No Traveler wants to be labeled a ‘Tourist’.
When did the word ‘Tourist’ become uncool, judgmental and associated with negative connotations? When did a ‘Tourist’ become the middle-aged couple with bucket hats and matching t-shirts, holding their maps upside down? The young white girl that always manages to find the Starbucks among the local cuisine, with Daddy’s wallet in one hand and a Selfie Stick in the other? The Chinese man with the incredibly impressive photographer’s stance and a ‘I <3 NY’ backpack?
From what surrounds me on social media, it seems to me that the hipster with a beard, a man bun, an Olympus MD and a thousand photos on Social media portraying their incredibly down to earth experience, is NOT a tourist. The pre-med student on exchange, living in a foreign country and involving themselves in a worldly culture from within the four walls of college is NOT a tourist. The 18 yr old wild child on a Contiki Tour through Europe who consumes masses of alcohol 20 out of 25 days and spends each day in a new country is NOT a tourist. And the group of girls ,that look fantastic in a Bikini, are staying at that glamorous villa in Seminyak again and accepted a massage from a Balinese lady on the beach, so that’s cultural right?
I’m a Tourist.
I’ve done the boozy Contiki tour through Europe at 18. I’ve definitely enjoyed a frappe from Starbucks on La Ramblas, Barcelona. I rocked some interesting photography stances trying to capture the best angle of a Yak in Tibet. I have a Fujfilm camera purely for the aesthetic. I love the attention after posting on social media and I own 2 bucket hats.
But I am a Traveler.
I want a real experience. I want a local experience. I want to do something different. I want to learn about people and I want to give back where I can. I travel for beauty. I travel for culture.
The way you travel makes you a Tourist, but the reasons you travel make you a Traveler. So, is there really a relevance to this rivalry between Tourist vs Traveler?