I’ve never liked the idea of being a tourist. I much prefer a traveler, a wanderer, a soul looking for other souls. Always being a little lost with no actual desire to be found. I often think of the writings and words of Paul Bowles, a sincere explorer who found himself in Morocco while many American expats were flooding the cafes of Paris:
“[A]nother important difference between tourist and traveler is that the former accepts his own civilization without question; not so the traveler, who compares it with the others, and rejects those elements he finds not to his liking.”
I would like to believe there is a certain curiosity, a certain way in which one must interact with the world in order to become a traveler. It’s easy to book all-inclusive holidays on a coastal retreat, but it’s difficult to become part of the community around you, especially when you embed yourself so briefly. Becoming a traveler requires that you forcibly, consciously, continually enter yourself into a place of discomfort. To travel is to awaken yourself and your senses anew by an onslaught of foreign stimuli; sounds, smells, flavors, textures that are both pleasing and repulsive. To engage with the world outside of your place of comfort — to really reach out and seize it in all it’s mess and glory — you have to be willing to push yourself.