Real Travellers

You’ve seen them posed astride the peak of mountain conquered by their skill and courage pitted hard against the force of nature, the real travelers. Their boots, high tech, ice axe or walking stick complete the view. Beside them sits the native guide bare feet on rubber tire soles and next to him, the porter’s burden of supplies. Perhaps you’ve seen them turn their backs, contemptuous of guided tours but listen, gratis, to the tour guide’s narrative. They walk the site, conceited and, disdainful of the “tourists” who arrive on packaged tour by air conditioned bus to learn of culture not their own, and then depart, the thirst for knowledge satisfied. Their carriage and deportment say I paid the price, I earned the right to sit or stand or walk this place, but you did not. I am deserving for I walked or rode a local bus or truck and sleep in local rooms upon dirt floors, but you who tour by bus or car and sleep in air conditioned rooms with bath are not. These are the real travelers. They take great pride in low cost trips. They stay in low rent rooms with other westerners and eat in budget restaurants with other western voyagers. Phrase book in hand, they shop the local markets and return to show and tell or brag of bargains made and things acquired at low expense. Hardships endured and bargains made compete with places been and seen for bragging rights among the real travelers. And though they may wear local clothes, the backpacks and the high tech shoes comprise the uniform of real travelers. The shoes alone set them apart, but anti-tourist attitude completes the part. The worst of these are those who come with attitudes preformed and judge new cultures by their own unchallenged attitudes. They travel to confirm their own superiority to all they meet, especially to cultures not their own, and then, because they travel cheap, believe they understand where tourists, rich, could not. Of course not all in high tech shoes are burdened with these attitudes. They journey through these foreign lands to learn and grow. Some realize how difficult it is to understand another culture, or even person, in so short a time. With open mind they listen to the residents who live the culture of the land. They share the hardship of long rides on local bus with local folk. They may even eat and sleep with native travelers, but shoes aside, one other thing sets them apart. They will go home to luxury and comfort unattainable by locals traveling out of need and for whom the trip is life and not adventure.
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved

Real Travellers

You’ve seen them posed astride the peak of mountain conquered by their skill and courage pitted hard against the force of nature, the real travelers. Their boots, high tech, ice axe or walking stick complete the view. Beside them sits the native guide bare feet on rubber tire soles and next to him, the porter’s burden of supplies. Perhaps you’ve seen them turn their backs, contemptuous of guided tours but listen, gratis, to the tour guide’s narrative. They walk the site, conceited and, disdainful of the “tourists” who arrive on packaged tour by air conditioned bus to learn of culture not their own, and then depart, the thirst for knowledge satisfied. Their carriage and deportment say I paid the price, I earned the right to sit or stand or walk this place, but you did not. I am deserving for I walked or rode a local bus or truck and sleep in local rooms upon dirt floors, but you who tour by bus or car and sleep in air conditioned rooms with bath are not. These are the real travelers. They take great pride in low cost trips. They stay in low rent rooms with other westerners and eat in budget restaurants with other western voyagers. Phrase book in hand, they shop the local markets and return to show and tell or brag of bargains made and things acquired at low expense. Hardships endured and bargains made compete with places been and seen for bragging rights among the real travelers. And though they may wear local clothes, the backpacks and the high tech shoes comprise the uniform of real travelers. The shoes alone set them apart, but anti-tourist attitude completes the part. The worst of these are those who come with attitudes preformed and judge new cultures by their own unchallenged attitudes. They travel to confirm their own superiority to all they meet, especially to cultures not their own, and then, because they travel cheap, believe they understand where tourists, rich, could not. Of course not all in high tech shoes are burdened with these attitudes. They journey through these foreign lands to learn and grow. Some realize how difficult it is to understand another culture, or even person, in so short a time. With open mind they listen to the residents who live the culture of the land. They share the hardship of long rides on local bus with local folk. They may even eat and sleep with native travelers, but shoes aside, one other thing sets them apart. They will go home to luxury and comfort unattainable by locals traveling out of need and for whom the trip is life and not adventure.
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved