Traveller or Tourist – which are you?

I have recently finished the book Vagabonding (excellent read – I recommend it to everyone!), and one of the chapters talked about classifying yourself as a traveller or a tourist.  It definitely got me thinking which one I am.

 

When I first moved to Europe, I was a tourist.  At least for the first six months.  I wanted to see all the popular tourist sites in Prague, I wanted to see Old Town Square, and the Castle, Charles Bridge and New Town.  I did the tourist thing.  I immersed myself in with the crowds, went to the Christmas markets, and wandered through the streets with all the tourists, eating sausage and drinking hot wine.  I loved it!  But I was definitely a “tourist”.

 

Since that time, I have become more of a traveller and not a tourist.  I have yet to become a vagabond (but it definitely sounds like something I want to be!).  I have enjoyed going to places that are not on the tourist scene – for example, when I went to Shenyang in China – it was my favourite city to see when I was in China, but definitely not at the top of the tourist scene for China.  It was a fascinating city with a lot of history, I got lost wandering through the streets, found a great little restaurant selling some of the best authentic Chinese food I had.  To me, that is being a traveller.  Finding places that are ventured to by the locals.  It was awesome.

 

Fast forward to Chile – yes I did some tourist stuff (Santiago – Cerro San Cristobal is the most famous place to see there) but I really made myself go to places that the locals went to.  That includes all the cities and towns I visited, save for San Pedro de Atacama and Vina del Mar.

 

I definitely see myself as a traveller and not a tourist.  I will be travelling to my country’s capital in May, and of course I will be seeing all the major sites in Ottawa, but I am ready to find some obscure places, some out-of-the-way places, and discover exciting things in Canada!

 

So what are you – a traveller or a tourist?

6 thoughts on “Traveller or Tourist – which are you?

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