“This place is so touristy”
“That place is so overrated”
“Put the big camera down you look like a tourist.”
If you’ve journeyed to another country or city, then you’ve most likely heard judgements like this from people who’ve been doing it a little longer.
What show-offs! We’re confident this wouldn’t happen in an OYO, by the way, where everyone’s a bit more laid back and the in-crowd is just the crowd.
Travellers (people who blend in) tend to experience a place like a local, adapting a slight air of disinterest, as if they’ve seen it a hundred times before.
Tourists (clear and present outsiders) on the other hand, happily click cheesy pics on their selfie sticks and can be spotted crossing the road like the Beatles at Abbey Road and posing as tea plantation workers in Darjeeling. Get it?
Well good for them. Travel’s about freedom, and when did it become so elitist?
When our parents took trips, staying in the most ostentatious hotel in town was a way to show others you knew what’s what. But nowadays it’s more the norm to go basic on the sleeps and OYO your way around, then spend more, or at least more time, on the experiences.
The problem with being a ‘traveller’ is that trying to be cool is exhausting, we’ve all tried it at one time or another. And sometimes the thing that feels the most natural as a human being, when feeling awestruck by the sight of something immense like the Himalayas, isn’t to silently nod and move on, but to throw your bag down, open your arms to the world and shout AWESOME!!!
WOWOWOWW I AM AN EAGLE.
I recently travelled to the Taj Mahal in Agra for the first time. On the traveller/tourist spectrum I probably rate about a half way point, but as I approached ‘the’ view, the one that’s been regurgitated on a million postcards, T-shirts and fridge magnets, an unusual thing happened. The beauty in front of me and the story of it’s history made me go a bit weak at the knees and I found myself crying.
My first thought was to look down and move on, but I decided, instead, to share my experience because it made me feel alive and connected. I didn’t share it on social, but I held my head up and let the tears flow, representing the first openly crying traveller at the Taj Mahal, (there’s a hashtag there somewhere).
The woman next to me, wearing a Nirvana T-shirt, clearly shared my sense of wonder, as she yelled to her boyfriend “Make it look like it’s on my finger!”
And you know what? That’s fine. If you can’t feel free to have fun on holiday in whatever way you choose, when can you?
So go ahead. Get your tourist on and take that picture with the royal guard like nobody’s watching.
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