I Love You, but Please Don't Visit
Hmmm a controversial subject. Let me start by saying that this is not a grumpy post about how much I hate having visitors. Let me just say that Mike, Ali, Ruth, Hannah, Lucy.....this is NOT aimed at you. You were all the perfect guests...although Midge, I am writing this prior to seeing you so perhaps you will be terrible. You are a horror after all ;) That being said, let the grumpyness begin in earnest.
We have been lucky enough to have a nice stream of visitors come and stay with us in Koh Tao so far and honestly, it's awesome to have that nice connection with home. It's also awesome when people bring you gifts...which so far, everyone has!
The thing that is a little difficult, is the difference in expectations On both parts.
Have you ever had a friend move to the other side of the world, to somewhere more exotic and seen it as an opportunity to have a holiday? I totally have. There's nothing wrong with that in theory. What is a little trickier, is when you completely forget that those lucky, lucky friends have jobs and a life and priorities that help them to stay in said tropical paradise.
But you want a holiday right? Right. I do too. I've been guilty of it in the past, for sure, but having been on the receiving end of visitors who expect you to suspend your daily reality to essentially be their tour guide for a couple of weeks, I never will again.
There is something incredibly frustrating at having someone ask you what the plan is for today, tomorrow, the next week....as if it is your job to act as their personal concierge service. It's also tricky when, for example, you don't want to eat, drink and party to excess because you have to work every day.....that's how you afford to live in paradise.
Something pretty interesting, is when people come and stay with you in the midst of their travels.....because I think that there is a difference between a 'traveller' and a 'tourist'. I know that sounds snobby and elitist.....but let me redeem myself.
Sometimes I am a tourist, sometimes I'm a traveller. It totally depends. On our recent visa run to Malaysia, I can happily say that I have been a total tourist - with a start & end date to our trip and minimal flexibility.
When you are travelling though, especially when you are a solo traveller, I do think you have a level of independence and confidence that means you will just get on with your day....and do what you fancy. When Ruth came to stay - she crashed on our sofa for about 10 days and you wouldn't even know she was there....apart from the gifts she brought us, cleaning she did and general fun we had. She was as happy to do nothing by herself as she was scootering around the island and meeting up with us when we were free. It was awesome.
But it is rarely as easy as that, in my experience, and I am VERY reticent about anyone else coming to visit. For one, our plans can change in a rapid fashion. That's why we live the lifestyle we do - for the freedom to leave a lace if we get bored.
So if someone books a flight, and wants you to confirm your plans 4 weeks in advance (which isn't unreasonable at all!) then it becomes a little stressful when you have realised you quite fancy joining some friends on a trip to Cambodia...or whatever.
So, going forward, I LOVE YOU ALL, but maybe see you at yours?
What do you think? Is there a difference between a traveller and a tourist?