Traipsing to the Beat Of Your Own Drum

In Occasional Travel by Jaclynn Seah4 Comments

What type of a traveller are you? Do you scorn the tourists out there in their tour buses and trundling their fancy suitcases, not ‘keeping it real’ and living like the locals? Do you pride yourself on your ‘authentic experiences’ and dismiss the touristy drivel found in your guidebook? Do you consider yourself a ‘real’ traveller?

Thrifty Student Backpacker = Real Traveller?

If you firmly believe all that above applies to you, you might not want to read on.

My beef is mainly with the folk who somehow think themselves above it all as a traveller, and go around telling other people off because they’re not travelling the ‘authentic’ way. That they’re not a real traveller because they don’t want to backpack around the world or strike it out on their own through India; That they are not authentic for wanting to trod the paths hundreds of other tourists have before them. That they are travelling wrong.

Which is utter bullshit, really.

Private Villa = Living too luxuriously to be a real traveller?

The Dictionary defines travel as moving from one place to another, and the tourist as one who travels, often for pleasure, which is what many of us aim to do, so why then do we discriminate between the two, when most of us travel for pleasure? Naturally the fingers will point back at me – yes I picked the name The Occasional Traveller and not the Occasional Tourist because the Traveller in today’s context seems to have gained a sexier, more worldly connotation of meaningful movement, while the Tourist is often regarded as the busloads of people who temporarily invade a place without much thought.

But travel to me is about your own journey, however you define it. Whether you choose to have someone plan every detail out for you or leave it to fate and goodwill; Whether you go with your family or on your own; or even whether you choose to stay in a nice hotel versus roughing it out in a backpackers lodge.

Tourist or Traveller, does it really matter? Pic by screenpunk

The myriad of travel blogs and carefree travel bloggers out there would suggest that there is a right way to travel. I’m here to remind you that the only right way to travel is however you want to do so and in whatever way that makes you happy. Don’t feel pressured to do a solo trip if you don’t enjoy being alone – push your limits if you want to, but don’t compromise your happiness to conform to an ideal defined by society.

Remember that your own journey is the only one that matters. But respect that others have their own journeys to take, so don’t go tearing them down just because it’s not the same as your path. Find your own paths and let people travel the way they want to. Happy travels everyone!

Go where your path takes you!


  1. Amen! THis whole patronizing movement is starting to make me hate the word “authentic”. We should be embracing other travelers and encouraging those who don’t self-identify as a traveler to get out there and experience the world, not judging or discouraging. And when did luxury become a dirty word? After working 45-50 hours a week, I’m certainly not going to judge anyone taking a luxury retreat!

    BTW–I’m Kim. I’m a fairly new reader and first time commentor.

    1. Author

      Hi Kim! Very nice to hear from you and thanks for dropping by! =)

      I think there are so many ways to explore the world, and it shouldn’t just be restricted to one definition… and yes after working so hard to earn that money, I am going to indulge myself a little, tourist-traps or not =)

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