What distinguishes a traveler from a tourist?

For a very long period of time, I had this notion that the one who visit places is a traveler.

And why on earth I would have thought otherwise? because this is what I had been taught as a child and this is what I had listened while growing up from all the people around.

Fortunately, as I grew up enough and started visiting places on my own, then I realized, traveling and visiting a place is not the same.

In fact, there is a tremendous difference in the quality of the experience.

I mean the one who sits at the cliff of a mountain and feels the zephyr touching his face steadily is experiencing the charm of traveling much more than the one who visits a place just to click plenty of pictures.

I mean, there is nothing wrong with clicking tons of pictures, we all do. But it is also equally important to make sure, we are not losing the liveliness of traveling, the opportunity it provides to its explores to experience something original or try something different or learn some facets of life which textbooks can not teach.

A traveler is the one who negates the chances of dΓ©jΓ  vu moment and strives for gathering some first-hand experiences but on the other hand, for a tourist, all the places appear to be the same because they do the same thing over and over again on each and every trip.

South goa beach
South goa beach

So what are some quintessential differences between a traveler and a tourist which can conclude this controversial debate?

For tourists, comfort is an absolute necessity but for travelers the experiences are.

No matter how many stimulated social media posts and articles we see but this can not change this fact that traveling brings discomfort. It surely does.

I mean, why on earth anyone would prefer to travel in a shabby ordinary bus for 12 hours straight on the zigzag roads in Himalaya?

Why anyone would sleep in the tents at the high altitude deprived of even basic facilities?

I mean, why anyone would spend their hard-earned money to fill their life with discomforts?

But we still do. right? And for what, To gain experiences and explore the different dimensions of this planet and nature and this is something we can’t do while sitting at home with all the comfort at our disposal.

We have to come out of our shell and meander into the unknown.

And this one thing distinguishes a traveler from a tourist a lot, because, for the tourists, comfort is of the utmost priority and as per my experience, you have to bear some discomfort in order to witness something which can blow your mind and make you wonder, why haven’t I visit this place earlier?

leh ladakh bike trip
leh ladakh bike trip

Even travelers want a comfortable stay, commute, and experience as a whole but this is not their utmost priority. If they get, that is fine and if not, cool because anyway, their main precedence is exploring the place and gathering some first-hand experience.

Tourist take pictures of themselves but travelers capture the aroma and essence of the place

Since Instagram is on the boom, the people proclaiming themselves as travel influencers are popping out more than ever.

Vast majority of people now visit a place just to have a photoshoot rather the exploring a place.

When I visited the Taj Mahal for the first time, I deliberately and compulsively visited it in the early morning just to avoid the influx of tourists, giving the iconic Taj pose.

On the other hand, A traveler is someone, who is as eager to click pictures as anyone out there but notwithstanding taking several thousands of selfies of their own, they try to capture the place and the uniqueness of it but at the same time, they also don’t forget to explore the place with their eyes. Because in the end, this is what matters the most. What you feel through your senses.

Tourists stick to their usual habits but travelers bend themselves to make the most out of a place

Thukpa of Ladakh, Flat noodles of McLeod Ganj or Naan of Amritsar or the same McDonald’s, KFC, or Dominos?

If you ask me what is one aspect of traveling I like the most? My answer would be traveling gives you a chance of complete involvement in something.

I mean, if we observe our mind for some time then we can’t deny this fact that our mind is like a jumping monkey who doesn’t like to stick to one place. It keeps deviating here and there and eventually, most of the tasks we do in our life, do it without much involvement.

Traveling can compensate this to some extent, while traveling you can be at a place completely involved or immersed by embracing every aspect of it meticulously. Be it food, people, culture, weather, or the dialect.

nag tibba summit
nag tibba summit

For tourists, the cab is a necessity but travelers love hitchhiking.

I still remember the time when I visited Udaipur. The transporation in Udaipur is extremely overpriced and I being on a budget trip had no option other than managing the commute on my own.

Apart from a return bus ticket to chittorgarh, I had managed all the local commute by hitchhiking.

Sometimes, I had to take lift from three people to reach a single destination. But I believe that is the beauty of traveling, you get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

If someone would have asked me to do the same thing in Delhi, I would have politely declined. But here in Udaipur, I was doing all these things with utmost zeal.

And I believe these small little perspectives and behaviors, separate a traveler from a tourist. When you are following the rigidity of a city even at a place you are supposed to give it all and explore, this is a mindset of a tourist. But when comfort and convenience is no more your priority but the experience and excitement is, then you find yourself in the league of travelers.

phi phi island phuket
phi phi island phuket

Tourists visit cliched sightseeing and monuments but travelers always go for the hidden gems of a place

If you would ask me what I dread the most while traveling now, without any doubt I would say, visiting a place filled with monuments and cliched sightseeing.

Because, now I simply don’t understand the idea of traveling here and there restlessly all day long and eventually proclaim that I have visited 14 places today.

But in reality, we just traversed through the places hurriedly, leaving the real charm and aroma of a place behind.

I believe a traveler is someone who goes to a place as a complete stranger but within a succinct abode, it feels like, they have grown up there and have known the people, surroundings, and all the splendid sights and creatures since ages.

That is the main reason, a traveler always looks for the places which are far away from the crowd and showcase the unadulterated view, culture, and essence of a place.

Goat Village Nag Tibba Trek
Goat Village Nag Tibba Trek
A writer, guitarist, programmer, backpacker, skateboarder, and everything else that intrigues me.
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