(Photo from Jacob Ufkes via Thought Catalog)
Being born in a generation with a penchant for traveling, I’ve always wondered if people really do find themselves within a short period of time overseas, up the mountains, or deep under the sea. I used to believe that “finding myself” will be an easy thing to do after setting foot in distant lands but now that I’m in my early 20s, it’s funny how it turned out to be an overrated social media caption instead.
It’s easy to say that you found yourself as you post a beach photo, but the question is: Did you, really? Don’t fret if you haven’t because realistically speaking, finding yourself – or at least knowing yourself – is a continuous ever-changing process as you grow old. It’s molded even by the most unexpected experiences like small talks on the streets, a nice comment from your boss, late night conversations with the love of your life, or mundane moments at 2 AM when almost everyone is asleep.
While setting foot in a foreign land can be good for the soul, these miniscule moments cannot define who we are. The final version of you is a product of the successive changes throughout the years, and travel or not, there’s always a version of yourself that you’ll create in time.
Travel to gain experiences, to educate yourself, to get immersed in different cultures, to know the world better, and to create bonds with people from all walks of life. Travel to feel the life flow in your veins, to chase sunsets, and marvel at the beauty that you’ve only seen in photos. Travel to be better, to open your mind to the unknown, to feed your passion, but never to merely find yourself in one go.
After all, why look for yourself when you can create who you’re going to be? Finding yourself isn’t a matter of chance; but rather, a choice. That choice doesn’t depend on where you’ve been but on what you’ve been through all these years.
You won’t find yourself when you travel because in the end, the “you” that you’ve been looking for has long been there with you. It’s not some holy ghost trapped in the depths of the oceans or a damsel in distress placed high above the mountains waiting to be rescued. It’s a part of you that’s being molded by experiences in every step of the way.
Don’t limit this important search to purely traveling. Let every moment be a reason for you to find yourself, for every moment has a purpose.
Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.