You can call a traveler by many names, but please don't call them a tourist.
Travelers see the world in a different way than tourists, and from many of us in general. They've tackled enough adventures, met enough people and weathered enough ups and downs to permanently change their outlook... for the better.
1. Travelers see the best in places, people and things.
A crowded airport terminal is unpleasant, yes. But a true traveler is the person who finds a cozy corner, settles down with a book and makes a friend or two.
2. They know how to move through life slooowly.
Speaking of airport terminals, travel requires a LOT of waiting. And a LOT of going without phone connectivity, and a LOT of living day-to-day life in cultures that aren't as plugged-in as our own. Travelers respect the process behind a good cup of coffee or the benefits of a long walk by the lake.
3. They dwell in the present.
Without constant cellphone chatter or flustered office environments, many travelers are more prone to experience what's going on around them right now.
4. They're unafraid of change, because they know who they are.
You can drop everything and move to Thailand for a year, only if you know yourself at your core. Travelers have an especially strong sense self, and they know what they want.
5. They see life as adventures to be had, not time to be passed.
To a traveler, life isn't about "getting married by X age" or "landing a job by Y year." They see the world as one big, open vat of activities to pursue, not as a rigid timeline.
6. They know they're just one small drop in a BIG ocean.
There's something about those awestruck moments -- standing on the edge of a canyon or diving between two continents -- that make you realize, permanently, how tiny you are. And that perspective serves travelers well throughout all of life's journeys.
7. They don't subscribe to stereotypes.
Travelers have met enough people from enough cultures to know that stereotypes are just a waste of time.
8. They see life's rewards, not its risks.
Of course climbing a cliff face is terrifying. But with the proper caution, a traveler is going to do it... because they know the view at the top is worth the work.
9. They're unashamed to ask for help.
Sometimes you just NEED directions, or recommendations for good Pad Thai. Travelers aren't proud. They just ask.
10. They don't need much to be happy.
A tent, a pillow and some stars can be just as magical as a night at the Oscars. Travelers know this very well.
11. They see new people as friends, not enemies.
While a savvy city-dweller may push past people, travelers tend to lend an open ear to those around them. When you're along on the road, you've got no choice but to trust the best in everyone.
12. They see change as an opportunity, not a hindrance.
Travelers don't think of a new place, a new living situation or a new relationship as "cramping their style." They think of it as a change to learn something they never knew before.
13. They know that sometimes, the best way to make new friends is to go at it alone.
You certainly won't make as many new friends while traveling with a posse as you will if you venture by yourself. Travelers are comfortable in their own skin, because they know that it's the best way to connect with those beyond their comfort zone.