No matter how much you have travelled, no matter how well you can write, no matter how great you can photograph; you are not a great traveller if you litter, cheat & hurt.
In my opinion, you don’t qualify to be a traveller if you:
- Litter around: why do we travel? Because we love to see, observe & experience. We can appreciate the beauty, culture & character of a place. Think of your favorite beach & now imagine it filled with polybags, empty cans, matchsticks and what not. Is it still your favorite? I guess, no! Please don’t litter.
- Hurt animals: If you are visiting a local market & a dog comes out of nowhere, you don’t have any right to kick it. The place belongs to the dog, you are only visiting. If you can’t be kind to animals, don’t hurt them at least.
- Ruin heritage: In spite of numerous warnings & rules, I invariably find names written on the walls of forts, temples & ancient buildings. If Akhilesh loves Reena; Akhilesh should get married to Reena. Don’t broadcast it to the world. And certainly don’t spoil our heritage. It’s not for you to practice calligraphy.
- Disobey & Disregard Decorum: There are some basic manners that everyone should have. Jumping the queue, shoving the elderly, clicking pics when it’s not allowed, making fun of locals are a No-no. If you are given a life jacket, wear it. Don’t play with it. If you visit Lotus Temple, maintain silence. Don’t think whispering & smirking will make you look smart. Every place has some decorum. Whether you are in India or visiting abroad, follow the basic guidelines. Disregard for which neither makes you look good nor makes us look good.
- Don’t tip where it’s required: I am not saying that you should tip everyone you meet. However, you should tip the guy who has carried your luggage half a kilometre. Tip the guide who is charging you only INR 100 for a tour of 3 hours. Tip the boatman who is living in a not-so-known part of India. That said, it’s a subjective thing. You might not tip people. But if you are not cheating, you are good.