A tourist or a traveler
Every now and then a discussion appears, about whether it is better to be a tourist or a traveler. Whether the status of a traveler is something more than the status of a tourist, who actually assigns those statuses and other variations of the same topic.
When you visit a town for the first time, usually you know what there is to see. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower and Mona Lisa, among other things, are a must-see. That is what both tourists and travelers do, because everyone wants to see the ‘best of’ a certain destination. Of course, there is so much to see in Paris that months would not be enough. Would you go party in an obscure bistro in the Latin Quarter instead of seeing the attractions? Maybe, depends on your interests. But does this mark the difference between a traveler and a tourist? Hardly.
Nothing is wrong with the desire to see all the most popular tourist attractions. That is nothing to be ashamed of, and it does not make a tourist less ‘worth’ than a traveler. Actually, the only difference between a traveler and a tourist is the time spent on traveling. It is great if you have enough time to stay in Paris. See the world-famous attractions and museums, but also to wander through St. Germain looking for local bistros. If you don’t have the time on your hands, make sure to see what you came for, both in Paris or in any other city.
A similar issue is counting countries. Young bloggers always enumerate the countries they have visited. But is it really that important? Visiting New York and saying that you have visited the USA is only true in theory. A lot more than visiting one city, however attractive it might be, is needed to understand the culture of a country.
A tourist or a traveler ? Travel and enjoy! Traveling is not everyone’s cup of tea. I met people who had the finances to travel anywhere in the world, but they just weren’t interested in that. Traveling is a matter of taste. Someone likes cars, gold, shoes or other material goods, while somebody else likes traveling. Travelers are often accused of running away from something. I agree as I have been running away from a daily routine my entire life. Curiosity and a desire to learn have always prevailed, and every trip has been educational.
When I returned to Paris for the tenth time, or when I returned to the USA for the twentieth, I always learned something new. I spent more than ten years of my life traveling around the world, and I gained valuable experience. I don’t know the number of countries and that does not matter at all. I keep coming back to certain countries, and some others I have no desire to visit again.
Traveling is life.
When you truly experience a destination by yourself, no one can influence your opinion. Other travelers, travel reports, videos – no one, because everyone forms a unique opinion. Taste should never be a topic of discussion.
In schools, everyone learns from the same book. But when you travel, you write your own book of experience, and that experience is what shapes us as persons.
A tourist or a traveler? There is no difference, as long as we travel.