I'm a Traveler, Not a Tourist

I'm a Traveler, Not a Tourist

This post is inspired by MG, who never lacks travel stories or lemonade.

"I'm a traveler, not a tourist." It is a phrase that has crossed my lips many times as I try to convince others (and myself) that I am still adventurous and perhaps more courageous than I feel. A traveler, by my definition, is someone who tries to see the world through the eyes of the locals and, though not unafraid, dares to venture out of her comfort zone to experience the world outside her little box.

Some travelers have home bases, from which they work and save in order to satisfy their wanderlust, and some travelers are nomadic by nature and endlessly travel the world in search of meaning or opportunities or perhaps just thrills. It is an exciting life, right?

I have experienced life on the road for months at a time. There was an independence that many do not know and an ability to move to the next beautiful place with not more than a day's notice, meeting new adventure partners in each location. I filled many a travel journal with memories of everything that I tasted and felt and saw, and I faced fears that I did not know that I had. But there was also a loneliness and disconnectedness that is carefully curated out of the mainstream media.

I have also experienced what it is like to set down roots, having a home base from which to save for the next adventure. I have found a community that feels like family and an island home that looks like a postcard. However, I admittedly have a tendency to slip into a wanderlust-filled daydream, become discontent with my physical limitations, and idealize what it would be like to travel again and immerse myself in all the new tastes and sights and sounds.

Perhaps the secret to it all is finding balance and learning to be content with where we are. After all, we can't be everywhere and do everything at once, even though I have tried to. And I have come to realize that it isn't even worth it. Everyone is as different as their stories, and if every story was the same, the world might just be a very boring place.

So here's to all the travelers, however that may look.


Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.