As social beings we are constantly analyzing how our actions will impact ourselves and those around us . . .
Whether it be on a conscious or subconscious level. Every single interaction–friend, family, co-worker or stranger–that occurs is a methodically thought out movement, effected by where we are, who we’re with, and what we’re doing. Granted, some are better at thinking these things through then others.
The way we present our inner selves to the outer world is dependent on these circumstances. We have the mask we wear at work, at school, at home. Some people have distinct masks for each occasion, some have a malleable mask that subtly changes from one place to the next.
Traveling requires you to take off your mask, or rather, it allows you to. Because not everyone who travels will take off their mask. By removing our masks, we are able to air out our inner selves. With the stifling, socially oppressive mask gone we are capable of growing and flourishing. As a visitor in a different social landscape we no longer need to constantly interpret cues from friends, or that person you think you like who’s talking to someone else right now at the party. It no longer matters. What matters is connecting with those around on a deeper level, a level without masks. A raw, unobscured level.
By entering a space without a mask we not only have the privilege of being open, blank slates for others to write upon, but the responsibility to assist others in the process of removing their masks.
It’s an awkward phenomenon. For the traveler and others. Not many understand it. But once you do, it is extremely liberating. It isn’t hard to take off the mask, but it is difficult to be exposed. It isn’t easy to show the world your true self, but once you do it you’ll know that there is no other way to be.
Many love to travel because of what it shows them about the outside world; but to me travel is about the changes it bring about inside.
M. A. Chavez
Is co-founder of Vagrant. Anonymous. He spends his time split between traveling and the North West. He is currently working on getting his debut novel published, and writing his second.
What has traveling made you realize about yourself? When do you find yourself able to remove your mask?
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