Intentional Tourist

Galapagos Islands

Isabela, Galapagos Islands, November 2011.

I’ll be the first to admit.  I’m a tourist.

Places become touristy for good reason.  Usually prompted by popularity whether it’s historical, magical, scenic, fun or quirky.  People will often flock to see the same thing because we all want to experience something cool, interesting or Facebook-worthy.  I too wanted to see Buckingham Palace, the Great Wall of China, Tsukiji Fish Market and the Galapagos islands.  I wanted my picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Green Monster, Hawaii’s volcanoes, Niagara Falls, Old Trafford and Prague’s Charles Bridge.  All touristy.  All worth it.

There’s no rule that says you have to go off the beaten path.  There’s nothing wrong with indulging in that tourist trap.  Many of us have similar items on our bucket lists because we don’t want to miss out on something that’s already been experienced by another tourist.

Many of my trips were initially conceptualized from a book, magazine article, photograph or movie – a place that someone else discovered and found worthy enough to capture in print or video.

For some, traveling is centered around a hobby, family reunion, conference, sport, or some type of activity that brings like-minded people together.  People are willing to go somewhere if there’s a mutual passion and shared interest.  It’s human nature.

Traveling can be a light-hearted spontaneous road-trip or a serious choreographed undertaking.  Regardless of the reason, it’s intention that makes the journey worth planning, living and experiencing.  Being honest with yourself and the why and what of any quest is all that matters.

Eiffel Tower


I stress a lot about discovery, identity and trying something new or seeing something different in this blog.  It’s what I value.  What I fail to mention is the importance of being honest with yourself first and coming to terms with your own #truth in all things – whether it’s traveling or not.  

I have no shame in calling myself a #tourist.  According to Merriam-Webster, I take pleasure in visiting places.  It could be the new Relish cafe around the corner or seeing the sakura in bloom at the Shofuso Japanese House in Philly.  I could be off to New York or an African safari.  Wherever it may be, I go with desire and purpose.  I’m a tourist, an intentional one.


2 thoughts on “Intentional Tourist

  1. Joanne

    Great article. I think “Intentional Tourist” should be a new internet meme.

    I’ve had to learn not to feel guilty about taking a vacation where I just want to relax in an outdoor café for the afternoon rather than run around to see every little cultural nugget a destination has to offer. Sometimes it IS okay to let life pass by.


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