Living in hotels for months? Creating a home environment in a rented apartment or house? Feeling like you constantly live out of a suitcase?
Many expats and world travelers would relate to these experiences. Many of us have done this several times. We have got to make it work being on the road, hopping on and off the airplane, recovering from the jet lags and adjusting to a new climate, food, culture.
Would you think that feeling at home might help the world travelers deal with the challenges of relocation and living abroad?
I never tried to separate the feeling at home from the actual physical experience of being at home. If you are not at home, how can you feel at home? Right? In fact, it helps to know that you don’t need to be in your actual physical home to feel at home.
I can help you to figure that out.
We can feel at home even though we are not at home. We can create the environment and the perception where we feel comfortable, safe and secure – the general understanding of the feeling of home.
Here, I share a few tried and true ideas, that I discovered during my international traveling. You can certainly try them and see what works for you.
- Think about what makes you feel at home. What does home mean to you? What sensations does it bring up? Engage your senses – does your home smell a certain way? Does your home need to have a certain light? Or objects? What do you like to do at home? What can you change in your environment right now to make you feel at home?
- If you are in the transition home, that is you need to spend a month or longer in the hotel – look for the one that has a kitchenette. Cooking your own food is what brings a sense of home. It is also healthier for you and your family. Having a place, where you can cook, allows you to make better nutritious and cost-effective food choices.
- While packing your suitcase for the next trip, take some small, light objects that might remind you of the comfort and coziness of your home – photos; a book or a journal; a new issue of your favourite magazine; fluffy socks or slippers; a blanket; stuffed animal; knitting or other needlework; crafting or coloring books for kids. Your options are numerous.
- Think about the fragrances of your home. It’s ok to bring a candle or an air-freshener to wick away the chlorine smell of freshly washed hotel sheets. Just be mindful while burning candles in a small space.
- Stick to your familiar routines. What do you normally do on a day-to-day basis? It’s not sightseeing for sure. I adhere to having our Saturday morning breakfast together; family grocery shopping on a week-end; snacks, tea and homework after school; get-together dinner in the evening. This brings order to my days and a comforting feeling of home to my heart.
- Connect with family and friends on a regular basis. We have all means of the modern age available to us to connect. Take a moment and talk to your loved ones. Jot a note of “Hi” and let them know that you are fine. Most often it’s not for them, it’s for us to know that somebody over there really cares about us.
- Sign up for a long term personal or professional growth program. Having a schedule for assignments and accountability requirements helps to feel focused and on purpose. This, in turn, brings a feeling of home while we are in the process of relocation.
I have learnt these tips from my own experience. I have tried them all and it works. They helped me to feel at home during my transition times. They helped me to stay grounded, connected, and calm. Doing that, allowed me to respond not to react to any challenges of relocation and to adjust to a new culture smoothly and painlessly.
Let’s talk more about what makes us feel at home while we are away from home. Please, connect with me in the comments.
Remember, life is a journey of joy! Embrace it!