The Unreality of Home

All the travelers I meet, when approaching the end of their trip, always say, "I'm going home, back to reality." If home is reality for most people then why do I always feel that, for me, travel is the reality and home is unreality? Maybe it's because I live in Los Angeles AKA La La Land. I work in the film industry which has always seemed like a fantasy world to me. I walk on set and suddenly I'm in a princess suite, alien landscape, or a down and dirty bar. Look around the corner and it's all flats and backdrops, nothing is real. I dress people up and make them pretty, sexy, homeless or nerdy but the person under the clothing is an actor playing a role. Faking it for the cameras. So for 20 years I have been working in a sort of unreality. And the city of Los Angeles itself is pretty unreal too. Everyone has had something enhanced, lifted, or altered whether or not they are in front of the camera. People will tell you that they're doing really well when in fact, they can't pay the rent. That their script is being read by an A lister when they actually just got word that the script never got past the intern at their agents office. Some of the streets have glitter in the pavement and some of the buildings are larger than life. We have the gritty reality here too but only locals see it, never tourists.

So if LA is unreality then why is travel my reality? 

When I travel I feel truly myself. Truly free and able to be exactly who I am. Some people feel that when they are essentially anonymous travelers they can be what they desire to be, they'll lie and spin a tale of grandiosity for whoever will listen. I tend to play down my job because it's really much more interesting to people who are far far away from Hollywood and they really don't want to know the truth of it anyway. And I am much more than my job. It seems like in LA you are defined by your career. First they ask your name, then immediately, "So what do you do?" When I travel people don't ask me that. They ask where I've been, where I'm going next, where did I stay? I ask them what they loved or hated about a place, whether they thought it was worth the money and time to get there, have they made any new friends? Sometime in day 3 of knowing them we talk about jobs, sometimes never at all.

There is also an interesting habit among travelers to spill their secrets to total strangers. We reveal our weaknesses and failings to a person that we know we'll never see again. I am able to open to others that which I would have great difficulty telling my best friend. When I come back from traveling I find I am much more open and able/willing to love once I'm home. Then after a month, the city beats it out of me again and I revert to closing myself off. I try to keep that spirit of openness alive for as long as I possibly can in the hopes of one day being able to keep that consciousness with me every moment of every day, not just when I pass through immigration. 

I am in reality when I travel because I am much more willing to try new things after I get a passport stamp. I believe that is my true nature: adventurous. But I fall into routine and habit when I'm home. My unreality is that I'm a homebody, quite introverted, and at times deathly boring. This is not my true nature. I refuse to believe it. My true self is a badass! When I travel, I live that reality. I feel like we become who we truly are when we travel, for better and for worse. That's why it's so important to travel with someone before you marry them. Honeymoon BEFORE the wedding! If you are a control freak in your heart it will manifest abroad. If you are easy breezy cover girl, that too will manifest itself. If you're intolerant and racist (this may be hidden from you), you'll have a very hard time traveling and will probably try to change others to fit your own ideal. Going abroad will help you in your path to burning the old ways and forging the new. My issues were: control freak (still working on it), my-way-is-better-than-your-way-ism (defo not true anymore), and concern of hygiene (got over that on my first trip). It will also expose latent fears that you will have to conquer. Mine were: cliffs (not heights), the deep, spiders and various creepy crawlies, and bungee jumping. I'm done with all those fears but the last one. I'm a work in progress.

I cannot wait to go on my next adventure (already?!?!) because I will get to experience my core again. Maybe this time the feeling will stick around a bit longer. Maybe that will be the souvenir I bring home.