I’m not being funny, although it does sound that way. I grew up in a tourist trap, an old, backwaters little town that was dependent on its tourist traffic and its distilleries, and even though we needed those out-of-towners to maintain the place, there was a certain lack of appreciation for them. To be a “tourist” carries a social stigma—they drive too slowly because they don’t know the roads, they stand and gawk at things that you pass by every day, they ask questions, just way too many questions. Locals might need tourists, but that doesn’t mean they have to like ‘em.
Turn that situation around though. There are benefits to being the tourist, not least of which is the mentality that you should experience life to the fullest because you’re on a timetable. Isn’t this true of life though, that we only have it for a limited amount of time? And yet that “time is precious” mentality isn’t something we take into consideration on a daily basis.
Thinking like a tourist teaches you to…
- Operate under a timetable (live like you were dying)
If you take a week-long cruise, you know the hours you will spend abroad will be finite; you will only have so much time at each port, so much time on the ship. You love your room, but who wants to sleep when there’s so much more happening?
- Care a little less about the money
Yes, you should plan, and yes you should be as frugal as possible, but there’s little point in hoarding your wealth for tomorrow at the expense of your happiness today. You don’t know that you have a tomorrow.
- Absorb every moment, even the small details, like you’ll never be here again
…Because you never will be here again.
- Let the bad roll
Don’t stress. Don’t hold onto the ugly that comes your way; you’re on a timetable, remember? You don’t have time for it, and you certainly don’t have time to pass it along to others.
- Appreciate different lifestyles and different cultures
You’re visiting in this world, period, just like everyone else. Why waste time and brain cells trying to prove that your world is more valid than another when you can just marvel in the fact that we are different?