A Traveler’s Road

“What’s your road, man? — holy boy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, 
any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow”

-Jack Kerouac, On The Road

I once read a post in a website about what define a traveler. It said that a traveler is someone who always yearn for a new experience; someone who truly lives like the locals instead staying in five-star hotels, who sneer at people who bring around Lonely Planet books and instead travel around as the wind blows. It also said that it sad to think that many “backpackers” are a youth looking for a cheap beer in a tropical country and drunk and party all the time on a beach. That a traveler should do this, a  traveler shouldn’t do that.

I never thought there are so many rules to be a traveler :s

I agree with the first description, though. A traveler is someone who always looking for a new experience, even in the home country. If you are a person who always try something new and curious about a new culture, customs, people, or places, I think that you have a traveler’s trait.

What about traveling and living like locals do? Living like a local, in my opinion, means to pay room rent, to go to the bank once a month and to do other “boring” stuff like pay taxes and commute to work everyday. Go to a local market and drive around with a xe om doesn’t mean you living like a local. You’ll never know how to live like a local unless you stay for a few months in one place, working and pay rent there.

It also makes me sad that there are a “veteran” traveler who complaint about a new wave of traveler that was brought to places because of the popularity of Lonely Planet or any other guide books. I definitely don’t work for Lonely Planet or any other guide books company, but I do find them useful. These “veteran” traveler complains about how a virgin beach suddenly become crowded with tourist just because it was listed in the guide books or websites. Well, it can’t be helped! The world today surely is different from the world a decade ago, where information about a place is not a few clicks away. Nowadays people can simply type “Places to go in xxx country” and they would find the pristine lake and virgin beach and the so called “road less traveled”.

I usually drink when I’m traveling… Enough to let my mind relax, but not so much that I became a happy go lucky tourist that goes drunk 12 hours a day and hang out in a bar all night looking for a party and loud music. I enjoy talking and sharing stories… I enjoy a quiet night, just staring at Hoan Kiem lake, drowning in my own thought. I enjoy being curious in a different culture and to discuss it with the people.

Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

At the end of the day, I personally think it depends of each person of what kind of traveler that they want to be. If you like drinking and partying, sure you can go to (for example) Bangkok to enjoy cheap beers and loud music, but please still be respectful of  a local people and custom, keep it tidy and clean. If you like luxury and got the money for it why not book a five star hotels instead of a dorm room along with 10 other people, but please still respect other people and be humble. If you like “old style” traveling and doesn’t like guide books, good for you, but know that some of us doesn’t have as much time to go traveling and have to allocate the time efficiently.

A traveler is free, and also free to define his road in traveling… What’s your road? 🙂

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