Updated on June 12, 2010
Three Types of Travelers
While Sand and I were in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay at El Diablo Tranquilo we got to meet so many interesting people. I love to people watch in general, but also really enjoyed sitting around and talking with guests, going out to dinner with guests, and just sipping maté together. These memories are some of my best from our trip to Uruguay.
1. Those who love to dream about traveling. I didn’t understand this at first; why would someone say that they would love to travel but then give tons of excuses as to why they couldn’t? Honestly, I was so perplexed by the responses that I got from some of my friends and family when I told about going to Uruguay. Many people told me about how they would love to travel someday but couldn’t see it in the near future for so many reasons. They have to work, have school payments, want to go home, and many others.
I realized through reading Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist why this happens; someone can need to hold onto the notion or dream more than actually achieve it. Having a dream can give more meaning to someone than actually achieving it, so it must continue to be only a dream.
2. Those who travel through guides; those who make sure to get all of the tourist sights in and go by the guidebook completely. This is how I have traveled before and how most Americans that I know do travel. It is very easy, fairly simple, and you cannot learn anything new that you couldn’t have learned in a textbook. Really this type of traveling is putting 3-D pictures into the heads of tourists and these pictures will only serve to help remember facts that have been previously read.
This type of traveling is definitely the only way to do it for some people. It is well planned out and you will pretty much always know what you will be doing, where you will be going and most likely have a guide around who is bilingual so you will not need to worry about learning a new language. This is also definitely how my Mom wants me to travel because of the predictability it offers.
3. Those that want more of an “organic experience” and try to avoid the tourist sights. This type of traveling is much more ambiguous than either of the previous experiences. For some travelers, this means complete avoidance of the tourist spots and to strive only to talk with locals and to try to learn the sentiment of the “real” country, essentially not what the tourist would see.
For Sand and I, this means seeing some of the tourist sights, pretty much the ones we thought would be interesting, and then also going out of our way to see parts of Uruguay that aren’t tourist destinations. We went to some museums, but also went to other more out of the way places. We learned a lot about Uruguay from our friend Ricardo and learned to speak some Castellano from those in Punta del Diablo.
For Sand and I, just going to Uruguay with a loose plan was the perfect way to travel. We got to do exactly what we wanted and did not have an itinerary to abide by. We also had such a flexible schedule that we could easily pick everything up and find a bus to a different town, go wandering around the streets of Montevideo, or even stick around in Uruguay to play receptionist at a hostel.
Everybody has different styles of travel and variations with what they feel comfortable with. And although I sometimes wonder how someone can need to wish to travel more than actually do so, I also know that not everyone can travel. So if you are going to travel, good luck and I wish you well; if traveling is not for you, then thank you for making it possible for me.