Yeah, my arse.
Sorry guys, but travel is not how we find ourselves. It is not the mechanism by which we discover who we really are.
As we grew into our teens and my brother became well known at school, I was "the little sister". As an adolescent, I had to fight to defend my "alternative" identity, and I ended up just fighting everything - teachers, parents, pupils, inanimate objects, and of course myself. So, while my brother was being celebrated and adored, I upset people and got into trouble. I became "the black sheep".
As the years went by, my identity continued to be defined by the people and things around me. I was "the smoker", "the party animal", "the girlfriend".
Then I went on a round the world trip by myself aged 19. And I "found myself" - hoorah!
No, course I didn't. I did some cool stuff, got into some slightly hairy situations, survived, met some new friends and distant relatives, stayed with Miss Tahiti 1983, got a tattoo and had an incredible time, then came home again.
After that, the pattern resumed; I became "the marketer", "the mental health campaigner", "the PR girl". And each time a relationship ended or a new interest developed, to some degree, I became defined by that.
But none of these identities lasted. None of them are who I am, I see that now.
When you start a life in another country (in my case, Australia), particularly one that's far away from all the people and things that have always defined you, you realise that it's not travel that allows you to know who you are; it's solitude. Or to be more specific, it's distance from who you were or, rather, who everyone thinks you are.
You're on your own. And the silence is deafening.
But then slowly, you begin to hear something. It sounds like a voice. It's your voice. And it's telling you things you've never been able to hear before because you've been too busy playing your latest character.
And maybe I'm a fool for never having been able to hear this voice before. Perhaps I'm the weird one, that it's taken me until the age of 31 to feel like I'm finally getting somewhere.
Or maybe, just maybe, there are some others out there that are like me, who've felt a little lost in the past, a bit confused, not knowing where they belong or what they should do. Or who to please.
In which case, this blog post is for you.