I believe that there are two types of people in the realm of travel and world exploration – the traveller and the tourist. Neither one makes a person better or worse, they are just different styles in which people prefer to experience the world and the wonderful things it has to offer.
So which one are you? There are many different factors that contribute as to what kind of wanderer you are. So lets start with some key points to helping you identify which best describes you.
Case Point 1: The tourist
– Travel mostly during peak-seasons
– Interested more in major cities that offer lots of tourist-friendly activities
– Spend a couple of days at a time at each destination
– Tend to eat mostly at restaurants
– Assimilate with the group in which they travel with (for example, many tour groups have restrictions on allowed ages)
– Tend to stay in nice hotels for the duration of their trip
– Communication with locals is minimal
– Have a tendency to say that they’ve “done” places (which I can’t make sense of). For example, you’re at the Leaning tower of Pisa in Italy, you see a group of people enter the site. They are there for all of 10 minutes in which they pose with the tower, take a few photo’s and leave. Firstly, I can’t comprehend how one could fully experience the location and history of the area for what it is in 10 minutes and secondly, upon asking these people where they have been, they are most likely to respond with a comment along the lines of “I just did Pisa”, which in no way, shape or form makes any sense, but is used a lot in tourist-lingo nonetheless.
So I guess you could say that being a tourist means being more interested in going to big-named places that are well-known for their famous sights – sticking to what is known will be safe.
Case Point 2: The Traveller
– Prefer to travel during the off-peak period
– More interested in going off the beaten track rather than seeing big cities
– Prefer to spend an extended amount of time at each destination in order to get to know the area, the people and understand/become part of the culture.
– Strictly eat as cheaply as possible (sandwiches, granola bars, nuts etc.)
– Tend to stay in hostels or with locals
– Avoid using the term ‘done’ to describe the places that they’ve been to
– Avoid sticking to a strict itinerary and prefer to leave time for unseen adventures
– Travellers travel not just to see new places and experience new things, but to learn (about the self, other people and the world in general).
To be a traveller means going out to experience new things, to find meaning. To be a traveller means to do the in-ordinary.
While there are different styles in which people choose to travel, there is one thing that we all have in common – the time in which we choose to travel. There is no better time to travel than now, so go out there and do it!