I know it’s a cliche – just even to mention ‘finding yourself’ when you write about travel. But it is true. Every travel experience I make, gives me exactly what I need, no more and no less. And it helps me to find myself.

When I was younger I used to travel to escape my reality. It was almost as if I had two lives; the one that happened between August and May, and then there was the real one. The one that made everything else in between worth it. My life of travel.

I spent a couple of summers in Paris, learning French and screenwriting. Both times, I was avoiding my own harsh realities from back home, but my problems were so deeply rooted that obviously they followed me. I have always imagined Paris to be a wise city – like a guru. I truly believe that the city teaches you a lesson, a different one each time you’re there. When you run away from your problems, they will catch up with you eventually, and potentially they could teach you how to love yourself a little more. 

The thing about travel that helps you find yourself is that when you travel, you’re deprived of certain things all the time.

You’re deprived of your friends and loved ones. You have to find a way to connect to new people.

You’re deprived of your usual places and activities. This forces you to explore life from a different point of view, to question if your way actually is the right way for you.

You’re deprived of familiarity. This challenges you to learn new routes, take different means of transportation, talk to strangers and meet people you normally wouldn’t; to confide in the kindness of people.

Most importantly though, you are deprived of the ticking clock of expectations that the people around you have. Expectations that you may have helped build; expectations that have grown with the years and you haven’t faced because it’s easier not to.

By not having the weight of these expectations (including your own, which are often the heaviest) you can re-invent yourself. From one moment to another, like an act of magic, you can be whoever you want to be, you can act in any imaginable way. The moment you realize nobody knows you and you won’t meet most people again, you can scream, you can dance in the street, you can curse from the bottom of your heart at the guy that cut line in front of you, you can kick a pile of leaves for the pleasure of doing so. The rules change, and something within you does too.

Cliche or not - finding yourself while traveling is definitely possible! This story of a trip to England is our proof for it!

You can pick the pieces of yourself you like the most and explore them deeply. You can fake an accent. You can invent your own background story. You can pick habits you wish you had. You can finally wear that dress that you find too fancy for everyday wear at home. You can break free from bras because who cares what your boobs look like in a far away land.

The point is you can create your perfect self. And still you’ll somehow develop what’s already on the inside. You’ll soon realize which traits are so specific to you that you had almost forgotten about them, because everybody back at home (including you) takes them for granted. You learn your strengths, and by acknowledging them, you make yourself stronger.

The thing I have realized during my latest trip through England is that it isn’t easy to take this new person back home! It will take quite a while to figure out how these pieces of myself that I like the most in me fit with my reality. How do I change, when I had been a certain way all my life? And well, the answer is really simple: I fully embrace this new person. I take things easier, I worry less and feel more. I let go of little spats that may have bothered me before, because I have figured out I want every day of my life to be the happiest day of my life. Travel has truly helped me to find myself. 

Do you have similar experiences when you travel solo?

This is a guest post by Romina Serma

Romina was born and raised in Mexico City. She has lived in Italy, Paris and New York as well; she believes there is nothing more interesting than humans and their understanding of the amazing world around them. She loves telling stories so much she found a way to make a living out of it as a filmmaker.