Tale: the traveler and the tourist

A long time ago, there were two old friends who just loved to get into any adventure. They have always been playmates. This went on when they grew up together. And then, just one day, they both decided to go far east and explore what it was there to explore. And so they both packed up and left their homes and started their way. After years of going around, one friend went back home as it was all exhausting, and that it was time to rest at home, while the other friend stayed and lived a different kind of life. 


Both a traveler and a tourist go to different places. Both have the ability to search and find. They seek for something new. They capture every trip with good memories. It’s all about moving and looking around. But how are they different?

To most, the word traveler gives an abstract picture of going on a trip. It’s rather less accommodated by most as the term tourist sounds more concrete. One would picture a tourist with pieces of luggage,  a map, a plane ticket, a camera, and all that anyone could think of. It’s rather more integrated in common parlance. Traveler even sounds a little funny when brought into conversations.

Actually, there isn’t much of a difference. There is the longing for a new place to discover. The difference comes in the intent in discovering.

A tourist would book a flight, schedule a tour package, purchase the necessities, take many pictures, get an itinerary, and would usually have due dates. It’s all set. It’s all packed. However, a traveler wouldn’t mind the little details of the trip. He or she would just carry a backpack and move on with the trip. It’s rather random, instinctual, and felt. It may be unplanned, yet it’s fixed technically.

A tourist would learn a language beforehand. A traveler would understand and use the language while on the trip.

A tourist would be so particular about the food and would rather aim for what is safe to eat. A traveler would rather try out what is ordinarily eaten, even the most exotic there is.

A tourist would speak with a native as though asking a professor in class. A traveler would delve into an enriching conversation with the people, old and young alike.

A tourist would stare and take pictures of an event, a fiesta or ritual done. A travel would get into the activity and feel how it is to do such.

A tourist would look forward going back to a hotel room. A traveler would stay up all night to relish every moment there is.

A tourist would frown upon what may seem not so good, say some dirty streets or pungent food. A traveler would be so curious beyond anything about how the lives are lived in these dirty streets.

A tourist sets himself or herself apart from the community, not departing one’s own identity. A traveler meshes with what he or she sees and plunges into the culture, the happenings, the commotion even, the celebrations, the performances.

A tourist would be so cautious of so many things: time, things and possession, passport, money. A traveler would just be drifting from one place to another thinking of so many things he or she has as secondary to his desire to explore and discover.

A tourist would just be there to find out. A traveler on the other hand would EXPERIENCE.

Next time one ought to go on a trip, he or she must figure out which in the tale is he or she.


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