Throughout my childhood, my imagination was captivated by stories of adventuresome individuals and their discoveries of distant lands. My fascination was certainly brought to life when at age 10, I was able to be part of a transoceanic voyage from South America through the west coast of Africa, to the Canary Islands all the way to Scandinavia and finally arriving at the Port of Hamburg (ger. Hamburger Hafen), Germany. This seafaring adventure was one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me. Thus, such early experience was the pivotal element in fostering my love for travel and a yearning to see the world.
My travel’s recollections compel me to make a distinction between two words: “traveler” and “tourist.” In my opinion, there is a remarkable divide between these two terms and paradigms. Dictionary definitions state that a traveler is: “a person who travels, or has traveled in distant places or foreign lands.” I would further speculate that a traveler is a person who journeys for an extended interlude of time, and who has the curiosity and perhaps the courage to experience different cultures, lands, tastes, and smells etc. Thus, the traveler’s discoveries evolve with each experience as every place has its own unique “language” for communicating their story and authenticity.
In contrast, the word tourist has been defined as: “as person who visits a place; a vacationer.” The term may imply a short cycle of time and a brief encounter with culture. It seems that the aim here is not necessarily to engage with the new surroundings or customs. Rather, the essence of this experience is based on pleasant instances where nominal cultural exchanges are the norm.
In retrospect, I have followed both paradigms intuitively by tailoring the best approach to circumstances of the journey. Thus, with a camera in hand, I have aimed to re-frame the visual dialogues that have generously dwelled within my personal chronicles. However, in my heart, I will always be a traveler whose memories remain souvenirs of time, places, individuals, cultures and incidents that are relevant to me. These have enriched my soul while educating my senses and intellect to cherish with passion a montage of memorable explorations and discoveries.