The Traveler – The Question of Home and Belonging in Transitioning Dynamics

You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back” (Theroux, 2004). In this thesis, I explore and gain deeper insights into how traveling changes feelings of belonging, home, as well as possible ways of negotiating and ways of dealing with such transitions. In my thesis, I present the following research question: How can the traveler within transitioning dynamics deal with redefining home and belonging of the self? As the movement of the traveler involves bodywork, I go into dialogue with the different authors through the writings in the journal I kept while I traveled through Europe in different social settings. The idea of having one ideal, permanent and stable place called home in which one needs to function at all time, can cause phenomenons in movement such as transitioning and reentry to become something problematic and more challenging.

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Ironically, my ultimate challenge throughout this thesis process was to go through many phases of transitioning while writing a structured master thesis. It is exactly this process and struggle which made my thesis such a formative experience. Looking back now, it is noticeable how I was living my chapters and how each text grew out of the other, like a slow process of accretion. The embodiment of my writing and living process have allowed me to express and discuss the issues I was living in at that very moment, which I have found to be a true gift. I discovered that re-entry, coming home and settlement offer deeper and life-changing insights as well as opportunities for transformation, adventure and exploration. It is part of the journey and it entails the confusing moment of realizing that, I as a traveler, am no longer the same, while facing the opportunity to create and give form to the lifestyle that fits and is in line with the way the traveler has altered.

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