Discussions over the difference between a traveler and a tourist can go on and on. Since childhood, I always fancied about traversing each and every quarter of the destinations but I was always forced to go as per itinerary. Time flew by and things changed, but my fondness for tracing the unexplored corners was still the same.
After all, some things remain CONSTANT. I was never more into planning, all I wanted was an unexploited slice of land which I can explore, in my own style with no rules and boundaries. My routes were never constrained on the geography of the destination, it was way beyond that!
The difference in the perspectives!
Recently, I and my best friend were planning a trip to Ladakh but our plans, routes, modes, nothing matched. Literally, they were all contrasting. Speaking of which I am a wild soul who is always looking for new challenges and don’t like going as per the plan. Also, I don’t want plans, I can change them in a fraction of seconds if something more fascinating attracts me. Whereas, she is all different. Plannings, pre-bookings, and all such things are more of her kind. While she wished to stay at a luxury resort I was more into staying close to the locals at hostels or camps preferably. While we stay at hostels we can meet new people from all over the map and this interests me a lot. To me road-tripping is love, it makes me feel more alive! And what could have been a better place for a road trip than Leh, that is famed as the temple of Royal Enfield?
Our styles of traveling were poles apart, she was more into opting for a flight as it was less time consuming and a little more comfortable! Comforts, luxuries, and everything synonymous to this are not what I look for in the trip, all this is secondary! All I want is fresh air, rugged terrain, connections with the locals, and more such things. With this incident, I realized all of us are different and look at the world differently. Following the Google maps, opting for vendors, or taking up a bunch of people along is not at what all I want. All I wish for is, I visit the unexplored corners that are nowhere on the map and I am the first one to mark my footprints there.
Talking about my best friend she has a very distinctive style, she prefers following the maps over off-beaten tracks, selecting flights above road trips, and staying at hotels over hostels. If you’re a wanderer then have to carry a little and in return, you get a lot but for the tourists the case is different. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I do it with my heart and the same goes for traveling.
Others might breathe in oxygen, but I breathe in the adventure! Whenever some said the ‘WANDERLUST’, I never knew the true meaning but ever since this became my thing it got a little easier to understand. If I describe this term in my words “ A feeling which not only connects you with the destination but becomes a part of you ”. Realizations are good for us and in this case, I got to know that I am more of a wanderer while my friend is a tourist.
Turning point? Yes, surely this was one. There are not only dissimilarities between a wanderer and a traveler but somewhere down the line, they are the same. Both of them enjoy exploring the bounties of nature but in their own way! Pointing out one more instance of my old trips I met this girl at a Hostel named “Catherine” who was from New York and came all the way to India with NO PLAN! That was the moment when I realized it is not necessary to always have a plan.
Sometimes even when you have no idea, all you have to do is just go with the flow and the roads will lead you to the destination. And this what exactly a wanderer does! No heavy luggage, no loaded pockets, and no plans, just a lively soul! As I said, my love for the quaint corners never died and that day when I had a deep conversation with her I realized such travel ways are not at all difficult adapt!
What keeps both of them going?
To sum up, wanderers are the one who has a spark of exploration in them, while the tourists prefer to trace the explored segments. It is not the kind of destination that makes them different, it is their way of traveling that makes a difference. While tourists spend bills on their trips, the wanderers mostly go light on their pockets by picking up affordable options. Moreover, they love getting lost in the lure of the region. To be a true wanderer you need inspiration or a drive which keeps you going, and brands like Wrangler are there for the purpose with competitions like True Wanderer.