“My life is the road, man. I need to keep moving.” – Matthew McConaughey
So I was trying to write an email to ask for an enquiry in my native language a few days ago when I realised that I am so out of touch in using that language. This made me think that although I do have a nationality, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I’m sure some of you out there feel this way too – like all those people who have constantly moved around in their lives that they just can’t/ don’t identify themselves as a certain group of people? anyone?
Here are some things that I thought about:
- Being a citizen of the world: I mean, sure you have your nationality on your passport. But there has never been this sense of nationalism at all and it’s not because there is anything bad about your home country (ok maybe there are a few things – or a lot of things) but it’s just that you don’t identify yourself with it. Instead, you feel free to go wherever you want and to serve wherever you are.
- Home is not a specific place – but it’s wherever the people you love are: You don’t have a specific place where you identify as “Home”. It is not a house/ an apartment/ a flat, etc. But more likely than not – it’s a group of people: your family, friends, lover.
- Being bilingual/ multilingual: Ok this doesn’t apply to everyone that constantly moved (I guess it depends on where you move and all that). But most of the time, people who constantly move around end up being either bilingual/ multilingual. And although it might sound great (“oh cool you can speak a different language”) – more often than not, you end up being rubbish at both ( or all) the languages that you speak. Either that or your brain really function in a main language and the other language(s) have to be switched on and off.
- Adaptability is second nature: Moving around continuously – changing environments, cultures, schools, friends – have ultimately made you a very very adaptable person. You adjust to whatever new food or culture or habits that you see and respect people from different places with different habits very easily. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have no personality because you just like to “blend-in”. Not at all. Quite the opposite actually, due to living in so many different places you usually end up adding new little things to your personality which makes you- you!
- You’re willing to try so many new things: I guess this comes with the adaptability portion. Finding the need to constantly adapt to new things, you are often not afraid to try new things. I guess you get used to it to the point that you’re like “yeah why not as long as it’s not incredibly stupid”.
- That’s another thing, you have a “survival mode”: you are able to live independently and be comfortable of who you are and that you are independent. Which means going to have lunch in a restaurant alone for you is not something awkward, going to the museum or shopping alone is not sad and pathetic – it’s just something you do, or sometimes even enjoy.
- You find that you are completely (or maybe too?) understanding of other people: Not necessarily a bad thing. But I guess considering the fact that you have been in the situation of “the odd one out” so many times because of moving continuously, it makes sense that you are more understanding to different types of people. You value that everyone is different – no one fits in a stereotype and you accept them (although you might not agree with them).
- You are incredibly (and unbelievably) good at packing: I will have to laugh at this one because I can’t even count how many times I’ve packed my stuff. Moving houses and across continents and countries have made you an incredible packer. Essentially, you are able to let go of the most useless stuff no matter how cute they are and keep only the stuff that you know will be useful or that is extremely memorable (which leads on to number 9).
- You have a lot of keep-sakes: and that’s the most wonderful thing. You do still keep most of the stuff that people give you from when you spent your time there – all the little notes, letters, scrapbooks, photos, etc. The memories for you are worth keeping because there is nothing constant in your life except for those memories. Memories of friends you might never meet again, love interests that are too far away to maintain a proper relationship with, family members that you struggle to talk to everyday.
- It is so difficult to find someone with the same thinking as you: I suppose this is because the way you think is shaped by the different cultures/ environments you have lived in, the different people you have met, and all the experiences you have encountered. It is difficult to find someone who holds the same values and way of thinking – most of the time those that do are others who have equally moved around in their life.
Well this list is definitely not comprehensive. I’m sure there are other things. To anyone who is reading this: do you agree with me? What else would you add? Let me know 🙂
As always: Follow your heart, find your passion.