When Have You Felt Like A Stranger In A Strange Land?

You can feel out of place when you are halfway around the world, or right next door. Have you felt like a stranger in a strange land? When?

If you take a trip to someplace you have never been, you might feel like an outsider. Particularly if everyone around you speaks a foreign language, or you are far from home.

However, it is also possible to feel like a stranger at a party where you don’t know anyone. Maybe everyone else seems to know each other, or have something in common. If you are not in a particularly outgoing mood, it might be very isolating.

“Speaking a foreign language” may not refer to English, or French, or Japanese. If you are the only single person in a room of married people with children, you might well feel like you don’t understand what anyone is talking about. Or a book person in a room full of jocks, or a plumber in a room full of computer programmers, and so on.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’


Of course, being a stranger isn’t always bad. On a vacation to a new destination, you might find some natural beauty that you love. New places might bring new architecture, new art, new experiences.

Similarly, at the party full of strangers you may meet a new best friend. Or at the very least, you may have an interesting conversation about something you don’t know much about or haven’t heard of. Trying new things can bring about positive change.

Of course, it might not. And even if it does, that doesn’t change the level of discomfort you feel when you are surrounded by the unfamiliar.

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land?

Related questions: What do you like about travel? Why do we feel the need to belong? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone?

3 thoughts on “When Have You Felt Like A Stranger In A Strange Land?”

  1. One of my hobbies is geocaching. Geocaching is like a worldwide treasure hunt where people hide a cache and then publish the coordinates. The object is to find the cache container (using a GPS) and then put your name on a log. I currently have over 1600 finds. This takes me to many unfamiliar neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, where I feel like I am an intruder, where I don’t belong. I don’t feel like the neighbors look on me as an intruder, I just feel uncomfortable inside. I guess neighborhoods can be like families, and thus I don’t feel like one of the family.

  2. This question makes me think of my Mother. She was comfortable around anyone because it made her happy to see others happy. She shared in the joy of others as if it were her own joy. She thought of others rather than thinking of herself, content even if she sat in the background. A nice way to feel, I believe.

  3. For the past nine days, I have actually been a stranger in a strange land. I’ve been in Iceland, driving around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the island’s Ring Road, and most of the Golden Circle (over 1,000 miles total). I’ve visited boiling sulfur mud pots that reeked like rotten eggs. I’ve climbed up a uniform brown sand-like crater that’s over 2,800 years old, and I’ve been to another crater that sometimes displays the rainwater it has collected over time in a beautiful turquoise hue. I’ve been that tourist oohing and ahhing at black sand beaches and volcanic rock formations that just seem to jut out of the ocean, not that far off land. And I’ve seen many geothermal pools heat up to a nice temperature for the locals and tourists to enjoy. Lastly, I saw my first glacier four days ago. A lump grew in the back of my throat, admiring its beauty while knowing that it was melting and may not be around by the end of this century.

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