Was Marco Polo a Tourist or Traveler?
Credit: Y Soy Serious from YouTube
The author of Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer, said, “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun”.
Global connections through the Internet have shortened the size of our world. Traveling from one continent to another is easy and relatively inexpensive. People are flying often. The exchange of experience is increasing day by day.
The words "tourist" and "traveler" are often interchangeable, but in the travel community, these titles have different implications. It's not necessary to commit to one title or another; however, you can choose to be more of a tourist on one day of your vacation, then be a traveler on the next. Considering the way you define yourself while traveling can help you get the most out of each trip. But what is the difference?
To distinguish the difference between traveler and tourist, let's analyze what some bloggers said and take note about their incredible and amazing reportage about their voyages.
Derek Turner from The World by Sea: Tourist or traveler. At first glance, I thought it was nothing more than playful semantics. Yet as the terms have wrestled through my mind, I am convinced the difference is significant. A tourist is a person whose motivation for travel is often to escape. Your aim: to find a beachside resort, or country cottage where for a moment in time you can forget about work and day-to-day stress… just relax. Someone else can cook, clean, and guide you to your daily destinations. But a traveler is different. When you are a sailor, you are a person who sails. When a painter, a person who paints. The term, whether by passion or profession, defines the individual. A traveler is a person who travels, but it is much more than vacation–it is necessity. When you are a traveler, you are blessed… or cursed with a drive to discover.
Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere: There is no difference. It is a distinction used by pretentious people to make themselves feel superior to others. To the locals, no matter how long you’ve been traveling or whatever your mindset is, you are still a tourist. After two years on the road, I’m still a tourist when I show up somewhere new. A better distinction is between traveling and vacation, which is a distinction between what you are doing, not who you are.
Debby from Tea, Sugar, a Dream: A tourist, via definition, is somewhat similar to a traveler. But the connotation of a traveler, to me, implies a deeper intent than a tourist. Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian t-shirts, and white socks with sandals personifies a tourist. The tourist might get the basics down, see some sights, take a few pictures, and go home, experiencing only the surface of a country. A traveler goes deeper. A traveler explores the culture, the people, the traditions, the food, the lifestyles and inner workings of a country. A traveler gets more involved. This is not to suggest that being a traveler is better than being a tourist, as there are some amazing sights to be seen, and I’m sure that many tourists appreciate where they are. But being a traveler demonstrates an understanding of this world that we all live in together.
By the way, there is a subjective status that divides a tourist from a traveler, the attitude of someone leaving home to visit another place defines the difference. Are you escaping from the daily stresses of life? Are you curious to know how people can live in the desert? What is real Chinese food like? You don’t want to hear the beep of mail notification from one week? These are the answers.
You can be a traveler even when you get on a train to visit another city in your country. You can be a tourist when you are lost in the desert. You can even be a traveler or a tourist in your hometown. It all depends on your outlook.