I’m not a real adventurous spirit.
I’m more of a homebody. I prefer the company of my family and close friends. There’s a sense of safety and comfort. Over the years I have developed some strategies to bolster my sense of security, enabling me to feel at home when I’m not at home.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned”
– Maya Angelou
I feel most secure at home.
To give you a sense of the degree to which I struggle with being away from home, allow me to share a few experiences with you.
- I enrolled in a university twenty minutes from home, roomed with a dear friend, resided two doors down from my twin sister, visited home every weekend, and still endured homesickness after five weeks.
- I abandoned a study abroad program before we left, as I wrestled to cope with the anxiety associated with being halfway around the world for eight months.
- When I moved out after college, I drove to my Mom & Dad’s house after work each day to eat dinner with my family before going “home”.
- The first house I purchased was a mere five-minute drive from my parents. I now live twelve minutes from my childhood home.
I very much enjoy going places and experiencing life.
Afterwards, I simply want to go home. That being said, I enjoy vacations, weekends away, and traveling with co-workers to attend conferences. I accept my anxious feelings and utilize strategies to help me feel at home when I am not at home.
5 Strategies to Feel at Home When I’m Not at Home
Adopt an Adventurous Spirit
I’ve heard people say that attitude is everything. While my experience says attitude is certainly not everything, I firmly believe attitude significantly impacts our experiences. In addition to packing essentials for travel, I prepare mentally for being away. When embarking on a new adventure, my mom always encouraged us to meet new friends or learn something new. Applying my mom’s advice, I set daily goals for my travels to try a new food, visit the sights, attend an event, or meet new people. Engaging in the adventure generates excitement and promotes more comfortable interactions with the unfamiliar surroundings. I cannot emphasize enough the positive difference created as a result of this single effort.
Follow a Bedtime Routine
For me, (aside from the flying), sleeping away from home presents the greatest challenge. I have grown accustomed to enjoying outings, attending functions, and then returning home to my own bed. When I travel, I often lay awake on “not my” pillow in the unfamiliar sheets on “not my” bed. I hear all the new and different sounds. I am uncomfortable with the darkness. To prepare my body to fall asleep, I get ready for bed as though I were at home. Though I may use my travel toothbrush and toiletries, the actions are familiar. When I get into bed, I relax with a crossword puzzle or a book, like I do at home. I may plug in a nightlight if the room is especially dark.
Include Comforts of Home
Without packing more than I can carry, I include a few elements to calm me. These items vary due to the nature of the trip, the distance, or mode of transportation. When travelling in a car, I like to bring my pillow and a cozy blanket. If I am flying to my destination, I might be limited to my hand cream with the soothing aroma, some of my favorite clothes, or the slippers my grandma knitted for me. Listening to music and guided imagery podcasts increases my sense of security, as well.
Travel with a Relative or Close Friend
You cannot miss people if they are with you. I prefer to travel with those I care most about.
Connect with Home
Technology dramatically increases inter-connectedness. When away on business, I like to video chat with loved ones, call home, and share pictures from my excursions.
These strategies increase my comfort level while travelling and are so well-practiced, they now come to me naturally. If you, too, struggle with being away from home, hopefully one of the practices proven to bring me comfort will strengthen you as well. Happy travels!
What practices help you to feel at home when you are not at home?
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