Are you a traveller or a tourist?

Del & Russell at Taj Mahal for emailI’m thinking of my recent trip to India and my experience of travelling in non-tourist areas.  All the while on some level I was also yearning to find the kinds of facilities and services that are generally supplied just for tourists!  Interesting!  So I decided to transfer this onto my thoughts about life.  Am I – or you – a traveller or a tourist of life?

I feel I am a traveller who has faced both the highs and lows of being in strange, unknown places and needing to find my way through eg. the lows – divorce, bereavements, depressions, night terrors, eating disorder, physical accidents, illness and a lot of physical pain; and the highs – getting to connect with spirit, finding ways to heal myself, developing my own healing abilities, finding loving relationships, enjoying sensuality, expanding my mind, experiencing other cultures, being highly creative, having a loving husband …  and so on.  BUT – and it’s a big BUT – I’ve also wanted to be a tourist – to go through my life with the protection and support of others who have been there before and know the ropes.  I’ve wanted comfort and no pain – just pleasure.  I’ve wanted someone else to look after me, fund me, take responsibility.  Is this a fair assessment of the tourist?  Here’s what OT came up with (the you is a general you):

Old Delhi for email

“You are both a traveller and a tourist.  You can never know what’s around the corner but you can look to others who are more experienced than you to give you signs and help you out when, as a traveller, you feel you’ve lost your way. 

A traveller does need a map and needs to have some kind of plan.  A tourist needed to do some research before they decided which tour to go on.  In many ways there’s no difference. 

It’s a question of perspective, seeing the situation from a particular angle.  There’s nothing noble about ‘suffering’ as a traveller.  Some like the excitement of finding their way alone.  Some like the security of having it all planned out by someone else.  You choose the style that suits.

 In life itself the journey contains both – the tourist within the traveller finds the resources he/she needs to satisfy their curiosity and their physical needs.  The traveller in the tourist takes time to step outside the objective viewing of the culture they are in and allows themselves to feel their way into identifying with that they see, smell, touch, hear, and so on.  In this way they learn as the traveller does, but perhaps less viscerally and with less cultural impact.

All experience is of great value and is never wasted.  All experience takes you forward in your learning and understanding.”