Ah, the age-old debate: what exactly is the difference between a tourist and a traveler? Is it all about the way they dress? The way they take photos? Or is there something deeper at play here? As a self-proclaimed expert in all things travel-related (I mean, I once navigated the Tashkent metro in Uzbekistan system without getting lost – that has to count for something, right?), I feel it is my duty to shed some light on this important topic.

What is the difference between a tourist and a traveler?

Let’s start with the basics. A tourist is someone who visits a place for a short period of time, usually with the intention of seeing the main attractions and checking off items on their bucket list. They tend to stick to the well-trodden tourist paths, snapping photos of famous landmarks.. Think matching fanny packs, oversized hats, and a constant fear of missing out on the next big thing.

On the other hand, a traveler is someone who seeks out authentic experiences, immersing themselves in the local culture and traditions of a place. They are the ones who venture off the beaten path, forging connections with locals and discovering hidden gems that most tourists never even knew existed. Travelers are all about living in the moment and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Traveling is sharing!

We are Humanist Travel Photographers

Now, where do we, as humanist travel photographers, fit into all of this? Well, we like to think of ourselves as the bridge between tourists and travelers. We give our guests the opportunity to not just see a place, but to truly experience it. We believe that the heart and soul of a destination lies in its people, and so we strive to connect our guests with locals in meaningful ways. Our local knowledge gives us opportunity to optimize your visit, photograph and meet real people.

So, picture this: As you wander through the Angkor temples during our Cambodia Classic Photo Tour, you can’t help but chuckle at the sea of selfie sticks and identical Instagram poses. It is like a real-life game of Where’s Waldo, except Waldo was replaced with a million tourists in matching elephant pants. But just when you think you had seen it all, you end up in one of our “hidden” monastery where you find yourself face-to-face with a group of monks in their bright orange robes. You quickly whip out your camera, feeling like a National Geographic photographer on a mission to capture the elusive monks. Who needs the same old temple selfies when you can have a “private” monk photoshoot?

Being at the right place at the right time

Being at the right place at the right time, 2 minutes away from thousands of tourists taking selfies…

Being at the right place at the right time

Ask yourself. What do we usually remember from a place? Is it the famous landmarks or more the people we met along the way? The kind old woman who shared her local skills weaving baskets every single day of her life, the man who brought back home with his son his buffaloes, the children who laughed and played with us despite the language barrier. These are the moments that stay with us long after we’ve returned home.

Basket weaving in Cambodia

So, whether you consider yourself a tourist, a traveler, or something in between, remember this: it’s not about how many countries you’ve checked off your bucket list or how many passport stamps you’ve collected. It’s about the connections you make, the stories you share, and the memories you create. And hey, if you happen to snap a few selfies along the way, that’s okay too!

We encourage you to share a memorable story from one of your trips with us. Your insight would be greatly appreciated.