Belonging is a natural reaction, intrinsic. We search in order to find a community, a group of friends, a country in which we belong. America is a place whereWhen we feel uncomfortable, we say “I don’t belong here” and when you find a situation in which you are happy, you can be yourself, natural and free you feel as if it was created only for you. It can also be the most wonderfully liberating experience when you find yourself in a culture in which you do not belong.
In not belonging, you become someone free of restrictions, free of the expectations, free to creatively exre your imagination without the guilt that often latently lies behind the veiled threat of failure and disappointment. The apparent fact of not belonging is open for everyone, but it”tms the course of action taken in light of this cultural segregation which should be the goal of the traveler today. “I had, I realized become strangely accustomed to living in Korea, even though a part of me desired to be back on the beach in Thailand. Rules, or lack of, which shaped me more as an individual than any thing else I had experienced in my life.
We are expected to increase our spending power as we age, not our understanding of other cultures, not our compassion for each other or for those living on the other side of the economic spectrum. The traveler, if open to the possibility, is in a perfect position to experience this transcendence. America is the ultimate machine, the ultimate company, and the by-product of its hyper capitalist model is the increasingly glaring loss of personal creativity and individualism within its borders. We are consumers and we are resources to be used and abused in a cycle of production of consumption.
I didn”tmt belong, but I could never belong and it was a liberating experience, one which taught me in a way the rules for living on the fringe of a society. I was an outsider, I obviously did not belong into this society, one which is very homogeneous, one in which a foreigner learns to live with the constant attention of being gawked and stared at, around each corner, in each subway car, in every restaurant, everywhere. In our own cultures, where in a sense, at least culturally, linguistically and historically we do belong, life often becomes a stifling world in which our lives are predestined, packaged products.