How to find yourself while traveling overseas or even at home

This is a hard one to write, mainly because after several years of travel I still haven’t found myself, or whatever that entails.  But that’s ok, I’ll keep looking.  I’ve tried a lot of different ways and I always hope with each new endeavor that I will finally find the thing that will set my soul at ease and at last make me feel like I have found home.  The main process I use is to go as far away as possible and put myself in extremely uncomfortable situations.  Hiking Kilimanjaro was definitely an experience I’ll always treasure, but after the completion I felt a vague sense of depression set in.  So of course I immediately started planning my next trip, a solo trip to Europe.  That was enjoyable, I saw and did so much that I will never forget, but somehow I still felt a vague sense of dissatisfaction.  Then I planned the Appalachian Trail excursion, which was a horrible failure for me in a lot of ways but I did manage to meet my current partner in crime so I am forever thankful for that.  Soon begins the journey to South East Asia, and I suppose my biggest fear is that this unquiet in my soul will never be silenced.  I’m pretty sure eventually I am going to end up a hermit deep in the woods with only my cat as company, but for now I am going to keep wandering and looking for that nameless word.  Meanwhile, here are a few tips to learn what kind of person you really are:

  1. Travel as far away as possible and spend as much time in that place as possible.  You never know when you’ll be able to go back again, so really get to know the place you are at.  
  2. Do extremely difficult things, things you never thought you could do.  Kayak in the middle of the ocean, hike a giant mountain, or you know go up and talk to a stranger.  
  3. Be open to meeting new people.  This one is hard for me because I am extremely introverted and not good at small talk.  I often forget to ask simple small questions or say the appropriate platitudes.  So small talk is difficult for me.  However, I have been lucky to meet some truly wonderful and fascinating people on my journeys, so definitely give this one a go.  
  4. Let yourself get lost, don’t worry you’ll find your way again.  Take it from someone that has ended up alone and lost and teary eyed more times than I can count, eventually you will find your way to where you need to be again.  
  5. Go to a park, or the ocean, or the woods, and just sit by yourself and either watch the sunrise or sunset.  Of all things watching the sun slip over the horizon is the one of the things that always makes me feel filled with peace and contentment and a strange energy to accomplish great things.  

Although this list is by no means comprehensive I am hoping it will help you on your own journeys.   I may not have found myself, but I have learned a lot about myself over the years.  What I am capable of, what truly matters to me, and the knowledge that I’ll probably always feel a little bit restless.  I hope that while you travel to whatever far off land that strikes your fancy you learn more about yourself as well.


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