A GUEST BLOG BY DUBLIN BASED TRAVEL WRITER, Primabl.
Are you a traveller or a tourist? Have you ever even asked yourself that question before? You more than likely haven’t, you more than likely don’t even consider there to be a difference between the two words.
I mean it makes sense, right? “Oh we’re travelling to Rome first, then Paris, and finally onto London for final leg of our honeymoon. We can’t wait to see all of the tourist hot-spots.”
A pretty common sentence, correct? You have probably found yourself saying something along the same lines. That sentence contains the two words that this article is about – travel and tourist.
See there seems to exist a belief that, to be a tourist, is to be someone who goes with the crowd, doesn’t care about where they actually are, has no understanding of local life, is a selfie-obsessed drone and is only there to escape the office for a few weeks.
Whereas a traveller is the physical embodiment of the essence of what it means to travel. They know what the locals know, they feel what the local feel, they have a deep understanding of the places they experience and above all else they aren’t just in a country to escape their normal life for a couple weeks.
This of course is all ridiculous.
If you are a fan of the Inbetweeners, or have ever seen the Inbetweeners 2, well then you will know exactly the type of person I am talking about when I talk about the pretentious traveller who believes that they are far superior than the common tourist who is visiting other countries just in order to broaden their horizons.
As a self-proclaimed travel writer myself I see no distinction between myself and anyone else visiting a country. Yes, I like to document my travels and write about my experiences – but that is my hobby and hopefully some day it will pay my bills. It doesn’t however, make me better than my neighbour across the road who wants to just go abroad for a spot of rest and relaxation.
We need to rid any question that a traveller and a tourist are different. It basically comes down to “six in one hand and half a dozen in the other” – in the end you’re left with the same result.
To believe that one way of exploring the world is better than another is absolute absurdity and it leads to beliefs of elitism; turning something that should be celebrated into a competition.
Anyone who comes to my country, explores the cities, takes in the stunning views of the coasts and discovers the midlands is more than welcome and is greatly appreciated. I don’t value one person who spends two months in my country more than someone who could only afford to spend a weekend here, and vice-versa.
There is no one single way to travel “the right way”. If you have respect for the country you intend to visit then that is the correct way.
If you feel like visiting all of the churches in Dublin City while in my country then that is perfect. If you want to visit all of the pubs then that is equally perfect. Either way, you are spending time in my country, taking part in my way of life, and experiencing the city I love.
I would hate to think that someone would come to my city and judge another visitor for how they choose to spend their time here. I hold anyone who wishes to broaden their horizons, experience new things, and discover new cultures in the highest of regards and to think that they would get judged or looked down upon for how they do it is aggravating.
I find myself to be very privileged to be able to visit some of the world’s most beautiful places and to those of us who do travel – we must always remember how lucky we are to experience what the world has to offer. So if you ever find yourself scoffing at tourists or complaining about them, remember that you are no different.
I believe that those who believe they are on a separate level to the common tourist will attempt to distinguish themselves even further from them now with the #TouristsGoHome marches and protests.
For those of you who haven’t seen the news recently; from Barcelona to Venice to Dubrovnik locals of some of the world’s most visited hot-spots have come out in force, protesting against the impact tourists have on their cities.
While their hashtags might say #TouristsGoHome, genuinely I believe that these people are just tired of the negative impact tourism might have on their areas. Both myself and MaraudingJJ have discussed the topic in previous blog posts, but I think it spells very worrying times for those who are coined as “tourists”.
I understand that some people might do irresponsible things or be disrespectful when travelling but this piece isn’t about them – it is about addressing the issue of a certain conglomerate of people who believe that they are on a different level when it comes to travelling.
To broaden your horizons and be witness to new experiences, meet new people, and try new things is a wonderful thing in of itself. Whether you’ve travelled to all countries of the world or only just one, to actively participate in the concept of travel is worthy of praise regardless of your previous trips.
For those of you who are still not convinced and believe that you’re better than the common tourist, well, I’ll leave you in the words of my good pal Will McKenzie from the Inbetweeners 2: “Playing the guitar badly, wearing beads, talking about ‘one love’ and pretending you’re friends with Central-American villagers – who by the way, despise you – before heading back to your parents’ five bedroom house in Surrey doesn’t make you a spiritual person, it makes you a bell**d.”
This article and supporting photographic content were provided entirely by Primabl ‘all things travel’.