Being a traveler, not a tourist!

I often hear myself saying “I hate tourists”, and then I have to remind myself that, wait a minute, I’m a tourist too. But I repel tourist spots, and when I visit new places, I’m really not fussed whether I have seen all the hotspots; I don’t think being in a place for a weekend gives you any real knowledge of the place, and these days, I think of moving to a place to get to know it rather than just visiting it.

I’m not sure what that makes me, stubborn and perhaps a bit of both?

A piece addressing this traveler / tourist difference was posted by Vagabondish a few days ago. Basis that, here are my tips on being more of a “traveler” than a tourist, especially if you don’t have the luxury of just picking up and moving when you feel like it:

  • Don’t visit restaurants/cafes in the guidebooks: try to find your own spot, walk into those small alleys and you may be able to unravel places you will never find in guidebooks because they will scandalize the tourists rather than “guide” them.
  • Try to meet locals: this isn’t hard, especially if you’ve found a place not in the guidebook. Don’t be afraid to start-up a conversation, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how you pass the next few hours thereafter, and you would never read that in a guidebook.
  • Take your time: do not over-plan and put your day into an agenda. Head out, see what happens and don’t rush out of somewhere because you “shouldn’t” spend 2-hours in a cafe watching people in a new city. Why not!?
  • Be open to what you come across and don’t have expectations: really, you will only be disappointed. Be open to doing things you had never imagined yourself doing in your country — legal things, of course!
  • When you travel you can be anybody you want to be: take advantage of that and let go — you will be surprised at what you learn about your surroundings and yourself.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 27, 2007
Category: General

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