The Homeless Generation

Centuries of technological and cultural development have created an increasingly surprising amount of opportunities for young people to travel and widen their horizons. Educated students nowadays claim to “have been anywhere and tried everything”. They however can’t help but feel like nothing really belongs to them. Or, more precisely, not to belong anywhere anymore.

Several statistics and websites discuss the effect of travelling on career-oriented themes such as future job success or expected salary. However, they yet have to explore the transformation individuals undergo by partecipating in the unusual social experiment of permanent wandering. Rarely anyone wonders whether these people – who have the chance to live a different life in every country, even though for a short time – ever struggled in finding their identity in this multifaced world.

In Germany they call it Wanderlust. The insatiable desire to discover every day a new place, to push yourself to unexplored horizons in search for answers to the unknown. Not everyone however sees that, with this appetite for travels often arises a struggle. The conflict amongst those different realities wanderers force themselves to experience.

Fellow migrants like me will probably already know what I am talking about. Moving within countries is not always easy. It comes with a huge baggage of regret and responsibility. Regret of meaninful relationships fading into some vague memory that lose their meanings as days and months pass by. Responsibility of building your life once again from scratch. With no idea of how to do it and where to start from. And no, it doesn’t get easier with experience. It doesn’t get simpler just because you’ve done it already several times.

Building an identity is one of the things we – as human beings – are mostly incapable of. We shape our personality through contact with people, experiences and education. But what if all of these factors kept changing, making our character change with them? To which extent can someone be sure of what he is, after being bombarded with an abnormal amount of stimuli making him a new ‘self’ everyday?

The ease of travel is one of the most amazing opportunities today’s society has given us. It does really open your mind. But not many have digged deep enough to understand what you find once you dig enough in there. It is ofter a craving for something more. More experiences. More cultural diversity. More friendships. More places to see. More things to do. Always consistently looking for more.

I believe – to some extent – our openness to experiences and access to everything is what gave us – students in our 20ies – the nicknamen of “pemanently unhappy generation”. But you, who burdened us with this acceptation, probably don’t understand that our desire for more does not prevent us from appreciating what we already have.

It is though difficult, in a world made of so many different but yet fascinating realities, to find your true self. It is hard to move to a new place never knowing if that one will be the last one. It is a struggle to build strong bonds to then seeing them crumble in front of your eyes. It is not easy to manage to feel like you belong somewhere to then realize you have to build your life all over again.

This is the homeless generation. A group of confused people that want to make the world their home. Discovery and adventure spirit is what drives them. They are always excited of learning something new. Always looking for some hidden gems to discover. Permanently on the road looking for surprises. But constantly with the inner desire of – somewhen, somewhere – finally returning to what they can call their home.

Alison

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