What makes someone a traveler?

It started as an identity crisis. I had called myself a traveler. But as the conversation carried on, I started to wonder: am I? It’s been nearly nine months since I’ve been on what I consider a “real” trip. And over a year since I’ve been out of the country. Pregnancy, a newborn and other life events have slowed me down a bit. Have I lost my ‘traveler’ title? Is it a part of my personality, or a qualification based only on mileage?

 I decided to ask some fellow travelers what exactly makes someone a traveler. Here’s what these 10 bloggers had to say:

A traveler cares about the journey

“It’s not about the miles you walk or fly, but the adventure along the way. A true traveler soaks in the world around, takes note of what they see and looks forward to what’s over the next hill.” – LeahKidbucketlist.com.au

“To me, a traveler is anyone who HAS to see what’s over the next horizon, even if it’s just the next block over.” – MriLifelongvagabonds.com

“I prefer to do my research from a tourist point of view, and then explore the place at my own leisure, keeping the information just as a reference. It’s the small unmentioned things that bring the most joy, and that’s what traveling is all about, rather than just ticking off everything off the sightseeing list.” – ArnavTheetlrblog.com

“A traveler is a person who enjoys the journey instead of the destination. It doesn’t matter where you are going or how famous the place is, but it depends on how you are going—the journey, the milestones you are passing through. The journey is never ending, because for a real traveler, the destination never comes. There may be a few stops, but they continue on and look for the next thing.” – Yukti, Travelwithme247blog.com

A traveler seeks to know a place deeply

“We are all travelers, whether that falls into the tourist category in some people’s minds. In the end, it’s about seeing and experiencing new things, no matter how we do that. And that’s what should be celebrated.” – MarkWyldfamilytravel.com

“I never go for tour packages. Taking care of your needs all by yourself on the road makes you a traveler.” – Gokul, Plansavetravel.com

“Traveling is not about the number of places one has visited. Travel should be about seeking the cultural, historical and social significance of the places one has visited. It’s not just merely looking and marveling at the destination, it’s about getting to know the place more profoundly.” – IvanIvankhristravels.com

A traveler craves adventure

“A traveler is someone who seeks to immerse themselves in local culture as much as possible. A traveler is someone who is truly curious about the people they encounter in different places, who listens with an open mind. It means trying the street food and eating with the locals at that neighborhood “restaurant” with no English menus. A traveler goes out of their way to support the local economy instead of taking the easy way out and staying only in familiar places like brand name hotels. It’s the opposite of the vacation/tour packages where your experience takes place in a 100% controlled environment.” – Rute, Usxworld.com 

“It’s even the person who has never had the chance to catch a plane abroad but has traveled to many places in their imagination, through books, Google Earth, or speaking with foreigners.” – Rute

“For me, a traveler isn’t just someone who goes abroad and sees sights. A traveler is an adventurer, a person who lives for experiences, a person to whom material possessions are meaningless. A traveler is someone who goes abroad to learn, to understand and to immerse themselves.” Suzie, Thewanderinglinguist.com

“A traveler is the kind of person who gets an electric feeling inside their bones knowing they’re a thousand miles from anything they know.” – Suzie

“A ‘traveler’ is anyone that finds great joy in venturing from home and experiencing something new. They’re excited about seeing new places or discovering new cultures, and spending time dreaming about their next destination, even when they know their next trip won’t be for a while. I don’t think someone needs to have taken various trips around the world to call themselves a ‘traveler.’ They just have to have a passion for exploring and an interest in other cultures!” – Alicia, Trilingual-traveler.com 

“Travelers have open minds and are willing to see what the whole world has to offer.” – Alicia

What we think:

Scott says the frequency and duration of travel matter. “If you just take a cruise once a year, that’s not a traveler. It’s too easy. It’s just a vacation, a short break. To me, a traveler is someone who goes and sees and does things that might not be convenient. They take any free time they can get and they go. It’s on their mind constantly.”

For us, travel is part of a lifestyle choice. We’d rather eat sandwiches in a new place than a fancy dinner at home. It’s not about relaxing on a deluxe vacation, it’s about seeing the world.

For me (Anna), that’s what it comes down to: a mindset, a way of setting your priorities. To me, a traveler is someone who prefers newness to routine, the unknown to familiarity—whether that newness is a few miles down the road or across the world.

There is no one qualification though. We can all define ourselves in a number of ways. So as long as my chronic cabin fever sticks around, I believe I will call myself a traveler. 

What do you think? Who is a traveler? Do you call yourself one?

A huge thank you to the wonderful travel bloggers who contributed to this post! Check out their blogs for more of their travel experiences.