Throughout high school and college, I did theater. I loved being on stage with an audience watching, but unlike many of my friends, I didn’t want to pursue acting as a career. For me, acting has always been a fun hobby.
I think one reason I like traveling is because it’s a little bit like acting. When I travel, I assume a travel persona, and this persona is different depending on where I am and how I’m traveling.
I noticed this most obviously while living in Hana, Hawai’i for the last two months. Hana is located on the Eastern end of Maui, and is only accessible by plane or driving the Hana Highway — 35 miles that take 2+ hours to drive because the road has so many twists, turns, and one-way bridges. As such, it is one of the most isolated communities in Hawai’i, and home to fewer than 1,500 residents.
While there, I assumed the persona of a Hana Hippie. I embraced showering only twice a week, hitchhiking and using the shaka (hang loose) hand gesture whenever a driver passed me by to let them know that I didn’t mind them not picking me up, we were still cool. I walked around without wearing a bra, and didn’t worry whether or not people could see my nipples — they’re just breasts, and there’s nothing shameful or inherently sexual about them.
I’ve adopted personas in other places I’ve traveled too. In Europe, I was a Cool Backpacker, staying in hostels, traveling long term, visiting cities that people back home hadn’t heard of — so hardcore. Oh, yeah, I just have one pair of jeans; it saves space in my bag.
At least, until I met up with my mother in France. In Paris, I was Sophisticated. I wore mascara and red lipstick and I looked as glamorous as my French surroundings.
After a few weeks in Hana, Hippie Emma felt like a fraud with Sophisticated Emma as her facebook profile picture. Hippie Emma thought sleeping on the beach was a logical, cost-effective choice of accommodation. She also didn’t pluck her eyebrows for a month (but they got super unruly and she finally gave in when faced with enough mirrors).
I realize that a single person can have multiple interests, and I don’t think I’m being false when different aspects of my personality take center stage. Sometimes I like red lipstick, and sometimes I like not wearing a bra, and sleeping on the beach is fun, but so is staying in hostels. On this blog, you get to hear from Blogger Emma. She likes writing for an audience, and talks about her life in the context of travel and happiness and personal growth. She is a sophisticated, hippie backpacker.
It’s not an identity crisis, it’s a hobby. Acting isn’t lying, it’s telling a lot of different truths.
What about you? Do you have travel personas? Am I all alone in playing roles in my daily life?