This is typical conversation which most backpackers all over the globe have had over one pint or four of the world’s cheapest lagers. For sure, we have all been there. Standing just right there, in sweltering heat at the passport control of the territory of a third-world country, hailing the backbreaking-load of months on the road. Out of nowhere, suddenly a bunch of package tourists lines up next to you who are all dressed in their Bermuda pants and typical Hawaiian t-shorts.
Their particular simplistic, downright stupid analysis, and wide-eyed naivety just appear so annoying tremendously. If it were not for the tons on your back, you just longed for slapping some sense into them and then give them a preach on how they are not gaining entirely making their condemned time, prior to security coming to drag you away, which is likely to be followed by a prompt red-stamp and shaming escorted walk to the subsequent plane home.
Well, I am not the only one that feels like this; backpackers from Timbuktu to Thailand all fell exactly the same way about that sort of package tourist. However, why do we feel that way and are we right in such doing? To deal with this questions, it is likely that we are going to have to all bases, and then also look at the factors which separate “us” from “them”. Let us go through some of the common differences between a backpacker and a tourist.
All right, where should we begin?
Things have been so different between the world of tourists and backpacker! I presume the simplest and easiest way to point out our existence as a backpacker is that we are used to traveling to experience culture and a way of life which is seemingly different from our own life. We tend to push ourselves to sense and feel what the other may feel and put ourselves in their shoes, as well. In order to do this, most backpackers may even experience inconvenience and discomforts, such as the horrible squat toilet, yet we know that this is an absolutely unchanged part of the way that we experience and travel.
On the other hand, tourists, compared to backpacker, most of the time travel purely for pleasure and relaxation, like most people with incredibly excessive money in their wallet. For sure, they may be looking for only tiny bite-sized amount of joy and portions of the culture, yet I can tell you right now that they are not after the real deal, like most of backpackers do. They are surely not spending hours and hours on the train, drinking vodka with an old face-frown Caribbean man that tells you a long fascinating stories pertinent to his misspent ages as a youngster. They are the ones in the air-conditioned coach which offers highly qualified and well-manicured as well as prettied tour guide that speaks exceedingly fluent English, who takes happy snaps of … You know what that means. Well, God knows what anyway. Well, I guess those are all the salient differences between tourists and backpackers.