You remember I had this big bike tour, for which I wanted to update you? Well the posts are written, but without wi-fi and often not even electricity or time there was no chance to update you all on my journey through the country.
The posts will come, but this is not the actual topic of this post. This post is about my journey to my identity. I wanted to find out :
Now after 1000km on my bike, riding from village, to village, over mountains and across rivers I think I found my answer.
I am Germany. But I am also so much more. I am a citizen of this world. I am human and I can’t be defined by one country.
People from other countries shaped me as much as my German friends and family.
So how did my identity discovery go?
While I traveled across the country, looking for this “aha” moment, this I belong here, I am part of this, I realized that I have left this identity defined by one country a long, long time ago.
I saw things I liked, things I didn’t like and many things I would like to change. Especially the attitude of some people.
I realized something.
Germany made up parts of my frame , of how I act and behave. But living in other countries and traveling abroad gave me many, many different parts, to make a mix and match that is quite uniquely, me.
The me that has the German Bluntness, but has learned greeting everyone in the States, on how to start small talk in Ireland, haggling in China and the list goes on and on.
I am not Germany anymore.
I am more and we all become more once we get out of our small world with the fences and gardens and actually visit another country.
And it’s also what I noticed on my tour. Those with the least contact to other cultures where the most cold and narrow-minded. Those who lived in areas with many cultures, had friends from different backgrounds or traveled much ( and with traveling the all-inclusive holiday at the beach is not counting) where the most open, most likely to help somebody who looked like they were lost and also the friendliest.
Experience shape us much more than where we are born, but to make these experiences we have to leave our backyards.
I rode through small villages, where they where fighting against solar panels, because they didn’t look pretty. Are we really so narrow-minded that these are our biggest problems in Germany? I mean do you guys want electricity or not? It ain’t coming out of thin air xD
There where people who wanted to tell me people in Germany where starving like some in Afrika, who have a bowl of rice for a whole family.
Who are you kidding? Every bigger city has at least one place where homeless can get at least one warm meal each day and there are other ways to get back into the system and then the state takes care of you. Topic for another post!
I was shocked by the grouping that people did. Us against them. Germans first. Not many made it this clear, but many made it plenty clear that they where not bothered by what happened in other places far away.
I was riding for Amnesty International and I have to say I horribly failed in collecting money for them, because I just couldn’t make clear why it is important that every human has basic human rights.
The concept of not being free, fear of torture and else is so far away from the german life, that many simply couldn’t connect.
They feared about their tiny world, not being interested how many people starve, how many people fear of getting shot on the street or thrown into prison for a political comment.
This is when I realized.
While I am proud to live in a place like germany, which can offer you so much. Sure some things still are not perfect, but compared to the rest of the world, duuuuude stop complaining. Nobody goes hungry, everybody gets a chance and in the end it is up to you what you make out of your life. We don’t have to be all rich, to be happy.
I realized I simply can’t ignore the rest of the world.
And I don’t want to. Why judge somebody who moves to a place where he can earn more money? I know quite a few doctors who did just that and went to work in other countries because the pay was better than in germany.
I can’t judge somebody who looks for a better life and for a chance.
And I am tired of looking away when it comes to war, injustice, racism, gender inequalities and poverty.
And I won’t give up until every human being can at least be sure that they have basic human rights. Call me an idealist.
But I accept my responsibility as a world citizen.
I refuse to be simply just defined by the country I am born, but I am a person living on this earth. With many other humans who need help and support. It’s not fair that the chance of where you are born is defining how we live and what kind of life we get.
I am part of this world and as such I have a responsibility towards every other human of this world, not just of those in the same city, not just of those in the same country, but for the world.
Change starts slow and working in our communities to help others is the best and first step towards a better world. But we really have to stop to complain.
We are all responsible for change.
Not just the politics. The little things we do in our daily lives can have a great impact.
And if we all start to actually care for others and start doing something, be it as small as it is, this world would already be brighter.
I am not Germany. You are not Germany.
We are human and that should always be the most important thing to keep in mind.
You and I, we are not so much different then the next guy at the other end of the world. We all just want to live and a chance for the life we dream of.
With this thought I finished my journey through identity, because I realized what I was looking for couldn’t be found here. The feeling of not being part of the german society won’t change.
I am German, even though I had issues feeling included into the society, but I realized that this feeling of not belonging isn’t because of my background, but because I never wanted to simply be part of the small world some germans live in.
I always have been a traveller and I never felt included, because I never really adapted to the local rules.
I always went against inequality and labeling. Always against the popular opinion. It is hard to include somebody who has such different opinions. And who also doesn’t want to belong. How often did I refer to “this germans”, or that is so “typical german”.
I labeled everybody too. Which I refuse to do now.
No more labels. From now on everybody is simply human.
On my passport there stands Germany. I am glad that I am born here, otherwise who knew if I could have traveled so much and learned so much. I think the country is quite beautiful and has some great food and beer as well as wine. I meet some amazing people, who were giving and nice and I always fondly remember.
And I am Germany. I am a part of this country and I can be a part of how it developes. But I am so much more than just that!
And it took me 3 weeks on my bike and 1 TED-Talk (it’s a brilliant talk, trust me) to realize this.
I am a citizen of this world, let’s make this world better together!