I travel a lot, and I have always loved to travel. I’ve simply always done it, especially my family moving around every couple of years, and taking road trips any chance we could. I’ve caught the bug and kept it.
Naturally, when it became time to look for my next job I was very attracted to roles that involved travelling. I imagined finally getting paid to travel – YAY ME! – and being be able to see and experience more places than ever.
Then something interesting happened. I found myself drained, needing and wanting a different type of travel which I hadn’t until now: a holiday, an actual rest.
I discovered quickly that my interests, opportunities and therefore memories of my trips were entirely different from what I had expected since I started doing it for work.
I had a look online, as you do, and saw that many sites go into huge lengths to define types of travellers and help you find out which one you may be. The categories are very varied and seem mostly over-complicated. Every time, however, I found that they can be boiled down to three types of travellers, and it’s pretty easy to tell which one you may be when you go on a trip. You know…there’s no point complicating things with dozens of limited categories.
As I have now had the opportunity to experience all three types I thought I’d share my views on these types of travellers, their experience pitfalls, by which I mean where they may be experiencing a gap in value in their travelling, and some thoughts on how I like to improve my experience when I travel.
Let’s find out now: Which traveller are you?
The three types of travellers and their experience pitfalls
The Discovering Traveller:
This traveller wants to go everywhere they can – heck I want to go on the moon / into space, possibly with Virgin Galactic and even have a savings account for that purpose. You know…
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!
Buzz Lightyear is one of my favourite animated characters ever – just FYI.
They enjoy discovering and experiencing the unknown, and come back with a fresh mind, new perspective and a greater understanding of the world they live in. Once back home, and not necessarily their birthplace, they usually apply their varied inter-cultural life experiences in most if not everything they do. Their holidays may be a physically active one or not, but they are looking for something to feed their soul, an often addictive experience that may even lead to the desire to live on the road long-term, or move every couple of years, for a different life. I believe that discoverers can keep going longer because their enjoyment is fuelled by the constant influx of new information. I don’t think you’d find a discoverer on an organised or group trip unless they had no choice (e.g. North Korea).
Pitfalls I’ve experienced:
- Hiraeth: homesickness for a place that doesn’t exit or to which you cannot return.
- Reverse culture shock and homesickness for a place that is not actually your home.
- Loss of the traditional meaning of home, and potential disconnect with family and those you were closest to prior to your travels.
- Falling in love with a place, and wanting to live there but not being able to do it, or at least not how you would want to. For me that’s Japan, I have been there twice now and while I yearn to go live there for a while I can neither stand the idea of doing it by the usual going to teach abroad route, nor sacrifice myself to any Japan-style salarymen job…especially in a country where the personal sacrifices that come with this type of job are so steep. I’ll tell you about this I promise, and I’ll let you know as I continue to search for a way!
The Resting Traveller:
This traveller wants only one thing: a break from their life yet not necessarily having to adapt to anything new. They have little to no interest in discovering the place(s) they travel to, they just really need time off, and a restful experience to refresh before returning to their life. They might be laying at the hotel pool, at the beach, enjoying a spa and the local cuisine or they could be partying because that’s a great break on its own too, an opportunity to latch out. If they do go and take a look around it’s usually in a very organised fashion, not too active and mainly staying on the tourist paths. At the most they will combine dolce farniente with some exercise…and there’s nothing wrong with that in moderation. It’s a fantastic form of self-indulgence because although you are not getting so involved in another culture or environment, you are essentially cutting ties with everything in your daily life that can trigger stress.
Pitfalls I’ve experienced:
- It’s so hard to come home. So…so hard. In fact everything is hard. Why do I have to do chores, wake up early every day, or do anything at all?
- Detachment from reality or a sense that when you are away you are free and would be happier if you won the lottery and never had to work again…except after a couple of weeks you get so restless you look forward to doing chores again.
- Most people make this mistake: they go with the wrong people! They take all their connections with them on their holiday by checking their phones every two seconds.
The Business Traveller:
The business type is travelling to get something done. They are going somewhere in particular on a limited timeframe, full of all their daily issues but unable to attend to most of their personal concerns while away because things are not that convenient when you’re not home and travelling on someone else’s terms! They are lucky in that they get to see the daily life / working life of the locals in the places they visit, which is often completely hidden to other travellers, but that also means that they don’t get to disconnect or discover. You see, a tourist in either of the other two categories will be able to experience a place as a destination, while the business person gets it as it is, no dressing, brutal reality.
Pitfalls I’ve experienced:
- Business travelling may make you associate the places you travel to with work only, meaning that, although you are exposed to the reality of the places more than a normal tourist through your local co-workers, you are also unable to create your own experience and associate with it on a personal level.
- Because of time constraints most of business travellers don’t have the to see much more than the airport, the hotel and the local offices. As for me, while I travel I find that the neals I pick tend to be high in calories, and the hours are much longer because your daily work gets done when you are done with the work you travelled for… at night.
- Worst case scenario it may make you think that you actually don’t enjoy travelling anymore…until you finally get your next holiday. Rest, be it sleep, the weekend or a holiday is usually a good way to de-clutter your brain.
There’s no simple way to enhance the experience however I find that practising on something creative while I travel for business has a two-fold result: first, it helps a lot with the stress, second, I end up with very interesting results.
For me I tend to have some time entirely to myself in the plane journey. I make it as comfortable as I can, and I write, draw, outline ideas and thoughts, and note these thoughts in a journal. I notice that even though I was not on a resting holiday, and I didn’t discover much, something in my brain was registering useful information and storing it.
For example, I usually get good business ideas while out there because it’s easier to contrast how you live with the way of living where you have travelled. Your brain is on the numbers, on the business side of things which helps you think practically. Hence, it’s good stimulation for skills development also. Most of the time the information I store gets linked up over time and forms into inspiration the next time I have time off and use it creatively.