Thursday, 9 August 2018

The journey of becoming a traveller from a tourist

“Traveller sees what he sees, the Tourist sees what he has come to see.”

One may use the words "tourist" and "traveler" interchangeably, but to some people in the travel community, these titles have different implications. It's not necessary to commit to one title or another; however, one can choose to be more of a tourist on one day of vacation, then be a traveler on the next.

One thing that strikes our mind is what’s the difference between a traveller and a tourist? Well whenever we think of a tourist we see someone that stands out from the crowd with a camera around their neck or an iPhone firmly out in front. They’ve got a full itinerary, probably a map in hand and manage to see quite a lot in the time they have but barely scratch the surface.

On the contrary a traveller is someone who blends in more with the crowd, makes an effort to learn the local language, takes the time to learn the local culture and history and chooses things to see and do and places to eat and drink that are off the beaten path and support the locals.
Here are a list of few ways that transforms a tourist into a traveller:

Travelling is all about spending a lot of me-time with oneself. Sometimes, we just want to stay in our own company and really feel the true essence of any place we are at. Travelling alone is not just blissful, but it also helps us in truly appreciating a travel destination for its real beauty. A traveller will always prefer to travel alone than with a bunch of friends or family members.
A traveller will always prefer to take shelter amidst the residents of a place they are travelling to, instead of booking a luxurious 5-star hotel. Staying with locals will not only help one in understanding the culture of that place but will also make one feel much more warm and welcomed.

Ordinary travellers are usually the ones with extraordinary ideas. They like to go on adventures that have not been talked about before and fall out of the conventional 'tourist-spot' category. They like to form their own to-do list or just come across a place in their wandering without really having to plan the destinations in advance.

·       Spending more time outdoors than indoors
Staying indoors is a traveller's least favorite thing to do. They like to go around, explore their surroundings or talk to others around them. They do not stick to one place for a long time because they are usually enthusiastic about exploring the area completely before they move on with their tour - be it the local food, or simply a walk under the starry sky!

·       Travelling light
One of the most important things to know while travelling is to travel light. Since a traveller knows that there is no set routine or company, they like to pack a minimal list of things that they will need at all times. This list will mostly include a couple of comfortable clothes, a notebook to write in, a map, a pair of binoculars, a camera and enough money to pay for basic necessities.

·       Collecting tokens from the places one finds attractive than buying souvenirs
 A cup from a corner tea stall or a local scarf from the lady on the street, souvenirs don't always have to be bought. Travellers have an eye for such things that they can collect from different places as a token for the memories they have attached to that place. These hold a special place in their hearts and will make the perfect gifts after they return to their loved ones.

·       Walking more than taking vehicles
Walking is not only a healthy exercise, but is always a great way to explore a city better. While taking a vehicle, you not only miss the little things on your way but also resist the enjoyment the journey has to offer to you. Walking will make one notice the little things on the way, halt at unusual locations, meet more people, and, all in all, make one’s day feel far more productive!

·        lesser contact with friends/family
This is surely difficult to practice but the satisfaction it will provide  with will be unmatchable. Enjoying one’s own company is one of the most important assets to have for a traveller. This does not mean that one is not allowed to miss her best friend or want to share details of  trip with family. It just means that a traveller will create something out of this feeling for herself rather than get upset about not being able to contact dear ones.

·         not trying to create an itinerary
Everything is a surprise and nothing is absolute. Travellers are excited to explore the anonymity of a destination than pre-determine all the details on a mere itinerary.

Nowadays, there seems to be a raging debate about the differentiation between "tourists" and "travelers."

Tourists are believed to be culturally insensitive, unwilling to step out of their comfort zones, and always traveling in packs. Travelers, on the other hand, are lauded for their adventurous and independent spirit, their insatiable curiosity, and their ability to immerse themselves culturally.
In fact, the term "tourist" has become an insult, a way of singling out people who are simply believed to be traveling wrong.

But being a tourist isn't all bad. Considering the way we define ourselves while traveling can help us get the most out of each trip.

- By Bhavya Bhatia

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