A bore who’s done everything first, or a truly great and eccentric explorer – which of these 10 types of traveller best describes you?
1. The Collector
A sophisticated hunter-gatherer, a hoarder of the exceptional and exotic. Not, however, of endangered species or looted antiquities. He or she travels with a purely metaphorical blunderbuss or bullwhip – or, rather, butterfly net, swishing it this way and that in order to gather up uncommon experiences in out-of-the-way places. Once caught, these are meticulously pinned in memory and proudly displayed in conversation. Like an actual scientist, The Collector delights in the poetry and precision of proper names (‘You haven’t really lived until you’ve seen the Orionids meteor shower in the night sky over Pisco Elqui in October…’).
2. The Conformist
A dreary universal type. The Conformist travels not for personal satisfaction but for social acceptance – perhaps even finds personal satisfaction in social acceptance. Destinations are chosen from a limited, unimaginative, class-determined table d’hôte menu. This is by no means a toffs-only snob thing. It applies across the social spectrum. The Conformist can be spotted from Magaluf to Megève. The point isn’t where you’ve been but what your peers think about where you’ve been.
3. The Thrill-Seeker
Not so much of the adventure-sports variety, though of course there’s no shortage of nincompoops willing to tie their ankles to a rubber band and leap off a bridge or whatever. As with The Conformist, The Thrill-Seeker exists along a continuum – one that runs from the ticket-purchasing slum-tourist or frequenter of dodgy-looking dive bars to the professional war correspondent. The Thrill-Seeker is not altogether unlike…
4. The Escapist
Fugitive from the familiar. An intriguing type, labouring under that most delightful of delusions, namely, that anything at all – boredom, worry, heartbreak, guilt, fear, failure, conflict, one’s own reflection in the mirror – can be lost with distance. Alas, it cannot. Yet it always seems worth a try.
5. The Self-Improver
Admirable if a little dull. Up early, out late, cheerfully making the most of everything a new place has to offer. Tremendous stamina. Sensible shoes. Likely to do a lot of research beforehand, to pack a lot of books and to return with even more. A second cousin of…