Billions  of people travel around the world to discover themselves. But what is actually the “true self”? According to the psychoanalist D. W. Winnicott the “true self” is a sense of self which is based on spontanious authentic experience and a feeling of being alive.

Is there really a need of travelling only to find out this “true self”? Can you not find yourself at home?

I think that for lots of people it is really hard to truely be themselves because they always try to fit some others expectations, especially when they are in their home country . If you are at school, at work, with your friends or even at home with your family, you are always sourrounded by other people and their opinions of you. Of course, there are also people who do not really care about the opinions of others. But do they really not care at all?

When you are going to another country, may it be for holidays, for an exchange semester or even for an internship, of course there are also other people there, but the most people do not really care about them or at least less. One main reason might be that their time there is limited and they will probably never see these people again. Also they do not really know these other people, so the influence of them is smaller.

Furthermore, every time you go to another place, you get a new chance to start again and find out who you really are. If nobody knows you, nobody expects anything from you, so you are free to be who you want to be, who you really are.

So when you are in a new environment you are kind of more free to be the way you really are. This is the basis of your true self.

Discover (c) Stéphane Moulin

Discover (c) Stéphane Moulin

When you have found this basis, you can build quite a lot on it. Being abroad means always to meet a lot of new people from different countries, various opinions and perspectives, and listining to the opinion of others can help you to build your own. You will get to know a lot of different cultures and languages. Maybe the others can inspire you and you will get a new way of thinking.

Your mind will not only change, but it will also abroaden your horizon and widen your way of thinking. You get lots of experiences which will help you in your daily life.

When you travel around the world, you meet so many people and see so many things that you will see the world with new eyes than before and thereby also the way you see your home, your friends, your family and yourself will change.

When you come back home after a long travel, maybe you will look at your friends from a complete new perspective. You will find out that their way of thinking does not fit to yours anymore or on the otherside it maybe fits even better and you get along with them better than ever before.

If you know who you truely are, what you really like and what you do not like, it is easier to find things and people who are good for you and maybe others who are not.

It is really important for your self esteem to know who you really are, and also to build some true and deep friendships or relationships. Therefore you should travel as much as you can, get as much experience as possible, explore the world and thereby discover yourself and find out who you truely are!

(c) Mikolaj Wawrzyniak

(c) Mikolaj Wawrzyniak

“Not until you have been in another country for a longer time, you can recognize the cultural differences to your own country. Then you learn about yourself, what you found to be sure and what makes you different from others. Especially when you travel all alone, you get more self-confident and independent. You have to be more self-confident because you’re on your own and you have to decide for yourself. I learned that I have to be more open and that people not always react how you expect them to do. When I came back I wondered about some characteristics about the austrian culture.”

– Lydia Stiglitz, from Austria

(c) Falk Sonnenberg

(c) Falk Sonnenberg

“I lived with an african family for 3 months. When I was there I didn’t really realize about it but when I came back I recognized how featureless and monotonous everything was there. The people in Africa are completeyl different when it’s about money or origin. They just do everything together and treat each other completely equally and with a lot of optimism each day. When I came back I realized about the big contrast.”

– Falk Sonnenberg, from Germany