Travel Identity

Who are we when we travel?  Or who do we aspire to be?  At 40 years old, I want to look like a secure confident traveler.  My attire stretches to be one that shows wealth (although not too much that I am a target), simplicity, and an easy-going nature.  I feel my brown skins morphs me into fitting into any ambiguous ethnic culture that may exist in that society.  It doesn’t scream American, particularly when I am alone and don’t open my mouth.  But despite all this, when I get to the bathroom airport, after the long drive, dropping off my vehicle, checking in, and getting through security, I look in the mirror.  I still look like a 20 something backpacker.  I don’t mean to, but this is what I portray.

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Discontent overwhelms me.  It’s the crazy print backpack I’m carrying and the camel hat.   Immediately I think what can I buy at the airport to disguise the free flowing wanderluster that wants to show off.  I want to look more business casual cool, not a free thinking hippie.  I start to look at other travelers, how do they walk around so light?  Checked in luggage, solely bringing underwear on the trip with one change of clothes?  Or I start to wonder if I can emulate the cool passenger with a tiny book bag over one shoulder.  After I gaze through a luggage shop debating a purchase, I slow down and remind myself of the goal I had set the past year of beginning to live a life of minimalism.  I can’t just purchase things to resolve situations or apparent problems.  Buying doesn’t solve anything, although we think it does.

 

You would think that after being an avid traveler, this would be a skill I would have conquered.  But no. Instead of trying to exude an image of elite prestige, embrace the youthfulness in me that still has the energy to go on crazy adventure solo trips with a rolling carry on and backpack on both shoulders.  Know that being a writer and now podcaster, I must travel around with books, a journal, laptop, and microphone to capture moments of inspiration.

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Our appearance at the airport is one tiny piece of the trip.  Your journey consists of so much more.  Reflect on your intentions for this excursion.  What do you hope to gain?  How do you want to be?  Dig deeper than what you see in the mirror.  And smile back at the image you see, whatever it may be.

 

“Live with no excuses.  Travel with no regrets.” –Oscar Wilde

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