Travellers and tourists.
This is how I like to differentiate between the titles tourist and traveller:
A tourist is someone who goes to a destination to see what they have come to see. They want good things to happen to them and expect that everything will go according to plan. A traveller is someone who goes to a destination to see what happens. They are seeking an adventure and are prepared for almost anything.
Neither is better than the other and these are merely my personal opinions.
I mention this because I spent most of this past week travelling around on Vancouver Island. I did so with a Canadian friend who I’ve travelled with in the Middle East and an Australian friend who I’ve travelled with in Europe.
Luckily, each of us enjoys travelling in a very similar manner. We go with the flow, we are happy with whatever adventure occurs and don’t worry about the things which don’t fall into place easily. We didn’t have solid plans. We just let what was happening happen. We’re travellers.
As a result, there were three separate nights that we were away on which we were unable to find accommodation – all of the hostels in the town we were in were full. On the first of these nights, a generous stranger gave us each an old sleeping bag. He asked only that we passed them on to someone who needed them once we were done with them. We were now equipped to sleep anywhere!
As such, I spent one night on a wooden bench inside a dirty and smelly toilet complex, one night underneath a picnic table which was covered with a tarpaulin and one night sleeping next to a fire on the beach, underneath the stars.
On one of the days, while we were at a camping ground, my friend said: “Look around the campground. All of these people have awesome camping gear, good barbeques and everything that they need. They’re proper campers. We look so stupid.”
I had to disagree.
I said: “By the looks of things, most of these people come camping regularly. They knew they were coming camping. For them it’s a process, not an adventure. Here we are without a tent to sleep in or any way of cooking our food, but we’re camping. And a few hours ago we didn’t even know we’d be doing so. This is awesome.”
My friends agreed with me.
In ordinary daily life, we often ask ourselves: “What do I have to do today?”
When travelling, we might ask ourselves: “I wonder what’s going to happen today?”
Some days, we get lucky enough to be swept up in the moment and don’t even have the chance to think about what might happen today, because it’s already happening. This uncertainty is what I love most about travelling.
The following photos were taken on Vancouver Island.