“I‘m a traveler.” This I’d usually say whenever people ask me to describe myself — be it at work, at conferences I attend, to simple acquaintances, or on any occasion, I find myself in!
I am sure that you are a traveler, too. Everyone, at some point in their lives, must have enjoyed the excitement about exploring new places, the wisdom imparted by once unknown cultures, or the unique gastronomical experiences the world has to offer.
However, to describe oneself as a “traveler” leads to another question, that is, “What type of traveler are you?”
A traveler’s identity crisis
To be asked what type of traveler I am is almost an automatic response whenever I introduce myself as a traveler. One perhaps couldn’t help but ask, given that nowadays even the once no-frills mint candy already has multiple variants. Instantaneously though, I’d end up saying, “I’m a backpacker.”
But only until recently.
Well, it is true that I was a backpacker at some point. I searched for adventures with just a few pairs of clothes, rode public transport, and slept in tents or, at the most, availed of the cheapest accommodation I could possibly find. But as my trips became more frequent, I started to slowly detach myself from being the harvpacker. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and would still enjoy backpacking. But I felt like the way I travel couldn’t be boxed into just one category. That is when I realized that backpacking is just one of the many ways I travel.
Neither a backpacker nor a jet-setter
After realizing that I am not simply a backpacker, I started to look back on all my trips and tried to understand my traveling identity. Yes, I may not be a total jet-setter, but I am not entirely a badass backpacker either.
What do I mean by that? I flew to Hong Kong via a budget airline but I spent more than necessary to upgrade my cable car experience from an ordinary to a crystal cabin for the sake of experience. In Switzerland, I paid a minimal cost for transportation and zero cost to marvel at the Swiss Alps in Engelberg and experience snow for the first time. Another remarkable instance was one of my trips here in the Philippines, where we backpacked our way to Baguio City and La Union, the Philippines’ Summer Capital and Surfing Capital of the North, respectively. But when I found out about La Union’s version of Santorini, without thinking twice I booked a room that cost me around $500 for an overnight stay.
And guess what? I enjoyed all of those trips because I did not miss a single opportunity to fully experience what said destinations have got to offer, regardless of the cost.
Enjoying the best of both worlds
No, I am not saying that you have to spend all your money and forget being a practical traveler. However, try to revisit your previous trips and see for yourself how your traveling style has evolved over time. Remember those times when you have had to manage your trips’ spendings between the cheap and the pricey? I am confident that at least once, you did splurge on one aspect of your trip while saving so much on another. And yes, you definitely were not a backpacker nor a jet-setter when you made those traveling decisions just so you can get to enjoy the whole experience.
The new breed of travelers
And that is what harv is all about. It is what you call that new breed of travelers!
It is not just a name, rather it is a word that truly defines you as a traveler. You can be, or already are, a harv, so long as you freely enjoy and satisfy your wanderlust by choosing the particular experiences that you think really matter.
Admit it or not, you are, in every inch, a part of this new breed of travelers. It could even be that harvs have always been there, but remained unidentified as a distinct type of traveler, until now.
Harvs, like you, are not limited to the bounds of a backpacker nor are obliged to fully embody the standards of a jet-setter. Because you, more than anything, just want to experience everything each destination can offer. Whether it is through seeing, feeling, or tasting an experience — either for free or with a fee — it doesn’t matter. You have to experience it.
Now, if people ask: “What kind of traveler are you?” Think first, then maybe, just maybe, you have an inner harv wanting, and is excited, to fully experience what this wonderful world has to offer.