A Tourist v.s. A Traveller

We all love travelling, but we love it for different reasons. Some of us call it “holiday” while some others call it a “journey”; some of us are tourists, and some of us are travelers. Neither is innately good or bad, they both possess different characteristics that enables them to experience ultimately different things while venturing out into the world – to suit their own needs.

From a female’s perspective, we put some of the key differences into a fun image, and let’s have a deeper look into each of them.

travel v.s. tourist


A traveler cares less about what she wears. She is unconcerned about whether the clothes are cheap or designer stuff. She doesn't care whether it's slacks and jeans or an elegant dinner dress; what she cares about is that her clothes must be free and convenient for her to explore whatever comes her way.

As a tourist, she prefers to dress to kill, as she likes strolling the sights of the city, going to parties, taking pictures to share with friends or on social network. She often brings a big selection of clothes and shoes to suit all occasions, and would get up in the morning and try to look as perfect as possible for the day to come. Yes, she does look lovely and her friends and followers would get to enjoy the trip with her.


A traveler would be comfortable with hitting the road without any initial plans. Because she actually prefers to go with the flow that comes with wherever she is going, and let life surprises her. So she would usually just land and see how things turn out.

Before leaving her base, or home, a tourist will tend to have everything mapped out. From accommodation to places to visit, to how to get there; in short, she feels more comfortable with everything being planned out before she leaves. Because they do not like to be stressed during her time off.


A traveler packs for freedom. She packs light so she’s always ready to move or stay at any time. There are only four essentials for her: passport, wallet, phone and home keys. She would be excited for a last-minute trip, with only having time to take these things with her. A pair of hiking shoes, a book, a silk sleeping bag… are some bonus for her backpack. What if she finds there’s something missing? Not a problem, she would always find out where to get it.

A tourist packs so she can focus on enjoying herself. She’d rather get stressed by listing and packing everything she would need into a suitcase than finding out she needs to get something later during her trip. With things well planned out, she rarely need to face the hassle to drag her suitcase from one place to another, and can enjoy every moment in the right outfit with the best tools. After all, it is a holiday, no stress needed.


A traveler prefers to take part in everything that the locals are doing than go onto sight-seeing tours. She would try to learn their language, look for insights about their culture, learn their dance moves, drink with the locals, get invited to their homes a small party. She would get up in the morning without a plan, as she sees the unknown journey as the most important ingredient of travelling.

An experience is the best when it is shared. A tourist loves taking photos while going from one sight to another, so she can capture the moment and share with others who cannot be a part of her trip. She also tries to tick all the “top 10 things to do” on TripAdvisor’s list. Before going to bed, she would have the following day all planned out so she can avoid any troubles and best use her holiday time.


A traveler would try out food from a small street stall and be best friend with toilets for the next day. You would find her in a small rundown local restaurant pub among the locals, while eating something she probably has no idea even what it is.

Her list is not complete until she ticks the best restaurants off her list. A tourist researches before deciding where to eat, even the ice cream or a sandwich need to be from the top places with best reviews. She would never risk her stomach by stepping inside a place without the TripAdvisor badge.  


A traveler gets up and goes out without a plan, ready for a day of new adventures.  She would take the road where she does not see tourists; she would take a bus and gets out wherever catches her eyes. She’s not afraid of getting lost, as she’s comfortable with asking for help or initiating a conversation with a stranger. She opens her heart to accept anything comes her way.

A tourist does not go anywhere without her phone. She uses TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Google Maps like a bible. After all, if the best places are already being selected by tons of others, why take the risk of venturing to somewhere may not be great. And if you can find the best route to go from A to B, why waste time to wander around.

What really matters…

The above are just some differences in behaviour, and it is not all that black and white. What really distinguish a traveller from a tourist is the mindset.

A traveller on one hand hits the road with the aim of seeing the places for what they really are, meeting the locals, learning about their culture, and most importantly, finding more about herself. She travels to explore, to grow, to live her life. So whatever she does, she’s present.

A tourist on the other hand travels to escape her daily life. So she would worry about whether she has made the best of her trip, and she would constantly think about what to do next than just enjoying what she’s already doing.

Travel is a magical experience – for a tourist, or for a travellers. As despite how much we plan it, we are venturing into a world of unknown. We all need to take some risks, and open our heart to others and to ourselves. A tourist can become a traveller – what’s the tipping point?

I cannot speak for everyone, but in my case, it was when I desired to broaden my perspective and get connected with the world; when I wanted to understand more about myself; when I started to pursue personal freedom. It is a change of the heart, not one of behaviours. There’s a chance that you might fall into the tourist mood sometimes, but the truth is, at heart, you stay as a true traveller.

We're building an app for solo female travellers. It connects you with each other around the world. Helping you have an easier, safer and more enjoyable journey. Sound good? Sign up below to join our Beta, be the first to try it out and help us develop what works for you.

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Joly ZouComment
The age of new media

Who'd ever thought that I would be in the same room with 'that woman' - Monica Lewinsky? It was at the closing key note of Festival of Marketing where she was introduced as a speaker: 'Monica is going to talk to us about branding...'. I was about to leave the venue when I heard this and thinking 'so she's found a way to make the shameful event a business'. Then another word caught my attention and made me stay: '... and compassion'. 

We've then seen a strong and confident woman walked onto the stage, revealed her personal journey and talked passionately about her beliefs. Since then, I've been spending my last week telling my friends that 'I adore Monica Lewinsky', and most people gave me the 'really?' look. Really, and here is why.

Broadcasting with compassion and authenticity

We love dramatic stories - this is what media tapping into. There is no new news here, just open any newspaper and count how many articles are about scandals, gossips, tragedies. In the traditional business model, media's success is evaluated by 'reach'. So the more drama built in the story, the more people read/watch it, and the more successful the content is, the more money it makes. How much of the story is real? Who knows and who cares as long as it's successful. 

Thanks to all the new channels which give power to us, this is changing. We are not attracted to a cover story of a certain celebrity any more, we look for people like us, we look for real stories behind a face, we look for inspirations. We've seen the success of 'Humans of New York' as it focuses on everyday human, it powerfully communicates a story with few words and a picture which inspires others.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the traditional broadcasting media channels are going to change in the near future. It's time for them to put compassion and authenticity at the core of its value: give us the full picture and get behind the surface to walk in the person's shoes  - be it's a criminal, a survivor, a politician, a celebrity, we are all humans and fundamentally the same

We are all celebrities

We all got followers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumbler etc who are interested in what we do and say. Think about it - we are actually all 'celebrities', and better than other 'celebrities', we actually own our broadcasting media! We are actually media ourselves! 

Agreed? Then let's think ourselves in this way. What does it mean being a celebrity? In my opinion - to inspire others. What does it mean being a media? To communicate the inspirations. We've all got a valuable asset and powerful tools at our finger tips, the messages, pictures, videos, articles we post and share form a picture of us, and it gets to pass onto others. Whenever we are about to go 'broadcasting', how about do it with compassion (for ourselves and others) and authenticity, and think about what inspiration it may bring to others. 

Be mindful of our words and actions

We all get opinions and keen to express them. In the 'old' days, we saw a piece of news on TV or newspaper and discuss with our friends. Now, the raise of new media has empowered us with a stronger voice, and enabled us to go straight to the person who's the news' all about. With power comes responsibilities - we know this in corporates, politics, but I do think this is the universal truth.

The new media channels brought power with easiness, but unfortunately not much responsibility. We post, twitter, share things too easily online without thinking of the consequences. Monica has brought responsibility back to the picture - she uses 'cyberbullying' for the this new trend. 

We've talked about being celebrities and media channels ourselves, now think about how much damage we can make with our words - to ourselves and to others. There are families destroyed, lives lost, people hurt by our single post. Before we criticise or judge, or pass one a piece of criticism or judgement, how about learning about what's behind, try to find the whole picture, try to empathise with the person. 

Building resilience with a strong purpose 

I've kept this for the last. One thing Monica Lewinsky impressed me the most is her strength and confidence. Being the most hated woman in the whole world when she was 24 years old. I can hardly imagine how traumatised it could have been for her. 

There were people decided to end their lives over scandals, there were people disappeared from public for life, there were people used the scandal to create a business. Monica decided to re-appear in the public after a decade and stand for a good cause: against cyberbulling. Yes she is using her 'celebrity' power to get people listen to her at first place, but it is for something bigger than herself. She has turned herself as a channel for the cause. And only because she's found the purpose, she gained the power to come back with a stronger mind, and a more compassionate heart.

We've all made mistakes, we've all had failures, in the age of new media, we'll never know when these things would be picked up and made 'known'. Most important thing to remember is we are not our mistakes or failures, but they make us being better. If we can find our purpose in this world, we can then focus on turning all of them into something meaningful, and we will never be beaten!

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Joly ZouComment
On the receiving side

I've had some surprise last week: received a couple of thank you notes from some dear friends. My eyes got wet when I read those messages. It is hard to describe the power lays in the lines.

From the culture I came from (China), I hardly received any genuine recognition or compliment - traditionally, Chinese are quite reserved in showing our opinions or feelings. Sadly when I grew up, I knew clearly what's wrong as I did get punished, but I hardly got to know what value I created... Yes I have many close friends and we do things for each other, but again in Chinese culture - we do not often tell our friends how much we appreciate each other as it is 'assumed'.  And sure, we receive thanks every day from people around us and many of them are genuine, but they are quite generic for me to understand what difference I have made. 

When I look back, actually I can vividly remember some of the few thanks that I have received: in junior school my best friend wrote a letter to me and thanked me to always cared for her - holding an umbrella in the rain, defending her against others, listening to her troubles; In university, I received an email right after my birthday from an old good friend who counted our memories and thanked me for being in his life; on my eighteenth birthday, my father bought me flowers and said to me that he was thankful for me being his daughter; my ex-boyfriend thanked me for taking care of him when he was drunk; my ex-boss thanked me for being a motivation for the team... Yes I can remember them, and some exact words.

I was hugely touched by the notes that I received last week. They were not generic thank you, but both went through specific moments and actions, and both were written with such genuine heart. They have made a big difference to me: they drove some of the doubts away and helped me to be more confident in being myself, they become my own power in pursuing what I believe in, they made me be more cautious of my actions and encourage me to do more for others, and they've reminded me of the foundations of our great friendship and brought us closer together. And, they just made me understand more how much power there is in expressing appreciation. I sincerely thank my friends who sent me those notes, and I endeavour to let my friends and family know how much they are valued by me.

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Joly ZouComment
Everyday is a gift.

In a psychology course that I took, the professor said there are more positive moments in our life than negative one, but humans are designed to capture and react more to the negative ones as a self-protective mechanism to survive. The past week has been a test on this: we've spent a week on noticing the things we are thankful for at the end of every day.

Never take it for granted

Looking at the seven lists from last week, there are many things that in every day which I never acknowledged before: my sweet boy Vico always comes to wake me up in the morning, my husband always puts my need first and chooses to support me whatever my choice is, my parents being the rock in my life… And I started to pay notice to the things that I use in my daily life: dishwasher which saved me so much time (most families in China don't have one), the cats' toys which kept them happy indoors, the gadgets that I have at home which fit my every need and kept me connected… And the daily sceneries: the beautiful autumn colour in the street, the flowers in my garden, birds jumping and hunting… These things happen to me every day and matter to me greatly, but because it is everyday, I stopped to pay notice to them.

Look for the positive

I fell under the weather in the first couple of days, severe headache and lots of sleep. I struggled to get out of bed to write the list on the first day, and started by thinking what an awful day I had. Then my mind got brightened up by every entry that I made: my husband took care of me, nice hot drinks to warm me up, a sweet message from a dear friend, supports from the ones who joined the trial programme, my cats' purring beside me when I was dozing off… And when the cold's gone, I felt ever grateful for having a healthy body and decided to start taking care of my body.
My meeting got cancelled last minute on Thursday, but instead, I got to spend a day at home with my husband and avoid the 2 hours commute.
It rained on Saturday which made us stay indoors and got the house clean and watched a film together.
Life is not always as we expected, instead of spending time on complaining, I start to put my energy on what each of these situation bring me.

Be aware of every action

The number of things to be grateful for goes up whenever I went out and got in touch with the world. Many times this week, small actions from people around me, even strangers, have given me great joy. A 'miss you' message from an old friend, an interesting chat with a couple that shared the table, offering of an tissue for my running nose from the station manager, strangers' smiles and greetings during a long walk… These things are small, and the person who did it probably hardly gave it a thought, but they are the things that brighten my daily life. What about my own actions, have I brought more positivities to the world?

I've kept those lists, and will go back to them from time to time. When I open my eyes in the morning, I know today's a brand new day, it is an unique gift which I can choose how to use. For the scenes that I pass, people that I meet, activities that are around, will never be the same. Here's a great video has given me so much inspiration and I just watched it again...

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Joly ZouComment
After pressing the button

Launch fast, launch ugly. Easy said than done!

Coming from a corporate background, how many of us are afraid of pushing it out there without knowing it is all thoroughly planned and 'perfect'? I know I am one of those.

Well, I still managed to launch the pilot of 7-day Challenge a week ago. And a short few days have provided me many learnings.

Choose who you want to be around you.

I only was able to pass my fear and launch the project with the tribe's support. I am truly thankful to all the people who has supported me, brought me constant encouragements, voluntarily joined the trial programme, and provided me valuable feedback. With this group of people, I know I am safe to experiment, and free from any judgements. 

No market research can beat real-time feedback

From a marketing research background, I was used to draw up questionnaire, and schedule interviews to get 'customer insights'. But the White Tee project and the past week helped me understand the best marketing research I can ever do is launching the project with target audience. I am now updating the website everyday, changing how the tribe's ran, and getting lots of great content all from the people who're on the trial. Now I do have the confidence that together we will build an amazing product when it goes out. 

It's about collaboration, not competition

Since I entered the startup world, I've felt peace. In the corporate world, I've spent a lot of time analysing competitors, finding competitive advantage, and working on strategies so my product could win some market share over other brands - always in war. The world I am in now is a world in which opportunities come with collaboration, not competition. Firstly, we are not interested in making tons of money, but creating real values. The more people are in the space, the more people get helped. Secondly, the market is getting more and more fragmented to fit individual's needs. This means there is a piece for every business. Moreover, we understand by working together, we share our strength and resources to create something even better. It is a world that we say yes, not no. It is a world of the future.

It has been the most productive week for me. And I look for a new week's challenge to start. 

I'm building a female travel app exclusively for women travellers. It connects you with each other around the world. Helping you have an easier, safer and more enjoyable journey. Sound good? Sign up below to join our Beta, be the first to try it out and help us develop what works for you.

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Joly ZouComment
I am thankful, for the difficulties

It has been a hectic three days since we received the brief to put up a 2-day pop-up shop in 48 hours. Now we have opened the store, and completed day 1. 

No doubt that it has been difficult. But when I sit down after the day and think back...

I am thankful, especially to the most difficult part. 

I am thankful to the tight timeline, to the creative challenge, to the tight budget, to working with people from all different backgrounds, to the some times heated discussions within the team.  I've been working in retail marketing for the past 5 years. The past few days on the retail project have given me some learnings I had never got from my corporate world. It helped me get real - learning how to do business from ground up without having a big brand, a big team, a big budget. I've learnt how to most effectively manage a project, how to prioritise and dedicate tasks, how to communicate and negotiate.

I'm better than I thought. 

Difficulties help us realise our potentials. There are things I have done during the days which I did not know I could! I've always doubted myself, whether I have the capability, whether I have got the resource, whether I have considered everything (and the list continues...). Hallelujah, the news is I am better than I thought. Just roll up the sleeves and get heads done, it's amazing what we can achieve.

Most importantly, I've learnt how to trust and respect others,

Yes I am better than I thought, but I am not good at many things. Only with a team, we have made it possible. When there's a shared passion, we trust each other to give 100% and rely on each other's skills. When there are differences, we respect and appreciate each other's thoughts, styles, and strengths. 

...and how to simply enjoy working.

It has not been easy for me to say this. I have always entered every competition wanting to be a winner. Winning would be fantastic, but I think I have already got the most precious experience despite the result. The project is a journey, we are going forward by taking every step, what's the point of just running for the end line without taking in what each step has brought me.

Just a big thank you to everyone who's on the project. 

We're building an app for solo female travel. It connects you with each other around the world. Helping you have an easier, safer and more enjoyable journey. Sound good? Sign up below to join our Beta, be the first to try it out and help us develop what works for you.

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Joly ZouComment
Live life, slowly

Since I stopped working, I have been spending a lot of time to practice living. It almost feels like learning how to live from ground zero.

Today I went out for a walk along the lakes. A sudden peace just hit me when my feet stepped on the fallen leaves. The sound of the cracks, the feel under my feet, the sweet smell in the air, the amazing autumn colors, the birds singing in the air, and the blue sky. I started walking slowly, and cautiously taking slow but deep breathes. I've been walking the same route dozen of times before, most times jogging through it. What I realised today is I have been living my life always based on the future, always looking at something further away, aiming at a target. Then I rush towards it and try to get there as fast as I can. What I have missed is something more important than the future: the present, my life. I've missed how beautiful it is, how fortunate I am, by focusing on going and going.

Now I am sitting at the bank of the river, and writing this. I always loved river, and tend to think mind as a river - its form doesn't change and is every going, but every moment of it is different: sometimes when there's too much rain, it goes faster and loses the clarity. When it goes slower for the mud to sink, it regains the clarity.

 All the past years I've been looking outside for an answer, but forget to take care of what's in. Slowing down and sometimes even take a pause has made a big difference in my life. I'm training myself to be more focuses on the present. Damn it is hard, my mind would just go wonder into the future and think about plans when I try to meditate. But life is a journey itself, I am making progress and enjoying it. 

If you are reading this, how about take a moment just to breath - truly feel your breath, let it bring your mind, your body back to the present. Maybe you can also walk a bit slower, look around a bit more, spend some time just doing nothing. 

We're building a travel app for women. It connects you with each other around the world. Helping you have an easier, safer and more enjoyable journey. Sound good? Sign up below to join our Beta, be the first to try it out and help us develop what works for you.

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Leaving something I love behind..., and move on

A bit of the boring background about me. I followed very much the journey many go through - good child - good student - good employee. Five years ago, I was lucky enough to join a great company, and a wonderful bunch of people. Till today, I love the experience, I love the people I work with, I love the profession. Then I decided to quit it.

"What's wrong?" Nothing was wrong, just that I decide to get onto a new journey, and here's what I have learnt by choosing to leave something I love behind:

  • Finding values and drives. 

This is the first lesson I have learnt, and the biggest one. With the help of my life coach, I have discovered my basic drives: freedom (in control of my own life), creating values (no matter how small), challenges (I need to see myself grow all the time). Then I looked at these values and looked at what I spent my life doing, it was clear to me that that was not a match! From the moment of realisation, I started to plan a change in my life. This happened to me 6 month ago. When it came to making decisions, he choice was really obvious when the values are clear, and I know that I would not regret later on.

  • Security is only an illusion.

Okay, this one took some time (about 4 months) for me to realise. I am married, have a mortgage to pay, in a foreign country on visa, have 2 cats to take care of. Natrually, I start to worry about rocking myself off the secure platform which I have built. But the more time I hestitated, the more I realized when I was holding so tight onto the job, other opportunities just escaped from us - the opportnity cost is huge! Also, in the morden world, no corporate job is really that secure anymore. I worked for one of the bigggest corporates in the world, yet I went through 5 re-orgs in the past five years. Every time, I had to rely on someone else 'up there' to decide how my life will be. Oh man, it sucks! It feels good when I finally decided: fuck it, I am taking control of my own life.

  • Know what I have to lose, and... is it too scary?

Write it down! My list made me actually laugh: I will spend less money on buying clothes, shoes or fancy electronic gears in the next 2 years. Luckily my savings and my husband's situation allows us to pay for the mortage and feed ourselves and the cats. I know other people have more challenges, but really, what is your bottom line, and for how long? Be clear on that. Face the fear and hopefully you will see it is actually not as bad as you imagined. 

  • Trust people who love me, and just move on. 

I've heard a lot of people during the transition stage said: I am not afraid of the risks, but I am just so scared to tell my mum/dad/husband/wife, I am going to break his/her heart! Yes when we change, it's normally the people who are the closest to us resist the most. In my story, I was dead scared of telling my parents (I'm from a traditional Chinese family and the only child)! To this day, my mum cries and she thinks I am destroying my life. But my dad actually surprised me and supported me, this had given me much strength. My husband as well, who has been the most wonderful and encouraged me through my whole journey. Don't assume - they may just surprise you. At the end of the day, they love you and want the best for you. Are you doing the best for yourself, that's all they need to know. Even if they do not get it like my mum, you have to just move on and have the faith in them to catch up.

  • Life is a progress, and it is an experience!

Sorry I have been writing too long, promise the last one! Just remember this. We are not missing out by making a change! Whatever happens, we laugh, we struggle, we face plunk... It's all building up and enriches our life experience. At the minimal, it is not a minus on your resume, but a plus - if you want to go back to where you come from one day. 

We all live this life once, just enjoy it - fully! 

We're building an app for solo female travel. It connects you with each other around the world. Helping you have an easier, safer and more enjoyable journey. Sound good? Sign up below to join our Beta, be the first to try it out and help us develop what works for you.

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