wanderlust

Are you a tourist or a traveller?

“A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu

Let us introduce to Mirka, who quit her corporate job years ago and went backpacking to South East Asia. Little did she know that the months will turn into years and backpacking will turn into something else - trying to find a place in the remote parts of Indonesia she could call home. Today, Mirka will share her perspective on solo travel, having travelled all around South East Asia for years, and how that has changed from her first backpacking trip all those years ago.

Are you a tourist or a traveller?

By Mirka

Nowadays travelling is easy, affordable and lately also fashionable, ever since the social media wheel started to turn.

So much so, that we came to the point that hosting countries started to shut down places to prevent complete nature destruction. For example, Thailand’s most famous beach where The Beach movie was filmed has recently been closed for tourism activities. Similarly due to the environmental destruction caused by mass tourism, a well-known Boracay Island in Philippines was also shut down for a number of months. It is quite possible more places will follow soon.

It becomes more difficult to find unspoiled places and if you find one, better keep it to yourself.

Most people who take upon travelling, stick to the places discovered long time ago and only few move on to find new destinations for themselves. This is precisely what travelling should be called. If you consider yourself passionate about adventure and travelling, here are a few tips to consider. Especially if you are thinking of taking time travelling, going backpacking or spending your gap year seeing the world.

Firstly, there is no need to pre-book your travels including flight tickets back home, hotels or any other things. Who knows, maybe you will come back on camel… (This sounds more like a traveller’s spirit!)

When taking up travelling and backpacking, booking return tickets will not make you more adventurous and quite often lead you to more expenses. You may end up changing the date on your flight or departure point. With the return ticket in your hand, we tend to plan carefully our moves. The return date in your head limits us from going too far from the point of pre-set departure or venturing to off beaten paths or non-existent paths. It also happens that our mind cannot relax completely, often thinking and worrying about how is it going to be when we will come back home.

Pre-booking hotels or guesthouses limits that travelling spirit inside you. Best practice is not to book any room, only if you arrive late at night. Finding accommodation on the spot is usually much cheaper. This way you can choose better-located place, support local people by choosing to stay in locally own place and identify the place where you can meet and socialize with fellow travellers.

To be a traveller, who people ask for advice is not as easy as it seems. Almost every passionate traveller will agree that their priority is experience. Therefore, it means that they are prepared to see good and bad things eventually balancing these two, by patience and understanding. To gain that experience they travel to unknown places where comfort is less, but authenticity is more, that’d be a nature, culture or any other thing what a traveller is looking for.

But please, do take your travels gradually. Especially if you have never been to the remote places. Start with popular places, familiarize yourself with customs of country you will be dealing with, learn a bit of local language. If you are girl travelling solo - find a travel partner. To avoid disappointment, choose places where you will want to be - wisely, do not rely on guidebooks or well-advertised websites. They are often misleading and full of biased opinions with hidden selling tricks and well edited pictures.

In general, to avoid disappointments do not rely on anything.

Go – See – Experience – Form Own Opinion.  People are different and tend to enjoy different things, so their opinions will only create images in your head, often leading to disappointment, because it can turn not as good as you have imagined. What actually gives that traveller’s feeling is coming to the place without prior detailed research and embracing things as they stand.

Apart from detailed preparation, the crucial thing that distinguishes traveller and a person on holiday, is that a traveller decides to be on the road not only for self-indulging reason. He does not want to limit his journey to see beauty in it, but on the contrary puts himself into uncomfortable situations to discover new ways and himself. No matter how exiting this may sound, travelling with purpose or without purpose at some point becomes a routine. It manifests in the way that things are no longer perceived with excitement. If you come to this point – your traveller spirit has been tested. So what to do? Go to Katmandu?

Relax…. but the last thing one should do, go back to the old lifestyle back home. Believe me, you will not be satisfied and will become even more miserable. The traveller spirit that you have been developing for many years will not leave you alone. There is no perfect answer for this question, because all of us need to figure it out on our own. No matter what you do, keep smiling, you have been privileged to see the word this way.

The future of travelling lies behind adventure with an open mind. Hopefully travellers will exist long after the fashion is gone.

Blessings to all the people with travelling spirit. Hope to see you on the road!


Travelling the world solo can be overwhelming and lonely at times. But you can always download Tribd on iOS. Tribd helps you to find travel buddies and connect with other solo travellers with similar travel plans. 

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