As a traveler, I've always been delighted by age-old traditions that take place here in…
Tourist has evolved into a dirty word.
Ask anyone who enjoys traveling the following question: are you a traveler or a tourist? Of course, everyone wants to think of themselves as the former, not the fanny pack-wearing latter. Well, I am proud to say that after 15 years of travel to 64 countries, I am and will always be part tourist.
Want proof? Here’s my most embarrassing tourist habit by far. After a week or so of being in another country, I crave a burger. A local guide will interpret my craving as a need for a fancy burger. Not so.
I don’t want a big juicy 100-percent beef burger. I want a down and dirty, all-American fast food burger. I want Burger King. You know what I’m talking about: a burger that doesn’t come on a plate. One that must be retrieved from inside a bag. One that I deeply regret eating after I wolf the whole value meal down in under five minutes.
To be honest, this craving isn’t always after I’ve been in a country for a week. Sometimes, I want that Whopper a few days in, when I’m still suffering from jet lag, I’m starving and god help me if I have to decipher a menu or try to sound coherent to a waiter. I’m in no mood for an aptitude test. I just want to eat Burger King.
Of course a “traveler” would never succumb to something so…tacky. Yet here I am. And this blog is in celebration of those touristy ways, whether it’s partaking in the obvious and clichéd, being goofy like stopping to see every roadside attraction on Route 66 or just doing something because it’s freakin’ convenient (hello, Burger King).
In honor of summer and the freedom from seriousness it allows, let’s embrace the fun, the hokey, the pure innocence and unpretentiousness of being a tourist.
Here are some of my favorite touristy habits:
1. Ordering a daiquiri and really liking it.
2. Spending more time in the museum shop than the museum.
3. Composing a shot so that it looks like you are pushing against or picking up something iconic like the Leaning tower of Pisa. Or in my case, an unsuspecting panda bear.
4. Ordering the food item on the menu that is “famous.”
5. Collecting state refrigerator magnets, iron on patches or t-shirts. Or all of the above.
Okay, your time to come clean, what’s the most embarrassing touristy thing you do?
photo by Alan Cordova.