In the UK, we will sometimes describe something as having the ‘Marmite effect’. By this we mean, people will either love or hate whatever it is we are discussing. The phrase, ‘Love It, Hate It’ is even used in its advertising campaigns… Me, I love it 😉
Travel is a topic that very often has a type of Marmite effect. Many people love travel, in all its guises, and the experience is often held up to be an experience that truly benefits a life, opening out an individual’s worldview to encompass horizons beyond his or her own shore. Others, when they think of travel, are put off by the visas, passports, check-in times, bewildering cultural confusions and expense. It’s the Marmite effect.
As I prepare myself for a trip next month, first to London to deliver a workshop at an international school, then to Amsterdam to attend a Families in Global Transition Conference (and take part in a research panel discussion there), I am surprising myself by by own reaction to the logistics and planning involved in making these journeys. Although I’m satistfactorily navigating all the necessary websites and booking forms, I’m not getting the ‘buzz’ often talked of as inherent to the Third Culture Kid’s experience of travel. I’m finding the prospect of being away from family and friends for a week (just the one!) daunting. How can this be? Surely TCKs all love travel and embrace any opportunity to plan new adventures? I’m a TCK, so what’s wrong with me?!
As it turns out, nothing. Just like Mary Poppins, I’m ‘practically perfect’ in every way. Okay, so that’s not quite right either ;)Rather, no identity I hold should have a hold over me.
As I often discuss with my clients, we cannot fail at our identity as TCKs. TCK profiling and research is only so useful inasmuch as it helps us to keep listening to the complex and varied ways in which TCKs engage with their internationally global upbringings. As soon as TCKs run the risk of feeling not ‘TCK’-enough, our understanding of our TCK identity needs re-examining.
So it turns out a TCK may have a love/hate relationship with travel, just like Marmite. And anything else he or she feels like 😉
If you would like to explore your own TCK story, in all its complexity and complete with its own Marmite effects, do get in touch. Email me here to arrange a free consultation.