The purpose of travel: unlearn, relearn, untravel

What really is the difference between tourist and a traveler? The author voices her opinion on the subject, and how to be traveler and not a tourist.


On a recent tweet-chat about travel, tweeple were invited to share opinions about: “If more people travelled it would make for a better world — Yes or No.” To which some one replied that may be there needs to be a distinction between travellers and tourists before answering that question.

Traveller or Tourist - which one are you

The traveller or tourist conundrum has been around and on for a while now. As someone who solo travels through the country once every few months I can attest to it being an oft asked question. To what end, I am still discerning.

So does frequency of travel alone help decide who’s a traveller and who’s a tourist?

What if I am the kind of person – traveller or tourist you decide – who steps into new places be it cities, towns, villages or even homes with no intention of experiencing it through all my senses, almost blinkered? Think of a sudden recollection for a long forgotten diet regime evoking the urge to dab ‘extra ghee’ off from parathas/theplas with a tissue paper! Think instances of shoving camera lenses (with flash) into faces, homes and lives of people met because Facebook and Instagram need to know!

Are you being blinkered

What if I am the kind of person who twitches her face at almost everything during the journey and is visibly uncomfortable owing to unmet demands, being discourteous? Think of the authoritarian tenor and tone used when speaking with locals! Think of the loud complains and never a word of gratitude!

So clearly then frequency of jettisoning off to exotic (and not always so exotic) locales isn’t a pointer of anything. And if a traveller is supposed to be – mindful, respectful, responsible and sensitive amongst other mentionable virtues, it is only natural to then expect a certain degree of ‘worldly-wiseness’ from them.

How exotic is your destination

However, the more one travels the more one finds oneself in the company of a certain few who love boasting about the number of places they’ve been to. And seldom about the number and kind of experiences travel has moulded them through.

Going back to the question from the tweet-chat travel can change you only if you want it to.

But what if the perspective was flipped around a little bit? What if regardless of where we’ve all been or how often we’ve moved we acknowledge that coming from the outside we are all tourists – foreign to the places, culture and people we interact with during that short stint of time?

Litter free places are a reality

So a traveller then is someone who is not only able to enjoy their own experience while on the road but is also equally attuned to the road they are on.

In the spirit of making the world a little better through travel here are a few things to remember:

–          Know a little bit more about the place before getting there. And leave out a little so you can be surprised.

Image Source: www.landscapehdwalls.com

Image Source: www.landscapehdwalls.com

–          People everywhere are just like you – locals can be as cautious or friendly as you are.

Image Source: www.onlinetourismindia.com

Image Source: www.onlinetourismindia.com

–          It isn’t rude to request for certain comforts when on the road. It’s certainly rude demanding it as a birth right.

Image source: www.theblackandblue.com

Image source: www.theblackandblue.com

–          There is never a good excuse to litter. The sea isn’t going to swallow your trash nor are the glaciers.

Chowpatty beach, Mumbai Image source: www.takepart.com

Chowpatty beach, Mumbai
Image source: www.takepart.com

 

–          Some places are built for noise, some for silence. Be judicious.

lets travel

Image Source: www.tumblr.com

–          Traveller or tourist – travel teaches you to unlearn, relearn and untravel.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elita hasn’t looked back since that day she travelled solo for the first time. She has since travelled around India and to Bhutan by herself as well as with groups (making friends out of strangers). For her, writing and blogging about her travels are not only a form of expression to be shared with everyone else but also an opportunity to relive her travels once more, albeit through words. Find h... more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elita hasn’t looked back since that day she travelled solo for the first time. She has since travelled around India and to Bhutan by herself as well as with groups (making friends out of strangers). For her, writing and blogging about her travels are not only a form of expression to be shared with everyone else but also an opportunity to relive her travels once more, albeit through words. Find h... more

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