Wanderer Memoir: When I Move On, Part of Me Stays Behind

Did you know that within the context of British football, the term “wanderers” historically denotes teams without a fixed home ground? These teams would ‘wander’ to various locations for their matches. Teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bolton Wanderers began as nomadic entities, a characteristic that remains etched in their official names to this day.

“Wanderer.” It’s the quintessential term for someone like me: an immigrant, a tech worker, an urban dweller. My journey of wandering through different countries and cities commenced when I was just a student in elementary school. My travels have taken me from Seoul to Chiang Mai, then to Singapore, back to Seoul, onward to Vermont, followed by Los Angeles, and now, I find myself in New York.

On a recent trip to Seoul to reconnect with friends and family, I recognized that I belong to an incredibly diverse community. Intriguingly, I noticed myself adapting, almost becoming a different person, contingent upon whom I was meeting. Depending on the memories shared, I could be perceived as humorous or dull, gregarious or reserved, lively or subdued.

This visit to Korea was not just a reunion with old friends but also a confrontation with numerous past versions of myself. While most JBs seemed happy to welcome me back to Korea, a few did not. I found myself disliking the way I conversed or the subjects discussed with certain circles. These were remnants of the person I was before, fragments I had left behind in my journeys, yet they were undeniably parts of me.

As a wanderer, I sense that with each move, I leave behind various iterations of myself. These former selves persist, crystallized in the memories of those who continue to live in the places I once called home. Each return presents a chance to meet my past identities, sometimes as friends, other times as adversaries. I cherish this ongoing process. Of course, there is no right or wrong in choosing the life of a wanderer. It’s a unique aspect of one’s persona, akin to the spectrum of extroversion and introversion. But for those who embrace the life of a wanderer, this becomes an enriching part of existence — a life replete with manifold versions of oneself, all coexisting as friends. 

Do you want to etch “Wanderers” in your team name?

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