Behavior, society, and loneliness

posted by Russ, November 11 in lifestyle design with tags , , ,

1 comment so far

I am by nature a shy and reserved person. People who I know at home know this about me. In the past when I have traveled away from my home, whether for a weekend road trip or for a jaunt overseas, I find that I am much more outgoing, and many of my inhibitions I carry at home are stripped away. I have often tried to make sense of this, wondering why I suddenly get this new ability to socialize and step over boundaries that would often stop me while in my normal bubble of “real life”. It was so noticeable that during a trip to England in college my friends started calling me “International Russ”. They saw this new uninhibited side of me and my seemingly newfound ability to be social and draw people close.

After returning home from these trips, I always try to maintain this new attitude, but it always seems to fade. I have often wondered why this is, why it is that I have inhibitions at home though not on the road. In applying normal logic it seems that if I can behave one way while in one place, I should be able to behave the same while at home. I think everyone knows that it is easy to let loose vacations or during travel. The conclusion I had come to was that while home there are certain behaviors we all have, behaviors that people have come to expect of us based on who they know us to be, and if we stray from those there are consequences. The consequences may be tiny or they may be more significant.

I am straying from my topic here, but my point is basically that while we are home and in our daily routine, we in a way have become victims of our past actions and have created a perception of ourselves that people come to associate with us. And while traveling, all this is stripped away, and there are no prolonged consequences of changes or deviations from our normal behavior. This may or not make sense to you, but what prompted it was this article that Wade of Vagabond Journey had wrote earlier.

Here is an excerpt:

“You can start up conversations with dozens of people a day when wandering and not a single one of them has any inherent consequence. If you talk to someone and find that they do not understand what you are saying, then you can just move onto another person. If you make a friend and realize that you do not like him then you can just leave. If you find that you are in a setting which prohibits conversation then you have a full range of options to change it. When traveling you are essentially outside of the box of all convention – you are in a land of little social consequence. You can say anything to almost anyone and it does not really matter.”

And more:

“You are a traveler, you can do or say anything to anyone and there are little social consequences. The traveler is the ultimate social wildcard, you can go between all classes and sects of a culture equally, as there are no boxes to put you in.”

I think that addresses the root of what I am talking about. I also realize that it doesn’t have to be this way, that my inhibitions while home are a result of fear, apprehension, and social conditioning.

Originally posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 7:22 PM .

One Response to “Behavior, society, and loneliness”

  1. Grace says:

    I am definitely the same way. I think my hometown (where I grew up in and eventually came back to live in) is particularly restrictive to me. I’m always worried about things I say or do will get back around to my family and it bothers me to run into old acquaintances that are still judging me from the way I used to be.

    When I’m living in a town where I have no such connections, I feel a great deal more free to just be myself. When I’m traveling to a new place where I will only be around for a few days at the most, I think I have this feeling… but my behavior is further heightened by my excitement of being in a place that I’ve yet to experience.

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