So, I woke up today browsing my feed in facebook. I got into this foreigner’s question in a travel group where he asked the opinion of members about this specific food being served in one of the fastfood chain in the country, Philippines. And while reading the comments, I can’t believe my eyes with the words that comes from some of the members so called “opinion”. Until I realized, not all who travels are travelers.
I have high respect to people who knows how to regards and respect others opinion too. But using harsh words like gross, crap, dirt, trash and garbage to describe the local’s food is unacceptable. In as much as I don’t want to think deeper than that, it always seem synonymous with saying people who eats those kinds of food eats gross, crap, dirt, trash and garbage food too. C’mon! Can we just say “we don’t like it” or “i prefer something else” or “the beef is dry” or “soup is salty” or “not something that I will eat again”. I mean, those might be better words to directly imply your dissatisfaction rather than using words of insult and putting much exaggeration on things. Food preferences differ per person even on people living in the same country or community or even at home. Your palate may not satisfy you on something other people enjoy and that is totally okay (well, as long as it is not harmful for human consumption). The taste of food whether it is delicious or not is a very subjective statement. It should not be biased, it should not be discriminated. What’s a great food for Mr. Ramsay may not taste good for you. The same with other food bloggers, writers and food critics. People never eats trash in the first place. That’s for sure.
This is one thing I appreciate when travelers are asked about their opinion on places they’ve been to. Be it with people, be it with food, their culture, way of life, travelers knows how to respect locals and other nationalities because travelers are explorers. They go places because they want to experience the world, the life of others, see majestic and unimaginable beautiful places and see how each region is unique from each other and that includes trying local dishes, delicacies and food in general. Food is a big part of culture. And culture is one big thing travelers are interested with.
When you go to Bangkok and you asked a local about their Buddhist temple out of curiosity, you are a traveler. If you go to Bangkok with the sole intention of getting a photo with the Buddhist temple on the background for your instagram feed’s sake, you are a tourist.
The keywords about travelers being travelers are explore and respect. They know how to appreciate things even if they don’t personally agree on them whenever they encounter one in between trips. Travelers knows how to adjust on situations without acting like spoiled brats who insists on french fries when rice and adobo are the only option served on the table. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying being called a tourist is a bad term. It is just my personal opinion to use the word tourist to describe those who wants to go places and see beautiful sceneries without digging deeper into that local place’s culture. Travelers on the other hand are wanderers.
To travel is to explore holistically. This is probably my best definition of what a real traveler is. We all live in different parts of the world. Each country has their own unique and proud moments of what they can offer to foreigners be it a traveler or a tourist. But wherever you may go, you have to be the one to adjust. Respect the locals, enjoy the view, eat whatever your tastebuds would like but never make harsh comments and descriptions. Nobody in this world would wants to be declared as a persona non grata anyway.