March 31, 2020

Does travelling abroad enable us to find ourselves?

Catriona Knapman, 36

There is this idea in travel culture, that you find yourself ‘out there’. It is competitive: visiting more countries gives you a status. It overlooks the privilege of the type of travel we have access to in the Western World. It expects you return home, not only ‘found’, but changed for the better. I lived over 15 years in Latin America, Africa and Asia. I kept expecting to uncover an improved version of myself. Yet I did not. New places did teach new things, but more often I lost myself, submerged in other cultures. I filmed this poem in Yangon, my home for 5 years. The Railway Station has a frenetic movement. The crackly recording like an old long-distance telephone line. As if I could call myself from the other side of the world, connect different parts of myself together. If I learned anything from travel it is compassion for different cultures and that it is strange to be human. As a foreigner, I had an excuse for my strangeness I do not have at home. A reason to not belong. I found that comforting. It showed me there was no need to find myself. I was here all along.

Out On The World, 2020Film