Who am I? Nature versus nurture

Think of this: remove yourself entirely from your current life, your environment and the people you know. Start a new life in a new environment with new friends. Are you the same person? Are you completely unchanged by a completely changed environment? It is the old question of nature versus nurture, heredity versus environment and it is the question I ask today. It has been on my mind for a few weeks where I have possibly had far too much time to think while being under the weather.

I contemplate this question as I have arrived in Copenhagen after 7 months. I now have two environments and two sets of friends, two lives that I live in two different languages. It is sometimes slightly surreal and I wonder; am I the same person in both lives? It has not always been so, but now I feel that I basically am and have learned to be a core me no matter what the environment. Still, there is really no way of knowing as the two lives do not overlap and it is two different languages so I will naturally express myself differently, both in language and in the images that I capture. It is an interesting journey and way of living but not better nor worse, simply another way of living. The answers I find are answers for me and my life. Lives that does at times ask the question of nature versus nurture.


Why I chose to develop this particular image for this story is unclear. I loved Tree of Life, this dead tree is the very counterpart. Perhaps a never changing dead tree in an almost static environment tells the story by showing the opposite. This dead can only exist here in a zero humidity desert leaving the tree as a dry statue. This image from Namibia in April 2009 represents the beginning of my present life, more than two years of ever changing environments.

Who am I? One thing is certain, I am now a Tree of life compared to this dead tree from the beginning of my journey.

17 Comments on “Who am I? Nature versus nurture”

  1. You are and always will be Flembot the great and the dude who has touched some many where ever he goes mate!

    Your challenge will be to be able to maintain those wide and varied relationships, but with modern day technology the world is getting smaller.

    Until we meet again little buddy!

  2. Get married and have some kids , then you’ll find out who you are. 🙂

    Hope things are going along as planned now you are at home.

    Cheers mate.

      1. Haha FBJ that’s exactly what it feels like to be married with kids but it lasts longer than 3 weeks. 🙂 Mate it is cold back here now and everyone is sick so you would probably be the same person, but coughing and sneezing in English.

        Hope you are on the mend and bending your mind where you want it to go.

  3. You know Flemming you get get alot of people thinking. I love how you are not afraid to write the things that you do for all the world to see.
    I love how you question yourself and your behaviour and are not afraid to look deep within yourself to find the answers.
    I agree with your thoughts about whether or not you are the same person in both world’s. You know I think everyone is the same way whether it be two world’s apart like your’s is or even the different masks we use in order to fit in in everyday life, a different one for certain friends, family, collegues.
    I feel that it is something we all do but not something that everyone learns to look into and stop. I too am really looking into myself more than ever at the moment to break through these masks and I choose to see it as a real opportunity to grow as a person and be the true person that I really am and have lost touch with.
    It takes a big person to question these things Flemming and an even bigger to choose to be the real you.
    I hope this makes sense to you as this is how what you have written has come across to me, maybe it’s just because of the journey I am on at the moment but either way what you say really touches me and inspires me to keep going.
    Thanks Flemming

    1. Hi Andrea, thanks for your great comment. I am glad it interested you so much. I really just write whatever I feel like writing, whatever I am thinking, dreaming etc – of course it does get sanded down to a version I can go public with 🙂 One thing I never wish to do though is preach and pretend I have found any answers to life. Some blogs from travellers / nomads are full of “life is about this or that” and they preach and it really rubs me the wrong way. I search for answers and I don’t mind sharing my thoughts and questions but I shall never pretend I have figured out what life is about for anyone else but myself. Thanks for reading mate 🙂

  4. I don’t need to be uprooted to be a different person – my personality is tempered according to who I happen to be interacting with. The core of my personality is what it is, and I think that’s definitely formed (and always being formed) by the environment – new experiences, people, knowledge etc – but its expression is adjusted depending on who/what and where I am around. The boy does get freaked out by how different I can be, especially when hanging with my Singaporean cronies, when all my well schooled grammar and fairly neutral tone gets exchanged for shocking pidgin and and mannerism and I turn from a hermit into a coffee shop auntie (ok tad bit of exaggeration on the latter).

    I’d definitely have multiple personality disorder if I lived in a whole bunch of different places. I’m pretty adaptable to change 😉

    1. “coffee shop auntie” – no wonder Dan is freaked out 🙂 WorldNexus in Singapore is now sounding even more interesting/scary ;D
      I still laugh thinking about a girl in a Broome backpackers who actually thought I was two different people ‘cos she saw me in different situations with different hairstyles etc – she thought that I travelled with a brother of mine. Being able to walk both sides of the force seems to mystify people.
      I am extremely adaptable as well to the point of loosing myself completely but the past few years have changed this greatly. Because I have been in ever changing environments I adapt much less and know much more about what the core me is and I don’t loose it anymore as I used to.

      1. Yeah my coffee shop auntie persona can be frightening, although I stop short of going down to said coffee shop in flowered pyjamas, thank goodness! 😉 Dan definitely does not like coffee shop auntie much. He’s all “oi, I didn’t sign up for this!” But he’s the same person no matter where he is (although grouch factor up about 300% in Asia), so he doesn’t get the chameleon thing… and i reckon it scares him a little bit to think Ms Hyde is just waiting to burst out with hackles, flowery pyjamas etc in full show 😀

        That’s hilarious, you getting mistaken for 2 people. Best story yet! 😀 We are indeed strong in the Force. Pretty soon we’ll be able to escape stormtroopers with a thought.

        I have the same tendency to adapt to the point of losing myself, but I can completely understand what you mean by having to retain more of your core when constantly travelling. You’d lose yourself in total after 5 border crossings elsewise!

        1. From Hermit to Flowery Pyjamas Coffee Shop Auntie, I get why Dan is a bit freaked 😀

          She honestly thought I was two people, it was hilarious. “This is not the Flembot you’re looking for” 😀

  5. Yes, the environment does makes a lot of difference. It´s like when we are on a long vacation to a place, we are totally different persons from what we are usually back at work. But surely, the “core us” remains the same.

    initially, you will feel a stranger in your home city with the nostalgia of your travels. but soon enough you will be acclimatized and then, you will be well and truly home.

    Have felt like this myself.
    All the best,

    1. Thanks for your comment Samyak. My point is more that I feel I have two complete and full simultaneous lives and I am pondering, am I the same in both lives. And as I live as a nomad I do not really have a home. Copenhagen feels like home. So does coming to Australia.

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