From my travels, so far what I can understand is that to get access to the culture, we need local guides, other people to help get in. Observation, text books, common knowledge can only get through so far.
All the good happen through other people.
Concept of access in really interesting. It is something that the other people have, they even might consider it as an extraordinary, however by being kind they can give it to you. Access starts reciprocal process where you usually return the favor by giving the other party access to your knowledge.
I’ve traveled a bit and I was just summarizing my best and worst travel decisions. Most of the worst memories have to do with succumbing too much into my own antisocial tendencies and not getting to know any local people. Locals are the guides, they live the life and they can grant you access to something so authentic and insurmountable that you would otherwise have no way of doing.
What makes access even more interesting is that since everyone has unique life experience, we can learn a lot from just about anyone. And finding that something is rewarding.
Most important thing I feel that has been is the ability to live in the moment, when the opportunities arise.