Psychology of a perpetual traveller:
One of my (many) WI Ps
is based around a character who isn't Walking the Earth
so much as Walking The Multiverse and has been doing so since his early teens, although he's not sure how long ago that was since he lost track of things at some point but it's probably been about six or seven years. All that time he's been on his own and he's rarely stayed in one place for more then a few days. It's occurred to me that that sort of thing has to have had an effect on what goes on in his head, I'm just not entirly sure as to how exactly. At the moment I see him as being cheerful, friendly and generally a nice enough guy, but sort of detatched from everything, but that's still a bit too vague.
Does he have any people around to keep him sane? I'm talking long-term relationships here. Companions? People he can call (assuming there are phones)? If not, I'd assume he'd up as some sort of crazy hermit. He would likely be either very quiet all the time or constantly babble to himself about nonsense, possibly going as far as to narrate his own actions.
Nope, no relationships of any sort what so ever. Truth be told, I don't think he had any real attachments to anyone before he started travelling, in fact it's sort of implied that it's part of the reason why he set off in the first place. The only real emotional attachments he has are to his things, particuarly his hat, his scarf and his bike, the last of which even has a name; Victor.
edited 27th Sep '10 6:04:32 PM by Weaver
Is he doing it by choice or by chance or because something or someone is forcing him to? The answer to that question is going to give you a good look inside his head.
If he's doing it by choice, then he's not going to spend much time missing having close friends and familiar surroundings — he's doing what he wants to do. If he's doing it because he just happens to not have found anywhere he wants to stop and settle, then there's a much higher likelihood he'll have a wistful sense of 'missing out'. If he's being forced to, a fair bit of Angst is legitimate — loneliness, homesickness, jealousy of the people who have someplace they call home and people they know well and can rely on.
edited 27th Sep '10 6:37:16 PM by Madrugada
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
This is interesting. I have a similar character, though said character is a four-dimensional person and his wandering is due to ascending to the fourth dimension.
In this case, it all really depends on the character's personality. There are plenty of people in the real world who like to travel the world alone, seeing new things. Is your character in that kind of situation? Does he meet interesting extra-terrestrials, perhaps even make friends? The multiverse is a vast place, after all. Or does he just sail among the stars, floating around in space at hyper-speeds?
Speaking as someone who's never spent more than four years living in the same state/country, and never more than three under the same roof, along with lots of shorter travels, I can say you tend to become rather reserved. Not a lot throws you and when something dose you stay quite about it until you can a) figure it out b)look it up yourself or c) ask someone who understands your confusion. You tend not to trust people and avoid getting "close." A lot of people don't understand or like the thought of constantly travailing. You won't go mad even at his pace, but you won't exactly be normal.
Need to know about strange weapons, especially weird guns? I know em, and if i don't I'll find them.
Cannot stay long in one place - can either be due to feeling bored, or fear of becoming bored/cooped up with the setting. May be afraid of relationships (any kind - but, obviously, long-term and/or romantic would be the most fearful), but most likely would be outgoing (though it is more than possible for a traveler to be introverted). Not afraid to try new things, even if possibly deadly.
@Madrugada: it's a bit of both really. He chose to start travelling and while he has to keep moving for reasons to complicated to explain here, he doesn't have any problem with it.
For a character concept like that, I think a freedom-loving Blithe Spirit
would work. Other than that just decide if you want him to be a hero or an observer. The former would be based on the best The Drifter
traditions, while the other would make a great crossover character (either for your own works or to have fun with others) or narrator.
EDIT: Forgot to mention, but Fish out of Water
and Fish out of Temporal Water
also has some ides on the roles that a character who constantly finds himself in an alien enviroment can be.
edited 28th Sep '10 1:18:02 PM by Vree
I like it here.
So... you're writing Doctor Who
? It seems similar. Nice, friendly, distant, slightly war-broken.
<(-_-<)(>-_-)> "FUSION HA"
Actually that's what I want to try and avoid. I'd rather not be known as the person who ripped off Doctor Who
What you are writing sounds very similar to Dr. Who so far, but the person is much younger, which helps to lend some newness to the character. To answer your question, go in depth on your character before he started traveling and then figure out how travel changed him. What was he like as a young boy? what was his family life like? Did he want to have friends but have trouble making them or was he happy alone? Does he value friendship more or less now that he started traveling? Does he wish he could have companions and then when he finds people, get annoyed by them and wish to be alone again? Answering these questions will bring more clarity. Also, is he bitter about what keeps him on the move [sometimes, if not always]? What amuses him: Sarcasm, other people having funny troubles, complex humor? Do the weird things he finds fascinate him or alarm him (remember, no matter how many weird things he's seen there should always be something to surprise him).
Don't make him an angst machine, obviously, but find out what makes him tick as a human (or whatever he is) and go from there.
This is good advice in general for character building.
edit:yea yea typos
edited 29th Sep '10 9:28:40 PM by Amarys
Okay, since two people have said that my guy sounds rather Doctor-esque, I've got a bit paranoid about it. As I said before, I'd rather not be accused of ripping off Doctor Who. Given that among other things my guy is more of the Screw This I'm Outta Here
type when things head south I'm probably safe, but as I said I'm a bit paranoid.
edited 1st Oct '10 2:00:42 PM by Weaver
Don't be paranoid—just tell us how he isn't, or if he is, defend that.
Okay then, I'm probably Completely Missing the Point
here but here goes.
Ways in which my guy is nothing like the Doctor:
- He's human
- As said before his usual response to trouble is Screw This I'm Outta Here.
- He only gets involved if a) doing a runner isn't possible or b) he feels like it.
- He's apparently allergic to responsibility, commitment, accepting concequences or thinking further ahead then his next meal unless absolutely necessary.
- He is an angst free zone.
- He's always on his own, which is fine by him.
You can't really say in a blanket term that any Walking the Earth
character is like the Doctor. Each Doctor has had a different personality and character/way of dealing with situations.
Personally I when I was reading about your character was more along the lines of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
(especially the taking jobs to travel), Andrew Zimmern, Up in the Air
, hitchhikers, or Bear Grylls. An optimist through and trough who can alternate between moving at a frantic pace to quite patients a listener who having a small degree of Seen It All
is curious about the people he sees around him what their stories are and most of all finding beauty in things unseen.
While that seems different from The Doctor to me I have not been following the series so I don't know.
Personality wise I would think he would have picked up the habit of changing clothes and dress styles often with no predictable pattern unless someone asks him to wear something specific possibly at all. While being impulsive he probably has a checklist of things that he has simply decided he will not try, mostly just because he can. I would think he uses his hands for things that most people would use tools for since he probably has gone places that taught him self-reliance but is still willing to admit that he doesn't know something or that he needs help. I imagine he'd be hard to read since he probably carefully controls non verbal communication and gestures. He probably takes notes all the time writing them on whatever is available even his own skin but likely leaves them everywhere anyway, there probably just meaningless doodles or puzzles to pass time at any rate.
Hope that helps.
I'm afraid that it wasn't much help but thanks anyway. For one thing he's got a bit of a Limited Wardrobe
thing going on, partly because he's frequently skint and partly because there's only so much that you can carry. The notes thing, while interesting, doesn't really fit with what I've come up with so far, and I'm not sure what you mean by "I would think he uses his hands for things that most people would use tools". The list idea does work however so thanks for that one.
To clarify I mean things like using his hands like a letter opener, screwdriver, wrench, to snuff out candles etc. part of the self reliance thing.
also I understand about the limited ability to carry stuff I just pictured in my head that the randomness of traveling somewhat affected the guy's choice of apparel something like Tidus, if a bit toned down. If that does not work for you, you don't have to use it
glad to be of some assistance
edited 29th Oct '10 6:19:53 PM by GiantSpaceChinchilla
The clothes changing is perfectly explainable: if he has a limited wardrobe, he's going to need to replace items during his travels. He's not going to be able to pop home and get a fresh shirt out of his closet, so he'll pick one up wherever he is — maybe from a laundry line, or whatever the equivalent of a thrift store is, or maybe it's one of those times he's not skint, so he buys one. It won't take long for him to have a lovely set of mismatched clothing.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Oh they are mismatched, they just don't change very often, sort of a simultaneous Limited Wardrobe
/ Rummage Sale Reject
Edit: @Giant Space Chinchilla: by the by, it's not actually possible to get screws out with your hands, I speak as the voice of frustrating and occasionally painful experience.
edited 3rd Nov '10 2:31:38 PM by Weaver
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