Carrying my red suitcase, I changed places, countries, continents, and couches over the last several years. Whenever a friend called me, the first question was never, “how are you?” but “where are you?” I avoided any kind of shopping – not only because of my limited money – but out of fear that my suitcase would no longer close. While I still posted pictures of each new exciting destinations, I felt alone and lost between the different places. Slowly, I began to lose the feeling of belonging and connection and counted more the ‘goodbyes’ than ‘hellos’ within a month.
When I finally returned to my so called home, I realized that friends had left. When I finally found a job in my country of origin, I realized that it’s even more difficult to make friends there compared to many international communities.
I describe myself as a citizen of the world and somebody with an open mind and broad perspectives – but if I am being honest, most of my international friends share the same social background and I cannot equate Internationality with Diversity.
I desperately hold onto the ideology that one day, I will contribute to the changes of the world. However, most of my energy is going towards fixing my own life. I find myself somewhere in between citizen of the world and a placeless generation.
As I return home, I have to face the truth: there is no way back.
I may find a place to stay longer and to build a home, but I will probably never return to the person I was before. Today, I secretly judge the simple and easy lifestyle I once knew.
While living this crazy suitcase life, untethered from the world and feeling lost, I can keep three main points in mind to ease the discomfort:
1. Focus on goals:
Rather than remembering the times you were invited to dinners, running into friends on the city street, focus on goals. Nostalgia should not change one’s level of ambition. Instead, try to approach your life as the narrator of your own story, with patience and curiosity as you uncover your place in the world and what goals could ignite your spirit.
2. Focus on the moment:
In between chatting with old friends and talking with random people in a new place, focus on living in the moment. Every place or experience has something to offer even if it only lasts for a minute, a day, or a week. No matter the length of the moment, you can discover value in it if you remain present.
3. Focus on your inner value:
Even if you are couch surfing or you need help and advice from other, you should never lower your self-esteem. Sometimes in life, you can give more and at other times you will need more. It does not change who you are or your worth. Find your value, and always hold onto it even when you experience fleeting thoughts that you are less than.