Traveling to different locations and always being on-the-go doesn’t come without a price.
The moment you decide to relocate abroad for an extended period of time, you are making the decision to miss out. Unfortunately, you cannot be in two places at once. Whatever it is– friends, family, food, good weather, your familiar neighborhood, your favorite restaurant, your familiar language, your comfort zone – it will be unfortunately left behind. You are essentially “freezing” the identity you have developed for the duration of a lifetime to create a new one.
Time will pass and the experiences of your new location – or what I like to call, your ‘new world’ – will begin shaping a new identity. It’s crazy to think it, but apart from your physical self, you essentially become a new person. The cultural and social differences shape your thoughts, mindset, communication and behavioral patterns. If you travel enough, you will develop numerous identities that only activate when you enter that respective location of the world. All other identities will lie dormant. The new identity may create a feeling of home that is completely unique to the usual, childhood-oriented feeling of home you’ve been used to. The meaning of “home” will drastically change; it may no longer be the place you were born and grew up at.
So, where is my home? Well..
Brazil is my childhood, family identity. My official identity. Probably where I feel most comfortable, where I should call home, and where all my extended family is. Where I lived until age of 10 and go once a year for a month. Where I speak the language, but maybe not well enough for a future job. No friends I actively keep in touch with but many old friends. I know the most about this culture.
Thailand is my fun, my middle and high school identity. More vivid memories than Brazil. Where I lived with my immediate family, where I created life long friendships who are now spread across the globe. A country I’m perfectly familiar with, but (mostly) through an expat perspective. Where I lived until age of 18. But still in expat, a foreigner. Where I feel very comfortable but don’t speak the local language. Most fun. No real opportunity for a career.
United States of America is my independent, (responsible?) college identity. Where I am growing the most, where I get to make decisions and learn from mistakes. Where I physically currently am, for an education. No blood family, but very good friendships. Where I currently spend 8 months a year. I speak the language but don’t always understand cultural norms. Best place to create a career but without family.
Indonesia is my summer, travel, and immediate family identity. Where I spend three months a year with my family and have little friends, most not life long. I don’t speak the language but I interact with a small and strong Brazilian community; a home-like feeling. Where I train with local soccer teams, good opportunities. Where I feel completely at home within the house but not comfortable outside the house.
So where is my home? That’s a tough question.. there are too many different factors that help make each place feel like home, so it's all home.. kinda. I guess it's probably just wherever the heart is..
When you think about this fragmented-type lifestyle, would you prefer that? Or do you think the benefits of traveling are not enough to justify such a messy life? I'd love to hear what you think!