Why I became a “traveler” instead of a “tourist”!
“Tourist”: a word that has many connotations: “a person who travels for pleasure, usually sightseeing and staying in hotels” or “a person on an excursion or sightseeing tour”.** As I travel, I do so in contrast to tourism and would instead describe myself a ‘traveler’.
I try to avoid tourists. In fact, I even avoid staying in the same accommodation as them. For this reason I choose to stay in apartments and not in hotels and especially hostels. We are not there for the same purpose. A tourist is there to be brought on a tour while a traveler will create a tour where none existed. Thus, tourists follow a well-worn path while travelers will avoid it and pave a new one.
For example, below is a map of a recent trip through Romania, Moldova and Ukraine where tourists fear to tread. The trip was a fantastic adventure, filled with genuinely local experiences. While tourists seek out other tourists, travelers seek new experiences with locals.
Tourists crowding around the Parthenon in Athens, Greece*
How I viewed the Parthenon thanks to a local friend
So why ‘traveler’ over ‘tourist’?
The following infographic sums up for me the differences between the two and why ‘traveling’ is more rewarding than ‘tourism’:
Hanging with local friends in Chisinau, Moldova while learning Russian and Romanian
So do you feel that you are a ‘tourist’ or a ‘traveler’? Please let me know your thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of ‘tourism’ and ‘traveling’ below in the comments.
*Photo courtesy of: Adam Carr, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parthenon.Tourists.jpg