How to not Lose Yourself When You Travel
Travelling to find yourself seems to be all the rage these days, but unless you’re Kevin Bacon or Christian Slater (They each played invisible men in Hollow man 1 and 2 respectively) you probably never lost yourself in the first place. Instead of finding themselves, a lot of people actually end up losing aspects of their personalities that they’d be better off keeping. Their previous traits get replaced by new ones (often arrogance, laziness, self importance) and they become annoying global citizens who judge other people’s travel habits and plans. Unless you are running away from something awful back home, it’s a good idea not to lose yourself when you travel – and I’m here to show you how.
Keep your hobbies
Do you play tennis, cook or run marathons? Just because you’re on a long trip doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you love. I’ve always been into watching movies, TV shows and listening to music. For the first 2 months of my first trip in Southeast Asia I didn’t carry a laptop and I really started to crave being able to crash out on my bed with a movie after a long day of sightseeing. I was reunited with my laptop and vowed never to travel without it again – which was a hassle because it was really heavy (but I eventually got a better one).
Keep a connection to your country
Even if you’re travelling for years it doesn’t mean you have to sever ties with your country. This is probably easy if you’re American, as that culture has spread itself like a virus throughout the world. Being from New Zealand it’s a little harder, particularly because I hardly meet any of my countrymen while travelling.
I’m into sports and always try and keep track of how the various teams I support from home are doing and I try to watch as many games as I can. You don’t need to be a sports fan to stay connected to your country – you can stream local TV shows or channels, read your local news websites or just talk regularly to your friends and family back home.
You should still embrace the world around you
After reading this article you might be thinking I’m some sort of weirdo recluse with a NZ flag sewed to my backpack who stays inside all day watching movies. That’s not the case – but I do believe that a balance between your travelling and non travelling selves is important. Some people might be running away from a completely depressing existence and want nothing more than to leave their old lives behind– but most of us aren’t. I’ve done so many things I’d never have dreamed of in New Zealand, and while I’m reluctant to say that “I’ve grown as a person” or anything like that – I do believe that the last 4 years of living abroad/travelling has (slightly) changed me.
One thing I have apparently lost is my accent
This is a bit concerning. I meet a lot of people who either can’t pick my accent or comment that “I don’t have a strong New Zealand accent” when they find out where I’m from. This has probably come about because I haven’t met many people from New Zealand and I watch mostly American or British TV shows and movies. Also, the fact that they tried to make me speak like an American when I was teaching English in Taiwan probably didn’t help! I don’t think I ever had a particularly strong accent to start with, so I probably shouldn’t worry about it.
Are you trying to find yourself on your travels or would you prefer to keep your old personality? Let me know!