You're going on a vacation a few months from now, but you don't want it to be just another trip, you want it to be a travel experience. You don't want to be a giddy tourist who just keeps on taking pictures. So while you shouldn't break up with your cameras, take time to interact with the following people on your next trip to truly enhance your traveling experience:
This part of the population knows every nook and cranny of the city so go ahead and talk to him to enhance your travel experience. Most of them are pretty chatty and will give you an update on traffic situations. They're experts in determining which flight leaves at what time! They're your living and talking maps so take advantage of the time you're spending in the passenger seat for some road conversation. You won't regret it!
Don't just give them the money to pay for that bottle of water and on-the-road munchies, talk to them. They're mostly the local guide of your current rest stop. On the way to Vegas and passing by Utah? Perhaps there is a gem of a park you can visit to have lunch or a museum with an interesting antique collection. You won't know this unless you ask.
They clean after people's messes so they have so many stories to tell. These anecdotes can be really interesting, from finding a bagful of cash underneath the bed to meeting a ready-for-war wife who discovered her husband with his lover. These people have seen the world in the eyes of travelers and tourists. Same thing goes with your hotel's receptionist or front desk officers too!
Don't you just love the ones who take care of you and your food and make you feel at home in a town that you know nothing about? Waitresses hear the world news while wiping tables. They know the latest trends and the fashion fails from the people walking into the diners or restaurants. They can even predict what you want by just looking. They're mind readers and they're mostly local residents too, so whatever information you want to know apart from what's said in the tourist brochure, ask your waiter/waitress.
So it's their job to be informative and it's your job to ask questions if you're up to an educational experience. Many of these tour guides have undergone trainings and briefings about tourist interaction, but there will always be nuances on the way each one deals with people because of differences in personalities. So...before booking a tour, take time to read reviews and testimonials to know which tour guide offers the best service for someone like you who's looking for more than just photos beside the Emerald Buddha.
Chances are you won't see or meet them again so if you like going out one night to have a drink or two in a pub, strike a conversation with the bartender. He's like the waitress who hears and sees everything. The difference is that he specializes in booze and we know that a shot or two of gin lime isn't at all bad to loosen up those stiff nerves.
Not that you want to bug every single seatmate on a flight, but a quick "hello" might be the only thing that separates the word "traveler" from "tourist." Travelers are storytellers and explorers; tourists take a lot of pictures, selfies usually, to post on social media accounts for the world to see. Got it?
So what are you - a traveler or a tourist?
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