Calling a traveller a tourist is like swearing at them and although the traveller is rarely offended by most insults with their thick sun tanned skin, open mind and sticks and stones attitude, this really cuts to the core.
So why does no one want to be dubbed a tourist?
Is it because most are rude, obnoxious, self-centered and blasé. Or should I say miss educated without the intent to learn?
You see, I know we are generalizing here, however this ‘generally’ seems to be the case. But to be fair, what it all really comes down to is time and money. The two most precious commodities people (tourists and travellers alike) are so strung up on.
You see a tourist is generally someone who is on holiday, someone who has to take time away from their pressuring work schedule to travel and explore the world. This is why tourists have no time but are prepared to spend the money to fit everything in whilst they are away. And because they are trying to fit everything in before they have to go back home to their life of responsibilities, they can too often sometimes be a little bit rude or obnoxious whilst travelling.
Being tourists in Paris, France for the day
Where as the traveller is quite the opposite. The traveller ‘generally’ hasn’t got all the money in the world, but what they do have, that is even more precious than money, is time. That’s right, here is the common denominator. Travellers have time, tourists do not. It’s plain and simple and no matter what, this factor puts it into perspective of whether you are a tourist or a traveller.
The common traits of tourists and travellers are too far from similar. Where the tourist is usually happy to spend time in their hotel, relaxing by the pool and maybe even interacting and getting to know other guests. They may also enjoy the odd cultural cuisine and take a day trip or a book a tour to tick off some of the tourist attractions.
Although a traveller couldn’t bare to do any of these because the traveller is not at all interested in staying at a hotel. A traveller would rather stay with a local, learn about the culture and how the locals live. They prefer to eat local dishes, street food and go on their own adventure to see possibly some tourist attractions but more so take the road less travelled for it being far more interesting.
It’s not that being a tourist is a terrible thing because some tourists actually are respectful towards foreign people and cultures. And although you may not have the time to be a traveller, so long as you are respectful to those around you where ever you may be visiting. Not only will the locals be pleased to accommodate you but you will have a much more enjoyable trip for it.
Being a traveller in the slums just outside of Amristar, india
So please whether you have the money and not so much time, or more time than you do money. Please be respectful to each and every person that you meet along your journey, live in the moment and enjoy every second you are away travelling.
Because it’s not about being a tourist or being a traveller, it’s about being somewhere new. Going somewhere outside of our comfort zone, to push the boundaries and explore wide and far to create remarkable memories. So get out there and start creating such memories that will mean more to you than any amount of money or time put together.