Megan Root, 28, and her partner, Eoin Flinn, are Global Slackers, having traveled to 30 countries over 464 days on just $26,023.
We’ll try almost anything at least once. Scottish haggis? Bring it on.
Unstable, uneasy, uncomfortable. That’s how 25-year-old TCK artist Grace Kim describes her installation on Third Culture Kid identity.
I’ve avoided doing this for so long and for good reason. But here I am, saying goodbye at an airport, breaking my cardinal rule because I can’t help but use up every second I’ve got with her. We get off the bus and walk hand-in-hand into the terminal, luggage in tow. She checks in, her eyes starting to water. I can feel mine moisten, but I get it together as the ticket agent looks taken aback. I take a few breaths, trying my best to be steady even though the realization of what this moment means starts settling in, the anxiousness gathering momentum. Airports have never been complicated for me. I’ve always been indifferent about them; the only things worth getting emotional about were flight delays and exceptional (or terrible) food at the gate. I’ve rarely been upset at airports, even when leaving a country that had been home for the past couple of years. If I’d felt anything at all, it was intrigue and excitement over what awaited on the other side — but …
For many of us, completing university means one thing: figuring out the next step. Whether it’s teaching English in Asia, backpacking across Europe or working for a charity group in Africa, many TCKs hunger to explore as much of the world as humanly possible. What drives us to travel like this? What are we looking for? What are the adverse effects of traveling? And perhaps most importantly, will we ever find whatever it is that we are looking for? We often seek adventure because, from the get-go, our lives are a journey into the unknown. All of us are raised in what some would call ‘unconventional’ circumstances: what is strange and foreign to some is perfectly normal to others. This very concept lies at the core of the mindset of most TCKs. In my opinion, we spend our first twenty-something odd years fighting to find our identity, only to find that the “box” doesn’t actually exist. We learn that the more we experience, the more we are able to adapt to our surroundings and appreciate …
In my fourth sublet in Berlin in the past eight months, I am growing accustomed to another person’s things around me, to her life quietly insinuating itself into my own.
At 22, Joe Alexander is likely the first Taiwanese-born Third Culture Kid to play for the NBA. Born in Kaohsiung, Alexander plays for the Milwaukee Bucks and was the no. 8 overall pick during the 2008 draft.
I’ve been able to live in some amazing places. It’s one of the perks of being a Third Culture Kid. But what separates us from other travelers is our ability to adapt to our surroundings and become comfortable, wherever we are.
In today’s world, we’re targeted for many reasons. Most of the time it’s as simple and obvious as where we’re from. We’re singled out because we represent our passport countries, even though many of us have barely lived in them (if at all).
I was 17 when I started college in Florida; just months away from being able to legally enter, but not drink at, a club or a bar. Because I had been living in Shanghai the last four years, I didn’t have a driver’s license – only a passport, and my American diplomat card. I got away with acting like a dumb freshman girl who “forgot” my ID a few times, but when my friends and I attempted to go out dancing one night, my ego was completely shot. “Where’s your ID,” the bouncer demanded. “Well, I have this,” I took out my diplomat ID. “My birthday’s right here.” He looked at it puzzled, squinting at the Chinese characters. “What is this? Don’t you have a driver’s license?” Um, no sir, that requires the ability to drive. “My birthday’s right there,” I pointed, hoping maybe he’d just let me in. “No, I can’t take this, I can’t even read this.” He threw it back and me and took the next person in line. I was furious. …