Friday, 7 March 2014

A Traveler or A Tourist?

Come on! I am going there as a traveler, not as a tourist,” stated are the words of a friend of mine who left the country for Italy last Friday. When his mom asked him to come back early that’s what he replied with. Don’t know about his mother but I found this statement very catchy and interesting. Thus, have made the statement food for my blog today.
A Traveler or A Tourist?
Tourist” or “Traveler”, generally we use the two terms interchangeably but actually there lies a huge difference between both of these. Take two different roads, one which is full of adventure despite of its unforgiving and inhospitable atmosphere while other is a smooth and most walked on since it is guided by the experience of others. The one who would choose the former road would be a traveler while the one who chooses the later would be a tourist.

Let us try to distinguish between the two on different parameters:

Planning - A tourist always has measured steps towards some set routes. He carries with himself a self-charted-out map. Whereas a traveler cares less for the routes and remains agile enough to change the route even at the eleventh hour. A tourist has planned routes while the traveler wait for the routes to plan for him.
A tourist always follows his schedule religiously even up to the limit that at some point of time he becomes slave of his schedule. He knows exactly where he would be after a week. Whereas, there is no such compulsion with a traveler. In fact, you would find him clueless about his next move.

Comfort- A tourist would care much for his comfort and to attain it, he would not even think once in spending a lot on quality hotels or resorts and also on hiring comfy cabs. Whereas, a traveler would find his comfort under a mosquito net, around campfire and by traveling in an overcrowded public transport. They literally lead a nomadic life during the phase.

Learning- By visiting a nation, a city, a place you indeed give pleasure to your eyes but did your mind get its food? The curious mind of a traveler remains active 24X7 in knowing about the things they can’t see around and want to know beyond what everyone knows. Whereas, a tourist remains quite active with his cameras and wanna capture the beauty of the place for once and all. But isn't this capturing limits the nature for him.

Interaction- A tourist has his interaction limited with a guide. He seeks whatever information the guide gives him. Hiring a guide actually curbs his opportunity to interact with the natives or locals. Whereas, a traveler tries to ask maximum questions with a native with his limited vocab and generally with some unusual yet amusing gestures. A traveler gets friendly and interactive very easily. He tries to grasp each and every minute detail without being a formal questioner.

What Next- Once home, a tourist gets the opportunity to share the pics with his near and dear ones via Facebook, WhatsApp and other social networking site. After a day or two’s rest, they get back to their old life. But you would find the same traveler with a different hairdo, interacting in a strange and broken language that too in a very different accent.

I think, we should earnestly thank these energetic and enthusiastic traveler because they are the one who spot the unknown places and later write about them. Such writings not only acquaint us with some unknown places but also extend our knowledge about what we already know.

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