Traveller vs Tourist

I really don’t like the debate between traveller vs tourist. Unless you live in a country, you are a tourist. And what’s so wrong with being a tourist anyway?

I love being a tourist in my own city. Exploring the places I love, seeing them through new eyes and discovering unknown places. It’s all in good fun. Especially if you are showing some other tourists around your city and get to feel that pride at living in such a beautiful and/or interesting place.

I guess the perceived difference between a traveller and a tourist is that a tourist just goes to see the main sites, take a few photos and tick it off their bucket list. I think we have all been a little guilty of that at some point.

What I have realised is that the more you build up a particular tourist attraction in your mind, the more disappointed you are likely to be; and the real thing that you love or remember about a trip are the off the radar places or the little details like the great sandwich you ate when you got there.

And, oh- the bucket list- another hated term. Life is not a list of things to do, it’s about experiences; and P.S if it is about lists, you will never finish them. The number of places I want to see just gets longer every year, so I know I won’t get to them all, but I’m ok with that.

In the naiveity of youth, I once told an older and wiser man than I that I wanted to visit every country in the world. He told me that he was 50 and hadn’t even seen a quarter of them and he travelled a lot!

I also can’t stand people who count countries. I could tell you my number, and really it’s pretty high, but it’s not a competition. And it’s really not about the quantity, but the quality.

I have been to a hotel near the airport in Finland for 8 hours between connecting flights, but do I count that as seeing the country- definitely not. I’ve been to most of the capitals in Italy, but does that mean I know anything about what it’s like to live in the Tuscan countryside- no way.

I feel like I’m a bit opinionated with this post today, but sometimes you need to be. It doesn’t matter where you travel, or how far from home you venture; it doesn’t even matter if you call yourself a traveller or a tourist- as long as you do it. But only if you want to.

I am the first person to say, I love to travel, but that’s my priority. Everyone has different priorities of what they want to spend their money on and there is nothing wrong with that- it’s your choice.

So wether you’re a traveller, or a tourist, or neither, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a moot point.

Related posts: Sydney vs Melbourne, Australia vs New Zealand, Memory, Universal vs Personal, People vs Place

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