How to Be a Peaceful Traveler And Not A Tourist While Traveling the World

Some of you might know that I have spent over 170 months traveling around the world, experiencing the ups and downs that come from living a nomadic lifestyle. How to be a peaceful traveler and leave the world a better place is something that has always been on my mind. Some of my most memorable stories come from being welcomed into a home at an unexpected moment, from helping someone in need at the strangest place and from opening my mind to new adventures. Over the years, I have learned how to be a peaceful traveler, a traveler that embraces cultures, encounters, nature, and the unknown. While studying sustainable travel, I became aware of the Credo for the Peaceful Traveler, a credo put forward by the Sustainable Travel International organization, here is the Credo of the Peaceful Traveler:

Grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and because peace begins with the individual, I affirm my personal responsibility and commitment to:
• Journey with an open mind and gentle heart
• Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter
• Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life
• Appreciate all cultures I discover
• Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome
• Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet
• Support travel services that share these views and act upon them and,
By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace

Since I found in the Credo of the Peaceful Traveler a credo that resonates with me, I wanted to elaborate on each theme in this blog post.


Journey with an open mind and gentle heart

We have all been there. We have all struggled somewhere along the road. I remember a time when I would get outraged when a local would charge me extra just because I was a “gringo.” I remember a time, and that time was just last month when I wanted to file an official complaint against a corrupt cop who was trying to extract money from us just because we were driving a foreign car in his country. Travelling pushes your boundaries, boundaries that would otherwise not be present if you stayed in your hometown.

Although I still struggle with corruption, I have learned that those who are corrupt, those who inflate rates by the color of your skin, and those who try to take advantage of travelers in any shape or form, are only doing so in the hopes of surviving an extra day. It is easy for a traveler like myself to forget that I am amongst the 1%. I do not know what it is to struggle to feed my family.

As a traveler, I am spoiled, and because of this, I need to travel with an open mind and a gentle heart. I need to put myself in the shoes of those I judge, and I need to remember that the art of traveling is about understanding the differences and inequalities in this world so that we can share the stories in the hopes of creating a better world. Ideally, one would choose to try to make a difference through their travels, making small contributions along the way so that we can leave the world a better place. I have chosen to make such an impact in Peru where I donate water filters to communities in need after massive floodings and hope to continue doing the same. What will you do as a privileged traveler?


Accept with grace and gratitude the diversity I encounter

Let’s face it. We are not all the same. Some of us are tall, dark, and skinny while others are short, white, and pack on a little extra weight. Some of us are pure racists while others are just a little ignorant. When you have been on the road for as long as I have, you start to wonder why we can’t all just get along and accept each other the way we are. I am not perfect, I still have a few prejudices, but I am aware that it is because I have not encountered someone from that culture or environment that took the time to change my mind. One thing that I have learned from 170 months on the road is that humans are goodhearted whatever their race or culture unless they are put in a situation that overtook them.

There is not one bad race or bad religion. There is only a small percentage of people from that race and that religion who create havoc for the others and who gets all the media attention. I struggle when I hear a comment such as “I don’t share the same values, ethics, and morals of people from that race or religion.” Such a comment usually comes from someone’s who has never opened their mind and heart to someone from that race or religion. Someone who has not dared to get out of their comfort zones to travel the world and expand their horizons. Someone who should be left alone, at home. Diversity is not easy, but diversity is what makes us human. I challenge myself every day to open my heart and my mind to meet and love someone from a culture that is different than my own. I dare you to do the same.


Revere and protect the natural environment which sustains all life

We all know it, we are slowly destroying our planet and our way of life. Why do we do it? Why do we consume so many products in a day only to discard them the very next day? Why can’t we just behave in such a way that benefits all of the mankind instead of just benefiting ourselves? As humans, we are a little selfish by nature, but as travelers, we have a duty to think of our planet as a whole. We have all seen the land fields filled with human waste while driving alongside an otherwise scenic road yet we are still blinded by the impact of our choices on the future of our people and our planet. Choosing to recycle is, of course, a good option, but what is even better is choosing to live a minimalist lifestyle.

As a traveler, you learn that there are not many things that are needed to live a fulfilled life. We usually travel with just a few things, yet our lives are full of remarkable experiences. As a digital nomad who lives on the road, I travel with a few more things than the average backpacker but compared to those who have chosen a sedentary life, I live with barely anything in my name. I tried to consume less and less every day, and by doing so, I feel free a little more and more every day. Whether you stay home or travel the world, choose a lifestyle that reveres and protects our natural environment instead of one that is about consuming something new every minute of the day.


Appreciate all cultures I discover

If you take the time to stop and listen, and watch, and learn about a new culture, you will find yourself in awe of what it means to see the world with a different set of eyes. Discovering a new culture does not mean visiting ten countries or ten cities in ten days regardless of what the brochure tells you. Exploring a new culture means taking the time to immerse yourself in the different ways of life of a people who are foreign to you. It means traveling at a very slow pace, often staying put in the same place for a given length of time or returning to the same location time and time again.

Although I have traveled for over 150 months in the last 17 years, I have only visited 75 countries. Seventy-five might seem like a lot, but when you compare it with those who boost having visited the same amount of countries in three years, you understand that I travel at the speed of a turtle. Saying this, if you ask me about any of those countries, I will tell you that I feel like I still know nothing about every single one of them, including my own. I appreciate all cultures that I discover yet I am aware that it would take me more than a lifetime to completely understand a culture that is not my own. Although I am aware of this challenge, I have made it a lifelong mission to discover as much as I can about as many cultures as I can until the day I die.


Respect and thank my hosts for their welcome

When we travel, we usually spend too much time focusing on selfies when we should be focusing on connecting with those who call the place home. Time and time again I see travelers running from one top ten attraction to the next instead of having meaningful conversations with locals about the challenges and struggles of life in this part of the world. Nothing shows more respect for a community than genuinely listening to one of their own explaining the challenges and opportunities available to them.

Getting to know someone intimately is a privilege, one that should be sought out by all travelers. Climbing the Eiffel Tower is one thing, but being invited to share a bottle of wine with a group of new friends at the footstep of the Eiffel Tower is simply another. Since we only have one life to live, we should all take the time to have hour long conversations with random strangers in random places about random things. Anyone can Google a picture of Tikal, but not everyone can be invited to a private dinner. There is simply no better way to thank a community for allowing you to experience their culture than by making new friends.


Offer my hand in friendship to everyone I meet

Friendships are not created equal. No one knows this better than a nomad. Genuine friendships, the ones that follow you throughout your life, only come in a handful. This type of friendship takes years of commitment, something that travelers often can’t do by the very nature of their lifestyle. What travelers experience is something entirely different. Traveling friendships are usually short, intense, and memorable. They are about sharing a once-in-a-lifetime memory with someone unexpected. It’s about remembering that person at that precise moment for the rest of your life. Over the years, I have made many friends from all walks of life. I know that when I visit their cities, I will be welcomed with a warm embrace even though we might not have spoken for a few years or even a few decades. The connections are precise in time, but they have a long-lasting effect. Next time you sit at a restaurant, at a bar, or in a park, notice the people around you and ask yourself what memories could be shared if you simply took a moment to say hello.


Support travel services that share these views and act upon them

The sharing economy is here to stay, and travelers like myself couldn’t be happier. AirBnB, Couchsurfing, Internations, Meetup, co-working spaces, we need to continue to step out of our comfort zone to meet interesting people.  We need to share our authentic experience with those who seek new adventures. We are heading into a promising time, a time tailor-made for a nomadic lifestyle. There are no longer any reasons to feel disconnected when traveling abroad. We need to continue to embrace these changes brought on by technology and serve our communities as we create a new traveling reality.


By my spirit, words and actions, encourage others to travel the world in peace

This blog post is the first in a series of many posts that will aim at sharing my traveling spirit with those who are interested in learning how to be a peaceful traveler. Traveling has made me a different person. From someone who used to judge and reject new things to someone who hugs all that is new. Traveling has opened my eyes to the beauty of diversity, and to the benefits of mixing cultures. With my words, I hope to reach one person so that they can, in turn, reach one more. If you like this post, please spread the message by sharing or liking.

Roxanne Genier
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Roxanne Genier

Luxury Brand Management Consultant at Roxy Genier
Roxanne or Roxy, founder of Luxe In A City, was nominated as one of the Top 5 Luxury Travel Bloggers by the readers of USA Today. Aside from overseeing this luxury travel blog, she spends her time teaching how to perfect the feeling of luxury to authentic niche brands while traveling the world with her family.
Roxanne Genier
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