6 Fictional Identities to Assume on Your Next Trip Abroad

Travel, it is said, broadens the mind. Arriving in a new country – a stranger in a strange land – can be disorienting in a way that leads to personal growth, reignited passion and a commitment to saying yes to life’s adventures. It is also the ideal time to debut that large hat you purchased while “feeling experimental” (read: lightly buzzed) at the airport. You can be anyone you want to be while travelling… even a hat person! And if a jaunty chapeau isn’t your thing, consider packing some of these identities in your carry-on, just in case:

October 11, 2019
Illustration of a woman reading on a bench with a suitcase

International Person of Mystery Widow with a dark past? Retired bounty hunter taking on one last job? Potential treasure hunter on a global quest? The other guests in the hotel lobby bar will never know for sure, but they’ll be talking for years about the time someone ordered a martini, held it up toward the ceiling and whispered “This one’s for you, Mikey… you bastard,” before downing it in one go. Pop the collar on your trench coat, consult a notebook full of indecipherable scribbles, then yell “Of course! The canals!” Before running out. That’s mystery, baby.

Unashamed Influencer You’ve just spotted a brightly coloured wall that would look, to be frank, amazing on the gram. Sure, “At-Home You” would walk right on by, leaving all that beautiful, vibrant brick un-jumped-in-front-of. But what about “Travel You?” I’ve always been jealous of the influencer’s una-bashed interest in getting the shot, their ability to pose on a side street in Toronto like it’s a runway in Milan. Next time you’re travelling, arm yourself with a vacation hashtag, some im-practical jumpsuits, and a few #sponsored inspirations before really going for it. When you fi-nally post your pics, tag whoever made your shoes, because… why not?

Illustration of a woman wearing a sun hat and holding a wine glass

Secret Sommelier God it’s cool when people know about wine. It’s cool, isn’t it? Swirling the wine in the glass, sniffing it, savouring the little sip at the back of the mouth before saying something like “Bit oaky for my taste, but love the smooth finish.” To achieve this identity, simply take the winery tour a group is doing a day early, and record ample notes. When the group attends the next day, beat the guide to the punch by regurgitating facts. For best results, add an ingenious disguise (large airport hat?) to avoid being recognized on the second go. If you can’t be both-ered to take the tour twice, simply complain about tannins until people’s brains turn off.

Unbothered Friend Everyone has a friend for whom life seems easy. This person, insulated from hardship by a combination of intersecting privileges, charisma, and sheer luck, is never the one stress-googling the restaurant’s menu to make sure there are options for a group’s gluten-free vegan. They’re not worried about being 20 minutes late, because no one is ever mad at them when they are, and, honestly, if they bought a hat at the airport, they could pull it off no problem. This vacation, I encourage you to live like the Unbothered Friend. Live your life as though things will probably work out. If the museum you wanted to go to is closed, ask the guard if they can let you in anyway. They might! This is the power of the Unbothered.

A woman in a bathing suit and holding a duck float

“Has Accent” Admit it, you wish you were British. Now you can be! If anyone questions where your accent is from, take a sound verb (like “sneeze,” “hoot,” “burp”) and add “shire” to the end of it. [NB: Ab-solutely do NOT attempt this in Britain.]

A Person for Whom Fashion Risks Feel Easy and Natural Your hometown is not the place to roll the dice on a new style of jacket. What if you run into someone who sees right through you? What if an acquaintance says, “New jacket?” in a way that makes clear they know you are trying something? But the people in this piazza do not know you are usually a T-shirt and jeans kind of person. Nobody on the beach can tell you’re nervous about the high-waist bathing suit. The hotel concierge will probably compliment your statement sunglasses… and mean it. Go nuts! (Or try a brighter-than-usual scarf, which will feel about the same.)

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