Many of us have spent our summer trotting around the globe. On one recent trip, I was inspired by Robin Rice to consider the differences between arriving as a tourist and being a traveler.
There is no right way to travel; it is all up to you. I have certainly been both at one time or another, although you can probably guess where my intentions are.
A tourist sees a site.
A traveler sees its meaning and feels its history and source.
A tourist meets staff and other tourists. They share stories of other tours they’ve been on and sights they have seen.
A traveler meets local people, is invited into their homes — if only for a short time — and gets a glimpse of what their life is like.
A tourist follows a guide and is dragged around by an itinerary, along a pre-determined course.
A traveler walks the land into the great mystery and finds delight in every small thing revealed in the adventure. And, at the end of the day thinks, “Well, I wasn’t expecting that to happen”.
A tourist checks off their list: “Been there, done that”.
A traveler checks into their heart. “I’ve become richer, more conscious, and more compassionate with every experience”.
A tourist separates themselves through the differences.
A traveler connects through the similarities.
A tourist asks, “What can I get here?”
A traveler asks, “What can I offer here?”
A tourist sees their time away as a “break” until they have to go back to “real life”.
A traveler knows that this IS their real life.
The next time you take to the road, remember that it is less about what you do or how you travel, and more about how you feel about what you are doing and how you are traveling.