How to Make Anywhere Feel Like Home
Whether you travel a lot for work or have decided to live a location-fluid lifestyle, not feeling like you have a home can become disorienting and, at times, depressing.
As a cartographer, I traveled around the world a fair amount for business and since then I have maintained a steady pace traveling the globe visiting friends, places of interest, or just following my stomach's current craving for a specific cuisine.
When you’re traveling, you generally don’t have the luxury of having all your normal conveniences with you but through my travels, I have compiled a few tips to help make anywhere feel like home as soon as you unpack.
Now that I run my own internet-based business and bounce around (following my seasonal and culinary whims) I have learned to embrace the saying “home is what you make it” in a whole new way.
When I left my most recent apartment in NYC and packed up all my things, I made the decision to only live out of what I could carry on a plane with me - a hardshell carryon plus a weekender bag. I was faced with the task of deciding what qualified as an essential item.
Since I tend to rent out apartments for months at a time or stay with friends who have a spare room, I found myself gravitating towards items that would make any space feel like "my home" so that I could unpack and instantly feel like I am in my space.
I honestly couldn’t believe the pile I ended up with (and neither could my grandparents when I proudly showed off how much I was able to fit in such a small amount of luggage space!)
Some of the items included:
my favorite loose-leaf tea
sage stick to cleanse the space of any previous energy
dream catcher (I have very strange dreams that become even more prominent when I travel)
deck of cards
stuffed animal I still sleep with every night :)
embroidery hoop, threads, & needles
3 myofascial release balls
pictures of friends, family, family puppies
a weird workout contraption that I abandoned somewhere along the way...
scented candle I love - scent is very strongly linked to memory so having a familiar candle or perfume you can fill your space with goes a long way to making a new space feel like home
travel altar - this can be anything, its basically just comforting items that bring you joy. Here are some of the items in my travel altar: crystals, a black bear figurine - my watcher, Ganpati - remover of obstacles, Santa Eulalia - from a Romeria in Spain, tarot deck, feather, seashell, rock... (everything fits into a small little pouch)
an entire office desk’s worth of supplies (I love stationary items!). I’m also not at all joking; I had multiple notebooks of various bindings and sizes, an array of colored pens, various colored highlighters, sharpies, paper clips, 3 different sizes/types of post-its (all of which I brought various colors of), I’m sure the list goes on...)
an absurd amount of toiletries, all divided up into 3.4oz bottles
an entire medicine cabinets worth of meds (because who wants to go buy medicine when you are feeling shitty?)
you get the picture....
At the end of packing and editing and re-packing and editing I found myself with a suitcase full of home. If at any point I needed anything that I would normally want or need, it would be right back in my room - no matter where in the world "my room" was.
Where were the clothes, you ask? I found the biggest bag I felt I could get away with as a “personal item" (so as not to look suspicious at the airport) and that I filled with my clothes. (I also was able to pack a ridiculous amount of clothes and 4 pairs of shoes - I think I deserve a packing award...... I’m not kidding.)
The point of all this is that you should think about what makes you feel comfortable. What makes home feel like home to YOU?
For me this was hard to do at first because home was my kitchen (and le cruset braisures will for sure bust the allowed baggage weight). But I realized that if I had my conveniences and also everything that would fit into my normal routine (or a slight variation on said routine), plus the few items I care very much about, anything else I could possibly need I would buy along the way.
And honestly, other than a few clothing items I picked up during my travels, I can’t say much changed throughout the five months that I was living out of those two bags.
Here are some questions to ask yourself while packing to make sure you bring home along with you:
What scent reminds you of home?
What items bring you the most joy?
What calms or comforts you?
What makes you feel secure?
What couldn’t you live without? (and if you can’t pack it, what would a travel-sized version of this be)
If you are looking to simplify your life, or are headed out into the world and looking for guidance and support, reach out to me to schedule a complimentary session where we can explore how I can best support you on your travels!