Travel, the Marmite effect…


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?!

Photo by tookapic, www.pixabay.com
Photo by tookapic, www.pixabay.com

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.


  1. Dan Elyea says:

    I love Marmite, but no one else in my family does. 🙂 As to travel, it’s been an ambivalent experience. I hate the lines, being groped, the terrible service in some countries (in some countries I’ve been in, it’s a free-for-all getting to an agent, with pushing and shoving). It’s always interesting being in other places, but I’ve never felt a drive to travel about; work assignments and family visits brought on most of my travels. At this stage of my life it’s moot, because for physical reasons, travel is no longer an option. This TCK never felt a compulsion to travel.

    • Dr. Rachel Cason says:

      It’s good to hear I’m not alone! Compulsion to travel vs. Desire to travel… that needs a study all of its own! 🙂

    • Sadeep says:

      Rachel,I love that you have put this list together. it has given me some new rcrousees, like Denizen.com but reminded me how much I have used most of these rcrousees in training my teams for working with TCK’s. The video you listed is absolutely wonderful. I can talk about all the things in there but to see those who live with the reality struggle with certain questions is so much more powerful. And the song the Call I use with TCK’s to help them understand and learn to say goodbye well.This is an excellent list and I am so thankful that you are open and talking about your experience. I am also thankful that God has allowed me to enter into the world where you and your kids live with understanding patience and love for all of you.Blessings on you and enjoy your time with your kids!

      • Dr. Rachel Cason says:

        Thank you for your kind words, Sadeep… The Call is a wonderful song… It’s used in Prince Caspian… did you know the director for Narnia and Prince Caspian is a TCK himself? I found myself so moved by Prince Caspian, and had a hunch that the director must have had some TCK-like experiences as he handled issues around transition and belonging so sensitively… I looked him up and he is a TCK himself, which explained it! I’d love to know more about your work with TCKs, do email me if you have the time 🙂 All the best!

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