Are you a tourist, or a traveller?
And more importantly: who cares? It's such a stupid question.
There are people out there who truly believe they're doing their travel in a way that's fundamentally "better" than everyone else, but they're kidding themselves. Really, we're all just out there taking time off from our jobs to spend some of our money – we're all essentially the same.
It's cool to think you're a "traveller" though. There was even a credit card company running a campaign recently with the slogan "Are you a tourist or a traveller?" Because apparently using a certain brand of credit card would be the deciding factor.
And you know when the banks are trying to cash in that this whole tourist/traveller thing has jumped the shark（开始走下坡路，失去吸引力）.
The only difference I can see between tourists and travellers is a fair whack of pretension.
If you take yourself seriously enough to boast of being a "traveller", then there are probably a few other labels for you that are equally appropriate.
"Travellers" are out there though. For those on the lookout, the common, garden-variety traveller has a few dead giveaways.
You won't find a traveller at the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum. Travellers would avoid the obvious destinations and instead plump for somewhere that's rarely visited, and preferably requires a cool-looking visa. That destination might turn out to be rubbish – not that a traveller would admit it – but that's besides the point.
The fact is they went there, and the tourists didn't.
There's a fair amount of looking down of noses, too, mostly at that perceived bunch of "tourists" – you know, the ones who would happily spend their entire week-long summer break getting their hair braided in Kuta and not give a damn what anyone thought of them.
And in that respect, I'm with the tourists. Who cares how you do your travel? It's your money, your time – spend it how you want.
Some people seem to look at travel as a sort of competition, a global amassing of points to hold over others who haven't had the same experiences. There's real animosity from those who don't think other people are doing their travel "right".
I find the whole thing bizarre. Travel is a purely individual pursuit – there is no right or wrong.
Being a writer, however, I do feel an irresistible urge to group people into neat little categories for the sake of brevity, so I've been having a think about those of us that travel. If you really had to group people by their travel habits, I'd say there are probably two different categories out there: explorers, and relaxers.
One's not better than the other. And the two aren't mutually exclusive. Not even on the same holiday. Some people, granted, will always be explorers. Others are destined to always be relaxers. Some, however, will flick between the two within a week.
So here's how it goes. Relaxers travel to do just that: relax. They don't want the hassle of screaming touts and constant haggling and buses that don't turn up, people who can't understand them, and food they can't eat.
They work hard at home – on holidays, they want to chill. So they go to beach resorts and drink cocktails out of coconuts. They book into the same hotel for a week. They go on organised tours and allow someone else to do all the hard slog. They go somewhere clean and easy where bedbugs don't bite, food doesn't poison, crowds don't push, people don't beg, and everything works the way it's supposed to, when it's supposed to.
They can just relax.
Explorers will sacrifice some of that relaxation for the opportunity to find something they haven't seen before. They'll put up with dirty rooms booked at the last minute, weird food that no one can explain, and all the struggles that come with a language barrier.
In return they'll get a sometimes amazing, sometimes frightening, but always interesting experience that they'll need a few weeks at work just to recover from.
Everyone will have their preference. Me, I'm mostly an explorer kind of guy. I can handle the odd day's relaxation, but I get bored easily – I need entertainment.
I don't consider that that is a fundamentally "better" way to travel than going and lying on a beach, though. It's just different. My personal preference.
Travellers, however, might disagree.
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