I found the coolest quote this weekend…

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” ~Daniel J. Boorstin

This quote really got me thinking about not only where I fall in those two categories, but also about all the different people that I’ve encountered, traveled with, and observed over the years. I’m certainly not the world traveler that I’d like to be, but I have been to and seen some awesome places in my lifetime and I’ve certainly encountered some very interesting people.

Here are some of my favorite examples, and you help me decide…. Traveler or Tourist?

Dorothy, a senior citizen on a Class Reunion Cruise to Belize, Cozumel, and Key West. She complained about everything, nothing was ever good enough. My favorite complaint of the week: We were in Cozumel, eating at an authentic Mexican restaurant on the beach, the Mariachi Band was serenading us, and she said “I can’t believe these people are speaking Spanish. Why can’t they learn English?” Really?

Sandra, a senior citizen, traveling with her kids and grand kids, on a cruise to Grand Cayman. Not terribly comfortable in the water or on a boat, but wanted to make the most of her trip with her family, she puts on her life jacket jumps in the water, puts the snorkel in her mouth, and the mask on her face and sees some of the most amazing marine life that she’s ever seen in her life. She went home with some cuts and bruises from all of the adventure on the trip, but it was worth it, so she says.

Andrew, my son, 9 years old in a village on the Amazon in Peru… His sense of adventure was in overdrive that week. He left the jungle with no regrets after swimming the Amazon River, running around barefoot with all of the other village children, speaking the Spanish that he picked up that week, going into the children’s village huts, meeting their parents, and chasing chickens in the courtyards.

And one of my favorites of all time, Justin, a friend of mine who is permanently in a wheelchair. He will never walk again. On one of our trips to the Western Caribbean, all Justin wanted to do was to get into the crystal blue waters and snorkel. With the help of several of his friends, they helped make that dream come true for Justin. What an awesome experience not only for Justin, but also for his friends.

Other examples…

I know a family that each time they arrive to a new destination, they ask the first local they see, “What is YOUR favorite place to eat local cuisine?” And even if it’s a hole in the wall… that’s where they go for lunch that day.

I see cruise ship passengers get off of their big ship, with it’s own duty free shops, and go straight to the port’s shopping area, walk around those duty free shops, and get back on the ship. Some people decide not to even get off the ship. For real??? When you can hike or zipline the rainforest, explore the bottom of the ocean, see the world’s most beautiful beaches and parasail above the tree lines, or see ancient indian ruins and climb to the top of the pyramids? God made this world for us to see, experience and enjoy… and we shop?

I don’t want to be a tourist in this world…. I long to be a traveler, and I’m so thankful that my kids want to be travelers too! Live life! Get out there! There’s so much more to see in this great big world than Gulf Shores and Gatlinburg!!! You can shop at home. Be a Justin, be an Andrew, be a Sandra. Be a traveler!

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