“I’m going away for a while to find myself. Boarding a plane so I can look for the person that I truly am.”
Going travelling to ‘find your identity’ or ‘to get to know who you really are’ is quite a popular phenomenon. No offense, but I think it’s total bs.
Your identity is not something you can just find and keep forever. It’s not something you will discover in a geographical spot. It’s not a passive anything. Who you are changes constantly. I find the verb having quite misleading. You don’t have an identity, you are an identity and you choose to live it. Having is a very passive verb. On the other hand, to be, to choose and to live induce activity. There is movement and development. Identity is always in the making and never finished.
Not knowing who you are is a very modern ‘problem’. Are you happy? is another one of those seemingly important questions in today’s society. These contemplations are very inward focused, very concentrated on the ego. Even though it is very beneficial to know who you are it’s not all what life is about. Maybe we should focus more on the question Why are you here? rather than Who are you? What you are here for includes a journey, the path on which your identity will develop. You were placed in this world with your gifts and talents so you can come to your full potential. If you are using what you’ve got, no need to go looking for any identity. It is right there: the driving force behind your actions.
Feeling the need to travel to find yourself usually means you are not happy with yourself now. Realize that if that is the case, running away is not going to help you. If you are not happy now, it’s not going to change once you are on another continent. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. And if you’re scared and you feel the need to run, you have all the more to gain by staying. If you don’t face insecurity, you will miss out on an opportunity of growth. Also, if you don’t repair, you repeat. You will run into that experience of fear again later in life and will have to deal with it anyway. Best do it now, learn, overcome and get stronger.
So, if you are planning to book a ticket to Australia, please do so, but for the right reasons. I believe travelling is one of the best things you can do for personal development. Travel helps you develop your personality and it gives perspective. But there is no point in trying to find something out there that’s already inside of you. Knowing who you are, knowing your strengths, weaknesses, skills and what you want are important to figure out but not things you need to go to the other side of the world for. To truly find yourself you only need you.
Eva van der Graaf. Born in The Netherlands. Raised in Africa. MSc Animal Science. Freelance Writer and Translator. Owner of WritingBy. Hippie at Heart.