Travel is in my veins. I get giddy over finding good flight deals, am always down for taking spur-of-the-moment road trips, and get anxious when I don’t have travel plans in the works. So it came as a surprise to me when I realized I’d grown roots in the Northwest, in a way I hadn’t felt through my childhood. It snuck up on me, these roots, and in a way it made me nervous-- nervous that leaving would really hurt.
And it did hurt. But you know what? When we feel something, it’s because we care. And when we truly care, it’s worth feeling feelings over. I always go back to the belief that you can find home everywhere as a challenge to myself to both stay grounded in who I am, and open to seeing the connection and comfort in something unfamiliar.
These are some things I’ve found to create a sense of home wherever I am:
Consistency in some form. Travel and new experiences can be exciting because they throw us out of our typical routine. And while it’s good to shake things up so that we don’t become stagnant, our bodies and minds need some form of stability in order to stay grounded and be fully present in those new experiences. If it’s the time of day you strive to wake up, a daily workout, the afternoon cup of tea you enjoy, or your bedtime routine-- pick one thing and do it consistently. Everything else can be a wild card if that’s your jam.
Create something. Processing new experiences is key to our overall adoption of them, and it’s been shown that a lot of us process well through some form of art expression. Whether you write, paint, dance, take photos, or sing-- tap into your muse while you’re in a time of transition and newness. And remember: it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be real to the moment.
Keep reminders of home close to you. Photos, a playlist, a book, a tattoo-- it all can bring comforts of home just when you need it, or a reminder of what you’re made of. I’m particularly fond of using jewelry for this purpose. Bringing local pieces from my roots, hand-me-downs from my mom, and a friendship bracelet with my dear adventure friends-- wearing them like a hug and mixing them with new pieces I find on my travels. It’s a tangible representation of how I’m both past and present. I’m made up of who I know and who I am independent of that.
Talk to a friend or family member. This one can be more challenging depending on your time zone or new schedule, but thanks to instant messaging and social media, our friends and family are always just a ping away (and thanks to cat memes it’s now easier than ever for friends to cheer you up if you’re feeling homesick).
Explore. Talk to new people. See new things. You’ll almost always find that the people are kinder than you expect, the food is tastier than you expect, and the views are more magnificent than you expect. When you find comfort and familiarity, you have a sense of home in your physical world. So go out and explore until things are not so unfamiliar.