It’s almost a year and a half after I wrote this post and a lot happened.
I’ve done a lot of testing and analysis of when I got this weird mental state and when I didn’t.
It comes down that our minds seem to use our environment (location, what you see around you, people around you etc.) to identify ourselves.
I was born in the Netherlands and I grew up there. As much as I don’t associate myself to most people there, if I move across the world (eg Japan), I am excited by the novelty of the environment there (neon lights, crazy adventures) but I can associate even less with the people there.
Not like I don’t enjoy being there or like them. But I’ll never on a deep level understand what it is to be Japanese. I do what is to be Dutch. I mean I spent 27+ years there including when my mental frameworks were shaped (my youth).
I stepped into this movement thinking as a distinct anti nationalist. I still am. But I never thought how strong the biological programming of my own culture would be. It’s engrained. As much as I don’t enjoy so many parts of my culture (it’s boring, predictable, structured, unimaginative, kinda similar to German culture), I’m part of it.
And here comes the point. Every time I felt lost, I wasn’t part of Dutch culture, but I also really wasn’t part of the culture of the place I was visiting. Even if I connected with locals.
This is highly personal though. And it differs from person to person. What I see in many people that grew up traveling (like third culture kids or the children of expats), that their minds are intrinsically international. My mind WANTS to be that, but it’s not as well trained at it because it never grew up like that.
So when don’t I feel lost?
When I’m with my Dutch friends having beers and talking shit. When I’m with my parents watching horrible Dutch TV. It’s my identity.
Does that mean I can’t or won’t travel for extended periods of time? No! I love travel. But I’m aware that I need to be a large part of the time in my own country, with my own friends, to feed my brain and not feel lost.
I’ve always been scared to type this stuff because it seems slightly hypocritical to be someone who promotes travel and nomads as the future. And I do believe in that. I never said it wouldn’t be challenging mentally though. It is for me.