If during your trip to another country you dine with pizza, drink Coca-Cola, spend your day connected to social networks via your mobile device and at night you get totally drunk from Heineken with an Australian tourist, then you are taking a break and living for a while with a big gap in regards to your everyday life, something which can be convenient and sometimes even necessary. However, in my opinion you are not traveling, you are on vacation.
Nietzsche said that sometimes, not realizing it, we are having a dramatic impact on certain people with our words and/or behavior towards them. In case of a traveler, you get to know many people in your way and, except for rare occasions, someone we know in the street is going to be just one more that, although perhaps could manage to make us smile, will not play a crucial role for us. Nevertheless, the way we act could surely be unique for them and since they do not have many experiences to compare with, our behavior could be highly relevant to them. Especially, when they try to communicate with hundreds of tourists that ignore them and look away, if we choose to act positively towards them it will play a much greater influence than we can ever imagine. Maybe it will even give them hopes and dreams, but it will certainly empower their self-esteem and provide a bit of joy which they will remember way longer than we will in our memory the tourist sites that we have seen.
In order to go on holiday, it is essential to pick a destination that guarantees spectacular photographs and to be possible with dowry of history which will allow us to move around with the certainty of carrying out a deep cultural activity. Nevertheless, for travelling not only it is not necessary to visit tourist attractions, but sometimes it can even be harmful, since tourism often brings a consumerist and capitalist influence which may destroy the authenticity and uniqueness of the local people, traditions and culture. Contrary to what many people think, travelling is not connected at all with moving away, but with finding a different cultural factor for us from which we can learn and draw something to help us grow, either connected to the people, architectural styles, food or any other thing, as long as we live it from inside respecting it from outside.
To travel is to explore, to discover, to take risks, and for those purposes I suppose it is essential to deal directly with the local culture and people. When we have to live and experience other ways of life, so as to communicate and relate to people who perceive life in a way completely different from ours, we can often feel uncomfortable, but it is thanks to these differences and disagreements that we force ourselves to expand our cultural intelligence and to understand that not only our way of thinking is not the only one, but sometimes not necessarily even has to be the right one.
To travel is an exercise of self-exposure towards the different which has a direct impact on how to respect and understand others, diluting this way stereotypes and destroying ungrounded prejudices.
To clarify, I am not criticizing or praising at all one way or another, for if it is true that traveling is an exercise which often is stressful and sometimes even frustrating, going on vacation is just what some people need to break monotony and to get a long-awaited physical and mental rest. I am just describing and differentiating both styles from a cultural perspective, because after traveling I have referred and come to differentiate these two distinct modes. Do you holiday or travel? Do you rest or discover? It is not the same to go on vacation or to travel. Choose between a suitcase and a backpack ... And fly!