Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist!

You may ask yourself, what is the difference between a traveler and a tourist? If I travel then I’m a tourist. Well, I’m here to tell you there is a difference. There is more to embarking on an adventure to other country than just sightseeing, buying souvenirs, or sunbathing on a resort. That conventional mindset of traveling only deprives one of a truly exciting and memorable experience. So what is the difference between a traveler and a tourist? Let’s first address, what is a tourist?

A tourist by definition, according to dictionary.com, is a person who travels for pleasure, usually sightseeing and staying in hotels. A traveler, according to my definition, is a person who takes great pleasure in coming in contact with other cultures. A traveler is always seeking and opened to explore some feature of another culture. If that means they have to walk around Granada or Madrid for hours taking in the structures of buildings, trying the local cuisine, or striking up a conversation with a new friend, they will do it. On that note, another trait that sets a part a traveler from a tourist is that they enjoy interacting with the people of another country. They are not afraid to communicate with the locals. Moreover, usually travelers are also foreign language learners due to their appreciation for other cultures. They enjoy preparing themselves for their time abroad because they envision themselves being able to handle themselves within the culture. Furthermore, I would I have to say this is caused by passion for other cultures.

Also, the mindset of a traveler is always to learn and experience what a country has to offer which, as a result, aids in their personal growth. It also adds to their general world knowledge and makes them more knowledgeable and experienced travelers. While abroad a traveler desires to absorb all the positive aspects of a new country and views it not only as a learning experience but all as an adventure. What I mean by an adventure is that they are opened to unexpected events that may occur at any time. They can adjust to unexpected changes, maybe because of meeting new people in their travels or just deciding on a whim to change their plans because they may have discovered something else would be interesting to see or explore. In a nutshell, they are not confined to excursions or their immediate surroundings but journey to a distant land to experience all that it has to offer. With this mindset, you are sure to become a traveler and not the ordinary tourist who just looks at famous sights while taking hundreds of pictures. You’ll be too busy making friends, enjoying a cultural event, possibly speaking the language with natives, sitting on a hill overlooking a city, or dancing with that special someone that crossed your path which, in my opinion, will always leave you with lasting and memorable experiences for years to come.