Tourist or Traveller?

I’ve been wondering about the difference between a traveller and a tourist and how you differentiate one from the other. The romantic in me definitely wants to become a traveller. After all, the word does have better connotations. However, the cynic in me says there isn’t really a difference between the two. The romantic would defend himself with:

“I have a backpack, not a suitcase.”

To which the cynic would add:

“A backpack is the suitcase for those under thirty. It’s from one of those outdoor stores, driven by all those who buy into the ‘adventure industry.’”

“But I’m not staying in hotels and travelling around with tour groups.”

“Your youth hostels and fellow ‘travellers’ armed with copies of Lonely Planet or Let’s Go are little different. You want to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower don’t you?”

“Yeah, so what. I’m still a traveller.”

“Worse, you’re a cheep tourist with a superiority complex.”

“At least I don’t have a Canadian flag on my backpack.”

I don’t believe the debate ends there, but I’ll keep you posted.

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