to a city... and he has decided to reveal that secret to the world.
We met at Cafe' Cook, a gem of a place hidden from sight just behind a bustling, colorful Jan Evertsenstraat, and a 2 minute walk from Mercatorplein. This place is a tram ride from the center and to be honest I myself did not know about it. It's a true neighborhood joint where you won't only find any tourists but you are probably not going to find too many people from outside of the neighborhood. ALERT!!! This is the holy grail of an eatery for any traveler who wants to feel like a local. It's a really cozy place serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and Dan vouches for the food. Cafe Cook uses local produce serving a variety of updated Dutch dishes, and the prices are sharp. They have a pretty nicely stocked bar and a number of Belgian and Amsterdam local beers.
So back to the business at hand, Party With A Local App lets travelers join locals for an evening of fun, hanging out at a local pub, clubbing, having a drink at the little known lounge and perhaps finishing of a wild night at a super secret street food joint. Of course the benefit is very clear for the traveler, but what's in it for the local?
As travelers we know that our best travel experiences were definitely those that involved meeting locals because that is the only way to really get a feel for the culture and the vibe of a place.
After having one of those great experience as travelers, in a way we are compelled to pay it forward and show another traveler a great time. There are "selfish" reasons too, and that is to make friends all over the world, getting to enjoy your own city with a renewed energy and inspiration, and of course learning about a different culture without leaving your hometown. Think about the best times you've had while traveling? How many times have you recounted stories to anyone who would listen? Well now you will be in the story that your new friends will be telling everyone back home.
How does it work? Very simple. You sign in with your Facebook account, and to protect everyone's privacy, the app only shows your first name. Set your status to what kind of partying you're in the mood for. You can first exchange chats to organize what you'll do, or simply suggest a public meeting place and let the good times roll!
What kind of "partying" you may be thinking? It could be as innocent as coffee, or the kind of night that ends in wolfing down a burger at a secret all night spot eatery as the dawn breaks, it depends on you (and your stamina). Actually, it doesn't even have to be a party, you can get a bite to eat, do a cultural activity, anything really. Dan tells us a story one of the users shared about traveling to Singapore and getting invited to an afternoon volleyball game and a neighborhood barbecue. Fun! (And we have photographic evidence via Instagram.)
There are many stories like this of the perfect travel experiences, but what this app really does is deeper then just "partying." There are tons of examples of true friendships forming and new friends visiting each other or even planning new travels together! It's really about connecting like minded people all over the globe who are curious about the world and passionate about discovering new cultures.
I asked Dan if he had any crazy stories to tell, because he himself is a regular 'local' hosting travelers right here in Amsterdam. He thought about it for a moment then laughed, then shook his head, then laughed again... and then told me a story... BUT! Unfortunately I am not at liberty to disclose it. Though it was fun to see Dan say: "oh... wait DON'T put that on the blog!" Actually I think they made a movie about it... I think it's called "The Hangover?" Hey, you're just going to have to sign up and make your very own Party With A Local experiences!
So who holds the 'invisible key' to unlocking the secrets of a city? The people that live there. Talk to them, meet them, make friends and don't forget to invite them to come visit you.
- Thanks Dan for being a super local and helping us live like we're traveling!
DAN RECOMMENDS IN AMSTERDAM:
Neighborhood eats: Cafe' Cook - James Cookstraat 2, 1056 RZ Amsterdam
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