Jeff's Mid-Life Crisis goes Round the World (RTW)
About Me (1)
HONG KONG (2)
* ST. ANDREWS
* FROM TRAVELER TO TOURIST?
* HONG KONG
* BANGKOK TO HONG KONG
* BANGKOK TO PHUKET
* PHNOM PENH
* ANGKOR AND SIEM REAP #2
* ANGKOR AND SIEM REAP #1
* CHANGES IN LATITUDE CHANGES IN ATTITUDE
* VANG VIENE
* LUANG PRABANG #2
* LUANG PRABANG #1
December 16, 2004
Purposes of the Trip RTW
I don’t know if it is necessary to have a purpose or purposes for the trip that I’m planning and discussed in detail during the pre-trip portion of this blog but I have decided to keep in my mind a select few overriding themes and reasons (purposes) in order to stay focused and stay in the game when/if things get overwhelming and I want to turn back.
There is a stupid debate sometimes heard in the travel community as to what makes up a Traveler versus a Tourist. Some people who consider themselves “Travelers” deride “Tourists” as wanna-be’s and somehow not worthy. A Tourist is someone who takes packaged tours, rides around on a bus with 45 other Tourists and a guide and has everything planned out for them. A Traveler figures out independently how to get from place to place. A Tourist goes from destination to destination only looking at the sights and not experiencing the people and the culture, there only real interactions with locals are those in the tourist industry. The Traveler might see some of the sights but is more determined to have a “real” experience with the locals. Tourists have wheeled suitcases. Travelers have backpacks.
Everyone who chooses to take a trip (particularly overseas) has to make a number of decisions; chief among them is there level of confidence in navigating the details of their chosen destinations. Many factors influence these decisions including travel companions, health, money, abilities, age and travel experience. Other factors include level of research and most of all TIME!
I want to be a traveler, not a tourist and one of the biggest turn-offs for me is being on a tour bus for an extended period of time. A half-day bus trip to get the lay of the land in a new city is fine but if I were ever stuck on a package tour with 40 other people and a guide I would scream and probably die.
A bit of an overreaction, perhaps but anyway, back to the debate and where I fall. It seems that many independent travelers get an ego about their trips and their adventures and attempt to separate themselves from others on the road based on their unique (read: better) experiences. I hope I don’t turn out that way; I don’t want to go to a country or city just to say I did, just to get another stamp in the passport, just to make my list bigger (because bigger is not always better). I want to experience the life and culture of many of the countries I visit. I want to touch people’s lives and be touched by them.
I won’t kid myself, the experiences I will have with people and places in many parts of the world will be on the tourist-backpacker trail and most of the people I do come in contact with will be people in the tourist trade. It will be my challenge to get outside that track and try to see lives as they are really led. This is a purpose.
Also, I plan on seeing many, many “tourist” sites in every city, town and country I visit. I will be one of the hordes checking out the Louvre if I get to Paris, I will definitely be visiting Temples, Wats, Museums and other points of interest that thousands of other locals and tourists/traveler will be visiting. This is a purpose.
Anyway, as I said, it’s a stupid debate. I will be a traveler who will do some tourist things.
The main reason I went into such detail on this topic/debate is to set up this Purposes blog entry (some of my readers will probably now say to themselves “It took Jeff this long to set up this stupid blog entry???”).
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRAVELER AND A TOURIST IS THAT A TRAVELER HAS A PURPOSE FOR THE TRIP.
Since I decided I am a traveler, I had to then define my purposes; they are, in no particular order:
· Exploration of my limits
Quite a broad range, some are more objective and some are more subjective. I didn’t realize there would be so many until I put them down on paper. These purposes aren’t very organized and some could become sub-bullets of the another but it’s probably not worth the time to analyze and organize these in a more concise manner, it’s just important for me to keep these thoughts and purposes in mind as I travel and wander and think. I hope the thought of these will keep me on track when things get tough or if I get bored, lonely or sick.
I’m not going to talk about each of these individually because I think I probably touched on each of these items in previous blog entries in one way or another. Any thoughts from my readers or other purposes you can suggest would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you for reading this. I hope to make this blog both interesting and entertaining. Please post a comment and let me know your thoughts, observations or counsel. Hearing from readers and knowing I have an audience is a great motivator and will be a great morale booster during down times on the road. Don’t forget to bookmark this site and tell a friend! Please feel free to e-mail me at “JeffMichie at Yahoo Dot Com”
Posted by Jeff on December 16, 2004 06:44 PM
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