So, are you a traveler or a tourist?
The travel industry is quickly revolving into a culture. Names have been coined from different languages to fit these experiences. You should really look up travel jargon; they make guys sound exquisite. As a travel lingo bonus just for you, prix fixe (pree feeks) refers to something with a fixed price. Haggle only for thrill, but it’s most likely not going down.
How do you prefer traveling? What activities do you engage in when you do? These are some of the questions that are likely to let you in on whether you’re a tourist or a traveler.
Selfie stick versus tripod.
If you’re keener on selfies than capturing anything else around you, you are most likely a tourist. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It gets to others, however, when one feels like everyone should focus their lenses on them 24/7.
I have seen and traveled with such people. “Hey, take a picture of me leaning on the tree using your camera.” Uuuum the only reason I pointed out to the tree was because it (probably) looked unique or something. Not being mean or anything cuz we all have our preferences. Here’s the thing though, if you’re on a trip for photos of yourself, don’t forget a selfie stick. Much better even, walk around with a portrait photographer. Win-win!
The opposite holds. Travelers are always on the lookout for unique pictures and angles. Instead of capturing Eiffel tower from the bottom, for instance, one could find a neighboring building and make it more interesting.
Sticking out versus blending in.
A selfie stick (I’m sorry you guys :D) on one hand and a map on the other, a tourist sticks out like my forehead. There is this almost unexplainable energy that follows tourists. The vibe given is like: “hey look sucker, I saved up enough to be here for this.” Again, not necessarily bad. Well, up until one engages in some socially awkward behaviors. A city is most likely not what you saw on television. If one decides they are going to act solely based on what they read or hears, it’s pretty easy to make a fool out of themselves.
The traveler will find a sari on their first day in India, they will learn how to tie their turbans like locals… anything to blend in. They are living clichés of “faking it till you make it”, since they will appear like they know what they are up to whilst all they are doing is picking stuff up from the locals. They respect social norms, even though these could be completely different from what they are used to.
Spaghetti Bolognese versus tagine
We all have those foods we like almost too much. I can swear on roasted maize 😀
What happens when you go to someplace else with an entirely different culture? Most touristy areas make sure they have what most consider as “western meals” and local cuisines. A tourist will go to friggin’ McDonalds in China! They will probably taste some noodles, and since they do not have that back at home, they’ll crawl back to their comfort zones. Some others will carry lots of soups and vegetables in cans from their countries. I’ve seen this. Once more, this is not necessarily bad. Up until you criticize others for what they eat. On that note, ugali is rich in carbohydrates, provides iron to the body, and has corn oil that has antioxidant properties.
If you’re a traveler, you’ll constantly be on the lookout for different foods. You will enjoy some, and others, not too much. You will also eat something that will remain your secret, cuz it’s a taboo in your culture and/or family; don’t tell your mum everything you eat!
Sight-seeing versus beaten paths
You’re in Kenya for the migration at Maasai Mara, you have no urge to discover any place else. The bulk of that tendency mainly lies on the fact that someone most likely organized the trip for you, and even knows when you should wake up. Not essentially bad, again. Truth be told, there is a form of relief that comes with not having to think about all the nitty gritties of a trip. This kind of thing is especially useful for guys with limited time. There are so many ways one can plan their weekend if that’s the only time they are off work; having someone else plan a trip for them is attractive enough for most.
It won’t matter of you have to work on Monday. A traveler knows they have to visit that hidden waterfall, and still make it back on time for Monday’s traffic. They barely use maps, and most of the information is from the locals.
Instincts versus maps
Maps will never grow old, whether online or offline ones. Tourists love maps. They will ask why “we are we not using the route suggested in the map.”
Travelers trust and rely on their instincts. They know a certain kind of rock formation implies the possibility of a waterfall. They then go looking for it, despite it not being on the maps.
None of these is inherently good or terrible. Travel is mostly about creating memories, and that should be done the best way one knows how. It is extremely important not to impose your style to others, or stand in the way of their comfort. Personal traits will definitely determine the kind of person you are on the road, though it helps to be flexible. Either way, plan that trip or have it planned for you, and make sure it’s worthwhile.
Cheers to fernweh!
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Love and light!