Someone referred to me the other day as a "traveler," not a "tourist."
Er, no. No, thank you.
This distinction has long been used to single out the hardier seasoned vets from the novices.*
Here's what it boils down to:
"I am a traveler. They are tourists.
Gimme a break. Does bargaining for a fare on a truck makes you a rarer breed than someone's grandma who signed up for a guided coach en masse trip to Italy? Think again. That grandma might be doing something totally daring and brave for her. She—the tourist—might be struggling to grasp the culture in her own way, much like the proudly independent traveler. Hold the disdain, please.
We're all tourists when we leisure travel. Or travelers. Same damn thing. One traveler is not better than another because they know the lingo of the road, or because they don't have a reason to go home anytime soon. Unless you are simply traveling for transportation, perhaps on a business trip or perhaps traveling to your new home where you will reside for reasons other than to tour it, don't give me this "I'm a traveler, not a tourist" nonsense. Please help me retire this elitist distinction, seemingly so insightful the first time you heard it in a hostel as an early twenty-something. It's tired. It's snobby. It's vain.
We're all tourists.
Except Matt. He actually moved to Zagreb.
*Since Paul Bowles wrote The Sheltering Sky.