The sense of anonymity — a freedom from place, can be compared to a feeling of weightlessness. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera the character Sabina realises through the avoidance of attachments that loyalty and belonging act as an anchor without which the being would stop feeling grounded in its existence. Losing identity through belonging can affect the whole experience of self, to a point of being ‘lost’. Without a home, travelling becomes wandering.
Travelling is not only venturing into the unknown, but also bringing the unknown with us. Like a splash of red paint against blue background, a newcomer is seen as a stranger because he is placed into the context of something that he is not. Being a stranger is defined by masses in comparison to the individual, while in actuality, the unfamiliarity is experienced on both sides. Otherness is not a definition, a choice or a personal statement. It is a conditional awareness. One can also seek to merge with the group, or integrate, to step ‘inside'. One can also fail to do so, thus staying an 'outsider' inside one's own community.
Connection and alienation are a common theme in modern literature. Beginning with existentialist Albert Camus's novel The Stranger, from Franz Kafka’s conflict between individual and the society in The Trial to Michel Houellebecq’s socially maladjusted protagonists — social estrangement has been such an important issue since it has risen in counterbalance to the ideals of social integration and uniformity. There are always those on the fringes of society, who do not fit. We can define them as a group, but even then, there will surely be individuals that do not fit that either.