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!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.
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  1. October 16, 2014 at 1:10 am — Reply

    I agree, it’s easy to lose yourself in travel – it can be a good thing dealing with something really awful I guess, but I don’t think you ever find yourself on the road. As a cyclist, though, I find it a hard hobby to carry from country to country unless I’m doing it all by bike. I may have to take up running. Culturally, I don’t know that it’s easier for Americans to keep ties to our country, though. The culture that has spread like a virus throughout the world is not my culture – Hollywood is so different from small town life. Many times people think it’s one and the same, but we’re a huge, diverse nation. Staying connected to my country is actually a huge challenge when I travel – just because McDonalds, KFC, etc. originated in the States doesn’t mean that they’re like ‘home’ to me. I don’t eat fast food at home, I raise hens and grow my own food! Why would I eat that food abroad? But a lot of people think they know my culture from the movies – it’s hard to be an authentic person in a lot of people’s eyes. I can’t even imagine the reaction from other travelers if I sewed an American flag on my pack like every other country does. Anyhow, you make some good points, and its really an important thing to remember, thanks.

  2. October 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm — Reply

    I love to watch shows whilst on the road or just lose myself completely in Internet. That is what I do at home a lot too:) I know what you are talking about when saying that you lost your accent! I actually gained one from living in the US for 2,5 years and once I got back home to Poland a lot of people were telling me that I sound strange. It eventually went away, but I still think it was kind of funny, kind of strange.

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