A tourist is somebody who does not know where he was and whom he met. A traveler is somebody who does not know where he is going to and whom he will meet. I am a 55-year old traveler, and I prefer to hitchhike and to stay with people who offer free accommodation. It is fun, and you meet interesting people every day.
That is very cool. Do you ever get to plan where you "tour"? I think it would be very hard for me to just "travel" I like to be in some control of what I am doing... but I think it is awesome that you do!
"Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans." (John Lennon) I just let it go! Yesterday I made a "plan" to hitchhike about 400km from Linkoping to Ystad in Sweden and I had no couch to surf for the night. A lady who had picked me up when I was hitchhiking offered me a couch late in the evening, but then a truck driver picked me up and gave me a ride for 270 km. I made 410km that day but I ended up at a petrol station near Lund where I spent the night in the open in my sleeping bag. This morning I made 70km from Lund to Ystad from where I took a ferry to Denmark where a couch was waiting for me. I had a lot of fun and interesting conversations with this lady, the truck driver and some people I met during the night at the petrol station (including 2 policemen) but I arrived 17 hours later in Denmark. Everything went according to "plan"!
You could write your first hub on "couch surfing". I believe that's what it's called. There is a whole community of couch surfers and they have a pretty large website with people from all over the world.
I am an active couch surfer, and couch surfing is an important part of my travels. I just completed about 5000km hitchhiking during a trip through (until now) 7 countries (Lithuania/Latvia/ Estonia/Finland/Norway/Sweden/Denmark), and I surfed 12 couches for 28 days.
i travel with my mind first...haha....but seriously....travel with mind first is important because is better for you to do some research before you start travel....those info that you've got in your research will be very useful during your tour....
Though I enjoy visiting friends, I don't like to have my "journeys" planned out for me. That is to say I don't look to friends for accommodation. I like to have to do stuff on my own, that's how I travel.
I agree with Marshall, even when I visit close to home, I have to get out an explore - walking and driving tours of back country roads, shops and restaurants are always interesting. When I'm out of the country, I do most of my exploring on walking tours but too much planning leaves me feeling overwhelmed and turns into a tourist trip rather than a traveler - I don't really "know" the area where I've been.
I stopped hitchhiking in 2002 after about 30 years and 60000 km on the road, and some month ago I got very itchy feet when I hitchhiked 20 km, so I decided to make this trip around the Baltic Sea. My feet are still itching, and I have some other ideas for the future, maybe I can help you to do something against your itching feet - join me if you want!
It is the journey that is important, not the destination. . . so it does not really matter where you go. What matters is what you experience. Most people travel so that they can boast about where they have been, to collect photographs and souvenirs. Real travellers collect experiences/adventures and make friends along the way.
Also, travelling "to get away from it all" really doesn't work, because . . . "Wherever you go, there you are".