Yes, I know I know. It is a pretty pretentious thing to ask. But really. What is a traveler? What makes a traveler a traveler? Who are travelers and what makes them tick?
Anyone can be a traveler, but not everyone can afford to be a traveler. Traveling is expensive in many ways. It costs time, money, and many more things for people to travel. That is why not everyone is a traveler. So who can be a traveler?
I think, deep down, everyone has had a feeling of wanting to drop everything, pack their bags, and hit the road. This is just a matter of how willing that person is to do what they feel. It is easier for some, more difficult to others. Some people are tied down with a family, job, or other important commitments. For others, the timing is perfect to leave for a journey. Everyone has a little travel bug inside of them, it just depends on whether or not you choose to let it take over you.
With that being said, travelers have a few qualities that make them who they are. Those who travel have their own reasons for traveling, but they also have reasons that are common among other travelers. They want to learn more about the world around them and not just in front of them, they want to take a hands-on approach to learning, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.
I believe that travelers have three characteristics that make them exactly that. Travelers by their very nature are: curious, adventurous, and ambitious.
What is a Traveler
Travelers are curious about the world around them. There is a reason why people travel, and this is the number one reason. When choosing their next destination, people choose according to which country they are interested in. They may be educated about the country, but they want to travel to the country to further quench their thirst for more answers.
Travelers want to learn more about the world. They have an open mind about obtaining that knowledge and they want it first-hand. Reading a textbook or watching a documentary is not good enough for them. They want to get out there in the field and touch it. Feel it. Play with it.
They want those experiences that make them feel the way others do. To get that adrenaline rush when they first visit somewhere and do not have any plans other than to learn as much as they can.
Travelers have this undying lust of knowing as much as they can about the world around them. Unfortunately this thirst can never be quenched. It can never be satisfied. The more you travel the more you need it. The more you desire for this lifestyle. But it never goes away. In fact, the more you try to get rid of it, the more it comes back.
The more you travel, the more curious you become and thus the more you become a traveler in this regard.
Travelers are adventurous. This is a given as traveling to another country, or sometimes within your country, is an adventure. You can argue that as soon as you leave your house, you could find yourself on a new adventure. However, travelers choose their adventures. They are willing to seek new thrills and new challenges that the road ahead has for them.
For anyone that is willing to pack a bag and visit somewhere where you do not speak the local language, have never tasted the local food, and never seen for yourself, you need to be a little adventurous. Maybe that means a little crazy too.
Being adventurous is the very desire to adventure across the world to fulfill your curiosity. If you are curious without being adventurous, then you are likely just a scholar that is more than content to read textbooks and primary documents to get your knowledge.
However, if you are curious and adventurous then you are likely willing to get a little dirty and get out into the world to get the answers to the questions that you have.
It is good to have curiosity for the world around you and the adventurous attitude inside of you. However, without the ambition to go ahead and take action, you may not be a traveler. You can have the craving to go to a new place in the world, but you need that ambition to actually take action.
Ambition is what makes you want to save that money for the trip. It is the dedication that makes you work on whatever you need to get those pennies into the piggy bank to one day smash it open and splurge on that trip that will take you overseas. It is the ambition that keeps you away from those money sucking activities like going out to the bar or other events and keeps you at home saving for that adventure that may be months or years down the road.
This ambition is what drives a traveler to know their ultimate goal and to steer in that direction without getting to far off the road at any given time. It is a difficult road to follow at times, but is it ever worth it in the end.
If you possess these three qualities, you are most likely what we would define as a traveler. Though you also have to travel to be a traveler. Getting out there into the world to fulfill your curiosity is one of the best ways to gain that first-hand knowledge of the places around you. To adventure into a world that is not yours is necessary to understand more about the world around you. And having that ambition to be a traveler is required in order to in fact be considered a traveler.
Oh travel. How we love you so much.
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