There is an old Eskimo folk tale about two friends who set off to travel around the world to tell others about their adventures. Before they leave, each makes himself a cup of the horn of a beast. They travel by sledges, away from each other, taking their new wives with them. The journey is long, and each year they visit a different land. By the time they meet again, at the other side of the world, they are old and weak, with children strong enough to lead the sledges. The cups made out of horns show the signs of wear and tear of making years scraping against the ground as they collected water in rivers and lakes.
“The world is great”, they say when they meet again, rich from a life-long experience around the globe.
The men never came back to their visit to tell the stories of their travels. By walking in different directions, they also ensured that they would never visit the same country. And yet, even though their travel routes are different, their experience is the same.
Nowadays, things remain the same. While it doesn’t take a lifetime to travel to the other side of the world, regular travelers all share a similar experience of exploration. People who travel less often also have a very typical attitude to travel. Their inexperience shows sometimes, and some of them have given tourists an unfairly bad reputation. Are you an experienced explorer or just a bad tourist?
The regular traveler enjoys solo experiences
The Eskimo men in the story are great travelers who have spent their entire life discovering the world. Needless to say that the day they finally met again, they probably had a lot of things to talk about! But, ultimately, it’s not only the things you see that makes travel memorable. It how they make you feel and how they sometimes push you to question your habits or even completely change them. Imagine eating a donut in a country that is universally renowned for the quality of its fried food, like Greece? It’s not just the snap you will take back. It’s the unique taste of the dough, its peculiar texture, the sun shining on your skin and the slight smell of honey – as most Greek donuts have a hint of honey in the dough or the coating.
Just like the Eskimo men, the regular travelers open their senses to the discovery of something new. They don’t need to share the experience with friends or relatives to enjoy it. They become part of the experience.
The occasional traveler plans with a friend or relative
On the other hand, people who are not used to travel often tend to go with a travel buddy. Traveling with a friend can be reassuring when you’re not used to visiting places you don’t know. As a result, the occasional travel can find it more difficult to open to the experience, especially when keeping your relationship with your travel companion peaceful becomes the priority. When you don’t travel alone, it can be difficult to set on a daily program that keeps everyone satisfied. Ultimately, being forced to do something you don’t like might stain the experience of travel. Additionally, travel partnerships are known for sticking to touristic areas, missing the opportunity to explore a new culture fully.
The regular traveler knows the ways with airports
Once you’ve flown a few times in and out the country, you start to get used to airports and their security systems. For instance, while you know that you can’t take more than 100ml in your hand luggage, assuming all your liquids are packed in a separate bag, only a regular traveler knows that there are special circumstances in which you can carry more liquids in cabin. For instance, a medical prescription allows you to take secured liquids as part of your medications. Additionally, baby milk bottles are also authorized in cabin, as nobody would want a baby to starve!
The regular travelers make the most of their knowledge to use airport safely and without any stress and get to destination. They know to prepare their flight reservation for visa application in the Schengen zone in advance for all travel plans designed to last over 90 days. The earlier you plan, the easier you make it for the authorities to let you through.
The occasional traveler lacks the know-how
If you’re not used to getting the plane, you might accidentally get things wrong, even when you think that everything is going fine. There have been occasional cases of travelers who accidentally ended up on the wrong plane and landed in a country that they hadn’t planned to visit. Similarly, a lot of less experienced travelers tend to forget to take their toiletry bag out at the security station, causing delays as the authorities have to open their luggage to perform the necessary checks.
But bigger mistakes tend to be less noticeable, from a typo in your reservation to impulse duty free shopping. A lot of irregular travelers expect to grab a bargain in the duty free shops. Ultimately, while you might get goods at a lower price, most local specialities are cheaper outside of the airport. It can be tempting to sit down and indulge in a meal when you have a lot of time on hand. However, food at the airport tends to greatly overpriced, so try to content yourself with the options that offer the best value.
The regular traveler knows how to fit in
When you often travel in foreign countries or in remote areas of your own country that you may not know well, you rapidly develop a keen eye for the local culture. As the saying goes, when in Rome, do like the Romans. For an experienced explorer, observing and conforming to the local culture are the safest way to show respect.
Indeed, the only way to truly experience the authentic way of life of local communities is to ensure that you enjoy yourself respectfully. Inappropriate or rude behavior that causes misunderstanding between the locals and the tourist is something the regular traveler knows to avoid. If you are visiting a sacred place that holds a ceremony, it’s good practice to respect the faith of the population and wait for a suitable time to resume your visit. Similarly, experienced travelers never visit a new area without researching its culture and history, so that they can avoid causing issues with the population.
The occasional traveler is known to cause mayhem
When tourists behave badly abroad, more often than not, they are occasional travelers who have not yet gotten used to experiencing a variety of cultures and lifestyles. As a result, they are often perceived as the worst criminals against culture. In fact, a small Greek island has recently decided to ban all British tourists from visiting its churches after a couple took indecent photos in one of the churches that offending the religious population.
Tourists who intentionally vandalize monuments not only give a bad rep to all travelers, but can also be handed a hefty fine. From carving their initials into the stones to painting graffiti on ancient monuments, these tourists could force worldwide authorities to limit access to more cultural heritage sites in an effort to limit damages. It’s the duty of all travelers to denounce criminal and vandalizing activities they witness. These occasional tourists need to be punished, whether they steal, leave a message or even through a party in protected sites.
The regular traveler’s purpose
Traveling is, for the one who knows how to experience the diversity of cultures, landscapes and people a path to self-growth and self-discovery. Traveling offers the unique chance to shift your perspective about life and to reconsider your values. When many people travel to get a break from real life, the experienced travelers travel to experience the many realities of life. As a result, you might find that you develop new areas of your personality that you didn’t even know you had. You become more flexible about your location. You are less afraid of the unknown. You develop your creativity and your adaptability. Ultimately, when you travel with your eyes open to seize the diversity of the world, you travel to become a better version of yourself.
The occasional traveler is looking for the party scene
The casual traveler is not yet used to the idea that life elsewhere could be an extension of their own existence. Going abroad is synonymous with fun and escapism. Everything that happens away stays away, and ultimately the occasional traveler is keen to book party holidays, in glorious beach locations or trendy urban areas. Pictures are often a slideshow of alcohol, friends groups and happy faces. There is a strong sense of enjoyment, but it’s likely that these travelers pick their destinations for the fun elements more than the culturally enriching experience. There’s nothing wrong about it, except that they’re missing out on a great potential.
To go back to the tale of the two Eskimo men, the ones who travel to experience the world are those who, in the end, recognize its greatness. It’s only through the accumulation of travels that the occasional traveler builds the experience to see past the differences and difficulties to achieve self-growth. After all, we all have to start somewhere.