Thursday, September 4, 2008

Traveler or Tourist?

Every morning when I boot up my computer at work, we get a splash screen with various daily information. Part of it is a "Quote for the Day." I first read the quote for today quickly, but something struck me, and I went back and read it more slowly.

"The traveler sees what he sees.
The tourist sees what he has come to see."
G.K. Chesterton

I'd like to be a traveler, but many times I just wind up being a tourist. When I was in Israel for my first (and so far only) visit while my sister-in-law was getting married, I wanted to travel, but my parents-in-law mostly took us to various places. Some were interesting, but some were just them going down memory lane. My biggest disappointment was at the Kotel. While I was there, I saw the stairs that go up into the old city of Jerusalem. My in-laws had other things they wanted to do, and wouldn't take me up there. Every time I tried to find a chance to go back, they'd have another place they wanted to take us to, or something else we needed to do (I admit, the wedding was important. ;-) ) Towards the end of the visit I finally got a chance to break away from them, and went back to the Kotel. I went up the stairs and saw the many shops and restaurants. It was amazing to behold. I walked around and even up onto some of the walls that surround the city. What a beautiful view! I spent a few hours wandering around, looking at everything. At one point I made a wrong turn and noticed the stores became all Arabic. Something my mother-in-law feared would happen, and would be the end of me. I just turned around and headed back where I came from. No one made any problems. Out of my entire two weeks in Israel, those 4 hours or so are what I remember best.

When I return to Israel again (we are planning a return trip to see my sister- and brother-in-law, plus my niece!) I do want to tour various places, but I hope I'll get some time alone to get into a traveler mode as well. It's a totally different view.

1 comment:

Jacob Da Jew said...

I lived in Israel for 7 years as a teenager but never really went anywhere.

Then I moved back to the US, lived here for anouther 5 years and got married.

Da Wife was a Birthright leader so we went on our honeymoon trip crisscrossing the whole state. From Metulla to Masaada. I saw more of Israel then than when I lived there.