How I Create Home when Traveling
This relationship has been two years of nonstop travel. It's incredible, luxurious, an absolute privilege, and at times overwhelming. I have learned so much about myself and what luxury means to me, because luxury travel is like every other travel--it's what you make it.
The experience of luxury will not be guaranteed by any hotel, no matter how expensive it is. (In fact, I find many luxury hotels have dysfunctional design which looks good and performs terribly.) Luxury is an experience I must plan for and provide to myself.
Here's how I do that:
When I pack, I think about my own comfort. I pack comfortable clothes which make my body feel good. I pack to have a pretty consistent "uniform" given what the weather will be. I try to pack 4 or fewer pairs of shoes, usually including some slippers or uggs for cozy times.
I pack with packing cubes, and I always pack bags to use on my trip. Bags are super easy to pack for travel, and make a huge difference in my experience of travel. I keep a foldable reusable shopping bag with me at all times, extra packing cubes and dry bags for laundry sequestering, and foldable backpacks for adventuring. If we are renting a car at our destination, the giant ikea bag always comes in handy.
I've never packed a blanket or towel and regretted it, either. I always have my 3 Yard Wrap from Bleusalt because it's enormous and stretchy and soft. It's a comfort item, my pillow and my blanket on the plane, and a fashionable scarf/wrap. This last time, I traveled to a friend's lake house, and I brought that as well as a giant beach blanket/towel, and I used both every day. Having something that is MINE matters to me, as a homebody. Don't skip the non-clothing items, especially if you're gone more than 4 days.
It's helped me a lot to streamline my packing and make lists ahead of time, because now I don't pack too far in advance. When I traveled less frequently, I could afford three days of obsessing over what to pack before a trip. Now I either make a list or drop the thoughts about what to pack until the night before or the morning of. I keep packing cubes in each suitcase in accordance with what the suitcase will hold, and I keep a second set of toiletries all together that I can add to and drop in my bag.
For mobile work, I stock my backpack like a mobile office. I love working analogue, so that usually means there are a bunch of colorful pens and markers, a journal, a notebook, some index cards, and my laptop. I keep a pen case with each backpack, with coordinating colors in each case.
I also pack some food and exercise items, and I'll talk more about those further on.
I don't pack too soon, but I also don't pack too late! It's important to me to return to a clean house, so I always leave at least an hour to tidy and put the house right before leaving, but after I'm fully packed.
The mindset I bring to my travel is super important. When I travel with my partner, I get to be my most surrendered. He keeps track of all of the timing, orders us cars, keeps reservations, etc, and I just have to float along. Without him, I try to create this as much as possible for myself. This is one of those things that's heavy only based on how you carry it. Whenever I feel overwhelmed traveling alone, I take a deep breath, look at my community around me, and invite some magic. I allow that travel will feel easy and magical, and when I notice my own stress interfering with that, I calm down.
I know I am always going to need time and space to myself, so I make sure that I always have earplugs and good headphones on me every minute of every day. Sometimes when I have been tooling around a city all day, just listening to one song in my headphones with my eyes closed in the uber or at the bar is a powerful reset for me to choose my tone and how I'm gonna show up.
I don't travel with anyone who isn't a match for my activity level! I don't wanna go sightseeing all day every day. One or two activities a day is plenty for me, and I have to hold that boundary if I'm with someone who wants to do more than that.
I always keep small bills on me for tipping, because tips are important! Tipping those who serve me always improves my mindset, and if I forget small bills I can always buy a bag of candy for the flight attendants. I don't hold myself to strict tipping rules, but I always remember that graciousness and generosity with others, especially those serving me, improves my experience tenfold.
Because we travel so often, maintaining my practices and my routines is really important to me. Hot water is available just about everywhere and I find it very comforting to make myself a hot cup of soup or broth, so I pack broth and soup packets for that taste of home. Sometimes it makes all the difference to just taste something familiar, so always feel free to pack yourself tasty treats you won't be able to get at your destination.
My mobile yoga studio is a lacrosse ball and a travel yoga mat from Jade Yoga. My headphones and bluetooth speaker also feature heavily. I keep the lacrosse ball in my carry-on because it's amazing to use in the airplane seat on flights over 2 hours. I roll it under my feet or under my glutes to gain some energy and work out kinks. I sometimes keep my mat in my carry-on as well, but I've found I don't personally use it that much in the airport or between destinations anymore.
My regular yoga flow takes about 15 minutes, but on a trip of a week or more, there's always a time or two when I take over an hour with my mat, headphones, journal, and massage ball and just go within my own body. Nice hotels have fitness centers and mats you can use, sure, but as a homebody, having my own yoga mat is essential to me. Luckily I don't need a lot of cushion for my practice, and the mat I use folds down super thin and small. I don't even roll it, that's how thin it is.
The more I travel, the more I recognize how doing maintenance tasks for myself is a soothing reset for my mind and calms my nervous system. If I let others serve me entirely for more than 4 days, I feel lethargic, entitled, and cranky. That's when I put the Do Not Disturb sign up and clean the room myself. That's when I go to the grocery store and pick up fruit and salad ingredients I can throw together for a night in. That's when I bring gratitude to the land for housing and providing for me.
I always travel with more than my daily care essentials--I keep nail clippers, tweezers, and sometimes even a face mask with me so that I can do some of the less regular self-care tasks on the go. This gives me the home in my routine, in my body, in maintaining myself.
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