Ok, I've had this inside me for so long now. I need to get it out. I hate tourists (wow, that felt good to say). Yeah, I'm a travel photographer and I hate tourists. Now you might think that I´m a hypocrite, but that is not the case. There is many ways to move around the world.
As a backpacker, journalist, traveler, explorer or, in the worst and lowest way of them all, as a tourist. Let me make the definition of a 'tourist' clear to you. Have you noticed those women wearing head-sets, waving a stick with a colorful flag and being followed by a horde of khaki-dressed beings with wireless audio-receivers plugged in their ears and Hubble-sized tele-lenses and videocameras, aimed in whatever direction the flag-holder is currently pointing?
That, my friends, is a tourist.
Without questioning, they follow someone's lead, consuming everything they are fed about the culture or life of the locals. I´m sure they can go a full vacation without uttering a word to someone (without a flag on a stick or a paddle in their hands) actually born in the country they are in.
I´m sure they've never even thought about the risk that just the fact that they are there is pushing every small shop-owner out of the center, to make room for souvenir shops, new hotels and new tourist attractions.
Even though I spent just one day in Dubrovnik, I already want to come back. Sitting on the main street in Old Town, at half past seven in the morning, watching the sand-colored stone shine from the hundreds of years they've been walked on. Being able to talk to the American couple having their cappuccino on the table next to mine.
Just a few hours later, when the cruise-ships have unloaded their swarms of senior grasshoppers into the city, it is an ordeal. The street is full. Packed. Impossible to get anywhere without bumping into some grumpy, old man turning around hissing to your face when you're trying to apologize. But there is an easy way out. Just take a left. Or a right. Into any of the narrow alleys shooting out from the main path. Empty. Just a few steps from the battle-field you'll find pillows on the stone steps serving as open-air cafés, see the weird and obscene statues made by the hands of the inhabitants living there hundreds of years ago or smell the heavy fumes floating out from the kitchen windows.
But some will never experience that. Because they are too comfortable to take one step off the main road.
Don't be a tourist. 'Cause I will most certainly hate you for it.