I mentioned recently the angst of trying to define “home”” when you’re someone who travels long-term, and has placed roots all around the world.
If you consider yourself a nomad, and are pitching up your tent in a new city or country every few months, it’s easy to start to feel a little depressed at times without a proper place to hang your hat.
Whether you’re living in various hostels, or subletting apartments, I’d like to reassure you and say there’s always a way to build a home for yourself anywhere.
To help make nomad life a little cozier, here’s some tips on how to make a home anywhere you go, and fight those early arrival blues.
Get a Routine
Everyone remembers a few weeks into the bliss of summer vacation being hit with the thought of, “I can’t wait until September, I’m so BORED!”
Same goes for when you arrive in a new place and the euphoria has settled. Maybe you haven’t found work yet (if you’re visa allows it), and you’re going stir crazy. Routines, love them or hate them, provide some sanity and a sense of purpose.
Find a routine that works for you. Set your alarm for a reasonable hour, then make a schedule that keeps you productive.
If you’re a digital nomad, make sure you don’t hide in the dark behind your laptop. Wake up, get yourself ready, and consider working in a cafe for the day or even renting a small work space so you can interact with the human race.
Sign up for a weekly class, may it be for working out, or for different skills you’re hoping to refine. (Also, a great way to get to know locals and make friends).
Even without a typical job or friend group, making a routine and sticking to it will make your location feel like home by living like a local. Fake it ’til you make it!
Nothing makes me more sad than a naked wall. That sounded weird, but you know what I’m getting at.
Even if you’re a minimalist, staying in a shared dorm style room, having some homey touches in your space will make you feel much more at ease, trust me!
I tend to have a handful of printed off photos of friends and family with me that I take everywhere, and blue-tac them next to whatever bed I’m staying in if possible. No wall? Keep them in your notebook or journal. Having a hard copy of photos trumps flicking through your phone.
If you’re only subletting a place for a few months, still go to a thrift shop or Wal-Mart style place and pick up a couple of cheap decorations. You don’t have to go crazy and spend tons of money, just a few pieces brightens the space and makes it feel like home. If you don’t want to take it with you, simply donate them when it’s time to go.
I personally love having either some candles or twinkle lights, something simple that makes the space feel super cozy and comfy.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
When living somewhere as a foreigner, there’s always cultural experiences, or just things that are done differently that you may be avoiding because they’re scary or confusing.
For example, now that I live in Australia and I’m from Canada, my latest battle has been tackling driving! Learning how to drive on the other side of the road is very intimidating for me, I’m an anxious driver as it is, but the more I push myself, the easier it gets.
One of the things I miss most when I move somewhere is the independence that comes with being able to drive myself where I need to be. Although it would be ‘easier’ relying on rides from others and public transport, I’m choosing to learn because it makes me feel empowered, independent, and most importantly, like this is my home.
That’s just one example, try to think of some things that have been holding you back that make you nervous, and tackle it head on. Perhaps it’s being shy to speak the foreign language. Take some classes, and actively practice speaking it every day to gain confidence.
Most importantly, celebrate the small victories! Living somewhere completely new is tough, so make sure you’re not too hard on yourself when things don’t pan out like you’d originally expected.
Please let me know any tips you have for us in the comments, let’s help each other out and share some stories 🙂