For some, coming to Chilcotin Holidays is the boldest adventure they have ever embarked on. The act of booking a trip, getting on a plane, and traveling to a foreign place is not difficult . Anyone with a passport can do it. Gaining value from the people and places they interact with is what requires effort. Pico Iyer, a well known travel writer, clearly puts it as, “[P]erhaps the real distinction [between the ‘tourist’ and the ‘traveler’] lies between those who leave their assumptions at home, and those who don’t”. A tourist may go to a faraway place and compare how different it is from home, while a traveler may go to a faraway place and gain value from those same differences.
A traveler finds value from their journey. They actively find ways to participate in the community and the culture they are immersed in. Essentially, a traveler is the protagonist of their own hero’s journey. By becoming the hero of their own journey, the traveler goes through a transformation on their own accord. They have the opportunity to take what they have learned during their journey and be positively changed by it.
A tourist does not take the same approach as the traveler in their journey. A tourist sits back and lounges in the sun while the day passes them by. Instead of being an active participant, a tourist watches the community from the outside, and never fully understands the concepts of the community’s culture. This leads to a tourist feeling dissatisfied and no knowledge was gained in the process.
Venturing into a different community’s culture, the sights, smells, colors, language all may be alien to a traveler, but it is this alienation that is so vital to gaining new perspective and insights. While abroad, travelers make sure to learn as much as one can about a culture, how they communicate, what the general routines are, what are the challenges and how to overcome them, the social structure, all of which defines the culture of the community. A traveler is thrilled to gain this new knowledge and share the knowledge they have with others. “A ‘tourist’ [is described] as ‘…someone who comes to a place and looks around, maybe takes a couple of pictures but doesn’t really do anything with the community. A ‘traveler’ is involved with the community, helping to build the community” according to Leah Mayor, Contributor of LIFE magazine. Becoming an active participant in the culture of a community is a primary difference between a traveler and a tourist.
While travelers are abroad, they are cognoscente that they are also an ambassador of their own culture. At Chilcotin Holidays, this means sharing stories from home while also creating memories with the people at the Ranch. By doing so it creates an opportunity to connect with people; finding commonalities and build on them to learn and understand the differences. During a service trip to Mongolia, Mayor (Contributor of LIFE) wrote in her blog a quote from a fellow participant remarking about what she had gained during her travels: “’I don’t know if cooking, eating, and cleaning, really are the basic steps to personal enlightenment but I do believe that they are at the very heart of connecting to communities that we visit’”
During this adventure, the traveler becomes the hero in their own journey. The hero becomes restless in the mundane daily routine and has a call to action to leave their comfort zone and explore the world. Along the way, the hero encounters many people including mentoring guides, like those at Chilcotin Holidays, who will facilitate opportunities so the hero can then choose their own direction of transformation. The path is sometimes steep and rocky, and the journey may be difficult at times, but through those challenges the hero can grow and learn, becoming a transformed person because of it. They can return home a changed person, ready to live their life as a transformed traveler.
This transformation does not stop when the suitcase is set down at home. By being open to change, this meaningful experience continues to impact the life of a traveler long after the dirt has been cleaned off their boots. Keep a journal, make notes, take photos, write songs, scribble on a napkin so that even when one returns home from Chilcotin Holidays, the powerful transformation that traveling to the Ranch brought them is then not lost, but instead is continued to be maintained and utilized.
Our guest ranch is a foreign place to the majority of people that visit Chilcotin Holidays. How our guests react to the culture, the connections to the people, and the process of transformation defines if they are a tourist or a traveler.
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