Tourist into Traveler

"A traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see."
   ...G.K Chesterton


We all start out as tourists. We pour through guidebooks and burn up the internet. We decide we just have to see this and this and of course this. We have to do it all, who knows if we will ever return, we say. Our travel is completed according to the Itinerary we drafted at home.

Kim and I were no different. Our first trip to Italy was a list of sites to be seen. We just had to see Milan, Venice, Verona, Florence, the David, Sienna, and of course Rome. It was a whirlwind of trains, subways and hotels. All the while making a series of silly travel errors. It was exhausting. We truly needed a vacation to recover from our vacation.

Our second journey was much less hectic. We stayed a little longer everywhere we jumped off the train. The must see site list had been pared down. We spent more time just sitting and observing.

.....into Travelers

Somewhere between those first couple of trips and today, the tourists in us who were controlling our time finally took over the back seat. Thank goodness travelers are now leading the way. Our limited time abroad is so much more fun and fulfilling.

Our transition into travelers started with finally understanding that visiting a new place, a new country shouldn't be like going to a museum. Where you stop for a bit and look at this and then move right on to that. Think about your last jaunt through any museum. An art museum maybe. Do you really remember many of the painting you viewed? Or just one or two that you actually stopped to study? That's how we as tourists travel. Remembering only snippets.

Now, when we travel to try to remember that wherever we are is a place where people live, work, play, gripe about politicians and try their best to raise their families. The tourist sites are what made an area interesting hundreds or thousands of years ago. While they are fun to see and ponder, the people and how those sites effected their culture is what makes them fascinating today.

The sites are what draw us

Sure, we still love to see the sites but what is truly special is to have the owner of a small coffee shop or cafe greet us as we come through the door and ask if we would like our regular. Then help with local insights and suggestions for our day of tourist trekking ahead while we just sit and chat.

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Become a Traveler? Good to leave the tourist behind? eMail us. We'll post some below.