I exist in a space somewhere between American and Colombian identities. I’ve been traveling for my entire life. As a child, I left Colombia to come to the United States, and in the United States we found ourselves frequently moving. For this reason, tradition for me is solely associated with the people in my life and where they are, and home is less of a location and more wherever those I love gather. I get a sense that I’m a foreigner in most places where I visit, and I feel most at home in major international cities amongst other travelers.
In my own life, I’ve run people whose identities are deeply tied to one nation or one place and have a deep spiritual connection to a specific house, city, or even something like a street. In one sense, I envy these people, as they have had a unique experience and a place they utterly belong to. On the other hand, I am blessed to have traveled as much as I have, as it gives me the openness to pick up new languages, new friends, and new ways of thinking.
Australia is a unique experience for me. I’ve traveled throughout most of Europe, Latin America, and throughout the United States. But I’ve always traveled to these places with knowledge of the area, (like in Colombia) or with friends and companions to serve as anchors for myself emotionally. Although I speak the language in Australia, I am coming into this experience with no real ties to the country, knowing no one there, and traveling alone.
This lack of experience with Australia has left me with little in the way of expectations. I look at Australia as a blank slate for myself. It is a place where I can focus entirely on having new experiences, meeting new people and authoring my own future. My own identity has yet to be fully formed. I need to cognizant that although my own experiences travelling internationally have given me tremendous breadth of knowledge, I don’t truly have immersion in any of the places I’ve spent fleeting moments in and should guard myself against quickly comparing any of my experiences here against what I’ve already done. I need to let Australia mold me.