Traveling To my Identity – Maskarm Haile


‘An empath—but what are you really?’

This was Maskarm’s question to herself before she embarked on that first ride out of Ethiopia. She knew she always had this incredible gift of being able to put herself in someone else’s shoes and feel things as if she was them. She understood her ability to see, hear and feel things. But in her world back in Ethiopia, there was no place for such. And so she went out to fly.

Deeply sensitive, intuitive, good listener, self-sufficient. These were the qualities that had let her successfully sail across pan-Africa and beyond as a couch-surfer, meeting people along the way who either challenge her chosen way of life or think alike. But more importantly, it was indeed an outer travel to journey towards what within her.

Maski was born and raised in a religious and traditional Ethiopian family. From the very start, traveling was her dream but it was not something comprehensible in her family and their culture. But she knew she had to be someplace and went for it. To her, it felt as if someone left her here on Earth by mistake and that being in one place for a prolonged period of time is not her safe space.

Traveling gave her inspiration and a feeling of oneness. It unpacked for her so many things about herself, her childhood and traumas, her connection with her family, especially her mother. Traveling was her healing until she arrived and became ready to recognize her identity and share it with others (through writing and her book, Abyssinian Nomad).

But it wasn’t all happy and exciting. Along her journey, Maski found out she has fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. To her, maybe it was a way of saying ‘I’m done here and now it’s the body’s time to heal.

For years of searching, Maskarm lived in total freedom. But she also learned that there are things that needed to happen and shouldn’t be refused and ignored to preserve that perceived freedom. Especially if that comes from within—a voice that wants to be heard, a thought that needs to be shared and read, or even a feeling or pain that has to be tended to. Letting it all out is freedom in itself.

Links mention in the podcast


Podcast Highlights

  • I felt like someone left me here on Earth by mistake and they’re going to come back and take me. I felt this is not my place. That was the feeling the entire time except when I’m traveling. – Maskarm Haile
  • It was my dream to travel. But it also became like a pilgrimage for me. Most of the time, I don’t know why I’m in one place, I just know I have to be there. It just unfolds. The experience of it makes me feel I need this more. – Maskarm Haile
  • During the lockdown, I do miss some things but I also see it as a grace to us. It’s like an opportunity given to us to go within and search for more.  – Maskarm Haile
  • If it keeps showing up, don’t ignore it because it will catch up. – Maskarm Haile
  • Being wise is about listening, sharing, and being sensitive. Not just knowledge. – Alexandra Kreis

Guest Bio:

Maskarm Haile is an empath and traveler from Ethiopia who wandered across pan-Africa and the world in search of her identity. She is the woman behind the book Abyssinian Nomad. Maskarm, in her book, incredibly wrote about her priceless memories and experience.

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