Turn Right at Machu Picchu, by Mark Adams, has my attention presently. Adams tells his story of traveling the Machu Picchu area in Peru, with an antisocial Australian survivalist and several Quechua-speaking, coca-chewing mule tenders as his guides. Adams writing is funny, strong, and sensitive to the multifarious characters this world provides.
I’m not going to go into the details of the book. But, I want to share with you when Adams distinguished between being a traveler and being a tourist.
A lot of times, we use the words “traveler” and “tourist” interchangeably. Which is fine. But, travelers have been slotted as people who try to immerse themselves in the local culture. Whereas tourists tend to stay in their comfort zones.
Travelers crave wandering the unfamiliar and crossing paths of the unknown. They want to meet new people unlike themselves. They want to learn phrases in different languages. They don’t mind a change of plans, if they even have plans. They come home with a broadened worldview and a deeper consciousness.
A tourist, well, they stick to plans and rules. They take pictures of themselves in front of all the popular sites. They tick off all the places they’ve seen as if the journey was a competition. They want to sleep in clean sheets and wear makeup. They come home with souvenirs.
I thought of this in relation to my spiritual journey. Am I a traveler, or a tourist?
Do I crave the unfamiliar? Do I want to become familiar with the unknown?
If I don’t, I only repeat yesterday’s consciousness, yesterdays mantra, yesterdays inspiration.
I can reverse this.
Even if I repeat yesterday’s human routine, I still can mind travel into a new, more spiritual consciousness. I can become more familiar with love and spirit. I can turn right at divine Mind and take in the view of infinite Life.