10 May 2010

Travel: On Being At Home Anywhere

To be at home anywhere, honor your body's needs and routines, do "you" things, and take "you" things with you.

Be Kind To Your Body:  Hydrate, sleep, bring regular vitamins and medications, maintain continuity in your diet, and keep up your regular exercise routine and remember to relax your whole body.  It tends to get cramped when you travel:  stretch, walk around, and breathe deeply.  Bodies appreciate ritual.  If you're a morning runner at home, be a morning runner abroad too.  If you like to wind down with a glass of red in the evening, why not wind down with a glass of red abroad too?

Take "You" Things With You:
- Create a Familiar Sound Space -- While it's great to explore new music, it's also good to connect with the sounds that ground you.  Make a travel playlist.

- Honor Your Passions -- Whether you're a crossword enthusiast, a bibliophile, a news junkie, or a budding romance author, take your passions with you.

- Stay Connected With Loved Ones -- Stay as connected as you need to be, whether that's a phone call, posting to social media, or firing off good, old-fashioned postcards.

- Pack the Little Things -- Do pack the cardigan that makes everything okay.  Do pack the perfume that makes evenings out feel magical.  Do pack the lavender soap that soothes you at bedtime.  Do pack the coffee mug that your sister gave you that makes every cup taste like love.

If I don't make an effort to feel at home wherever I go, I start to feel stretched out, like parts of me are with projects and people elsewhere.  Staying connected can help so much with this.  And when I get off my routine, I lose that rhythm, that panache that comes with doing the I'm-doing-me dance.

Every new place can become part of you if you're open to experiencing it.  Through travel, you bear witness to truths about the world.  Perhaps you've seen the depth and breadth of the Grand Canyon, or wondered at slave cabins in the deep South still standing, or dreamed along with the spires of Oxford, or woke with the sun in ancient Indiana woods.  Travels on the page can become part of you too--journeying through Elie Wiesel's long night, attending an Avonlea shindig or a term at Hogwarts, or getting that great table at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

When you are comfortable in your own skin, you are home.  And when you take that comfortability with you anywhere, then you are at home in the world.