Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Tourist versus Traveller

I've always maintained that a tourist is someone who knows what they're going to see - a traveller is someone who pokes about, looks down blind alleys, follows false trails, and occasionally finds something.

But I found another definition in Malcolm Bradbury's novel 'Doctor Criminale'.

"There are no travellers now, only tourists. A traveller comes to see a reality that is there already. A tourist comes only to see a reality invented for him, in which he conspires."

Tourism is a big industry - and it's  an industry which has falsification at its heart. We see what we're meant to see. We see what we're *allowed* to see.

Perhaps that's why the moments when we break through that barrier are so rewarding. When we find another human being we can talk to as chance acquaintances, not as tourist-and-provider - when the relationship stops being economic and becomes friendship.

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