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Posted by on Sep 30, 2010 | 0 comments |

Tourist vs. Traveller vs. Backpacker vs. Flashpacker vs. Expat vs. Location Independent Professional

Tourist, traveller, backpacker, flashpacker, expat and location independent professional – do you know which one is what, and, more importantly, do you know exactly what are you? These words are similar and overlap at times, but differences still exist, and I’ll try to straighten them up below.

According to several dictionaries, tourist is:

‘One who travels for pleasure.thefreedictionary.com

‘A person who makes a tour, esp. for pleasure.’ yourdictionary.com

‘A person who is travelling or visiting a place for pleasure.oxforddictionaries.com

They are distinguished by being part of tour groups, going to the main attractions and sightseeings of a place, and passing only through the surface of the culture and customs. Tourists are being taken care of by tour guides and tourist companies. Here’s what Daniel J. Boorsin, an American historian, professor, attorney and writer, said about the tourist:

“The traveller was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes ‘sight-seeing.'”

Let’s see now what is out there for traveller:

‘A person who travels, esp habitually.thefreedictionary.com

‘One who travels or has traveled, as to distant places.yourdictionary.com

Traveller is someone who gets deeper  into the culture and experience the authenticity of the place. He avoids the popular tourist attractions and blends in with the locals in order to get to know them and their lives better.

But how does the traveller differ from the backpacker?

‘A backpacker is someone, especially a young person without much money, who travels around an area on foot or with public transport, often carrying a backpack.’ macmillandictionary.com

He tries to experience the local life as he lives along with its inhabitants for awhile. He always looks for the lowest cost accomodation, food, way of getting around, etc. regardless of the quality of service and product he gets in return. He is also known for working jobs abroad such as fruit picking, farm work, etc. in order to finance his travels. He drinks beer, likes the freedom to wonder around and go to the outbacks of a country, and he is fine sleeping in a hostel one night, and outside on a bench on the next. He is not necessarily young, but definitely adventurous.

The flashpacker, is, according to one definition, ‘a flashier version of a backpacker who keeps costs down by taking trains and group carriers, but spends a little more dough by staying at single room hostels with more amenities.’ thetravelist.net

In other words, he doesn’t necessarily always get the cheapest accommodation. He likes the comfort and is usually all wired with gadgets such as lap top, iPod, bluetooth headphones, and many more, and finds ways to stay connected to the Internet all the time.

The expat is:

A person who lives outside their native country.oxforddictionaries.com

‘One who has taken up residence in a foreign country.’ thefreedictionary.com

‘A person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing or legal residence.’ wikipedia.org

The expat, on the other hand, is often confused with the immigrant because they both live in a foreign country for a long period of time. But, while the expat chooses to leave for professional and personal needs, and desire to explore another country, the immigrant moves abroad as a last resort.

Lastly, the location independent professional can travel freely because his job does not require him to be in one particular location: ‘Location independent professionals frequently work as freelance writers, photographers, affiliate marketers, web designers, web developers, graphic designers, and sometimes they simply pick up odd jobs as they travel, such as teaching English.’ wikipedia.org

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