How to convince everyone that you’ve found yourself this summer

For when a few heavily filtered instagrams and some harem pants just isn’t enough.

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Anyone who dared to venture out of the UK for more than 3 weeks this summer was likely sent off with either an inspirational ‘you’ll find yourself’ or a precautionary ‘don’t even think about coming back and telling me you’ve found yourself, you wannabe gap yah piece of embarrassment.’

Needless to say, I have no idea what ‘finding yourself’ actually constitutes – if anything I got more lost this summer. But what I have realised is that there are some simple steps you can take to convince everyone that you have in fact reached a celestial stage of enlightenment after your month in Ghana or your 6 weeks in Thailand.

1. Buy loads of obnoxious clothing. This goes without saying. If you want to be a cliché, you need to look like a cliché. Colourful baggy trousers, tribal shirts and excessive amounts of beaded jewellery is what you’re looking for here. For bonus points, wear a collection of said items to the airport and tell your anxious parents in no uncertain terms that this is how you’ll be dressing from now on.

The woman on the left looks suitably concerned

2. Regularly interject conversation with completely irrelevant stories.
 It doesn’t matter if your friends are talking about what they did last weekend, their favourite type of tea or, god forbid, their own travels – there will always be an opportunity for you to jump in with yet another account of that hilarious incident at Maccu Picchu. The aim here is to make it explicitly clear to everyone that your summer was better than theirs, so if you feel like conversation is drifting on to other people’s inferior experiences then be sure to drag the spotlight kicking and screaming back on to you.

3. Be tanned. Refute claims that you’ve just been sitting by a pool all day. What kind of slave to the capitalist world do they think you are?! Insist that actually, you’ve been tanned by nature and experience. No one will know what this means, so it doesn’t matter that you don’t either.

4. Give away all your possessions. Because we live in such a bubble of nauseating surplus that the thought of returning home with even a fraction of your disgustingly excessive inventory makes you feel physically sick. Ensure you give everything away in the most dramatic manner possible, so as to enable story telling later. (See point 2)

5. Lose all your possessions. If you are insufficiently altruistic, but sufficiently shit at life – you can alternatively just lose all your possessions. Dub your travels as a story of personal loss, but self discovery – because it sounds poetic and it’s the kind of thing people who have found themselves say. Insist that you don’t care anyway because belongings are a social construct.

You should be returning home this empty handed

6. Litter all your sentences with foreign words. Simply telling everyone at home that you’re now basically fluent in Nepali is a little gauche. You want to play it cool. Throw in the occasional word here and there to keep them guessing. For added impact, apologise and look embarrassed, implying that you just spewed out a sentence in Swahili accidentally – as if you were Harry Potter speaking parseltongue – given that it’s pretty much second nature to you now.

7. Tell everyone that you’ve found yourself. Obviously it’s most effective to simply cut to the chase and whip this bold statement out at the most inappropriate of intervals, like a nudist at a children’s birthday party.

So follow these foolproof steps to be the object of your friends’ and family’s undying envy. No one will think you’re a pretentious twat. Honestly, no one.