Its a very simple concept, yet many find it so hard to follow. When you visit a place, a destination, or even someone’s house… you are a guest. Someone who has been allowed to enter a world that belongs to others. Your flight ticket there, or the invitation does not give you ownership, or the right to do as you please. Your flight ticket/invitation is a simply a temporary visitor’s pass.
- Be a Traveler not a Tourist.
A traveler is a thoughtful explorer of the world around him. He is curious about other cultures and hungry to learn, taste absorb and become immersed in the destination and its’ people. He sets foot in a new place and mentally says “change me”. He allows… no, he invites the destination to embrace him and make him feel like he belongs there, even if its only for a few hours or days. He seeks a real experience and meaningful, long lasting memories.A tourist is a moronic lemming who steps off his organised tour bus and follows all the others, often not having a clue where he is and only occasionally stopping for directions to the nearest McDonalds. He will buy a (Chinese made) fridge magnet from each city he visits simply to claim he has been there.
- Travel starts before you leave home
To appreciate the destination you have to learn about it before you get there. Know where you are, know its history, know what makes it special. Nothing endears you more to locals than knowing something they are proud of about their village, city or culture. It shows you care. It shows you are not a ‘tourist’.
- See things through their eyes
A tourist only sees a place through his own eyes, a traveler sees a place through the eyes of a local. One is a fleeting, superficial glance, the other is a thoughtful way of making lasting memories. A tourist only sees what a brochure or a social site told him to look for. A traveler seeks to understand and be surprised by what he finds.
- If you wouldn’t do it at home… don’t do it here
Would you walk into any random house in your street, because it had a better view than your own, just so you can take a selfie? Would you climb on their roof to photograph your girlfriend in a fake wedding dress? Furthermore… would you do it at 6am? No you wouldn’t… because you would be in jail.So what do you think gives you the right to do it in Oia? Who was it that told you that you have the right to climb on any roof top, any terrace, anyone’s front or back yard… just so you can take photos for your Instagram account? A real Traveler would never do that. Only an idiot Tourist would.
It may be your holiday… but it’s our home. Your plane ticket is no excuse for you to behave like an idiot or to disrespect us. Our Churches are not your selfie studios, our roof tops were not made so you can increase the number of likes on your facebook posts. If you want us to welcome you with open arms… show some respect. Be a ‘Traveler’ and you will always be welcome. If you are a tourist, do us all a favor and stay home !