9 Ways to Find Home While Traveling
December 7, 2017
What is it that creates that feeling of “home”? When I am traveling I often find myself longing for this sensation, so recently I stopped and asked myself, “What exactly am I desiring when I feel this way?” The reality is that when we take a trip, we can’t usually bring our favorite person, pet or tiny house along for the ride. And sometimes we find ourselves in places and spaces that evoke a feeling of discomfort or unease. This can ignite a deep desire for comfort – like a warm cup of coffee by the fire, cuddled up with a blanket watching Grey’s Anatomy kind of comfort! So when we can’t do that, what can we do to stay grounded and at home, while we are adventuring outside of our comfort zone? Is it even possible when you are traveling for an extended period of time?
I say YES and it can be as simple as adding a few special items to your packing list and being intentional with your time while you are away. The first step is, figuring out what things help you remember that sacred feeling of “home” and produce a sense of comfort, no matter where you are. Is it that favorite pair of yoga pants, a special pillow, a picture of your dog, your mala beads, a regular practice? For me, it’s all about connection and after years of traveling on the regular, I have honed in on a few special items that really help me cultivate that sense of home. However, it is more than just what is in my backpack that helps me do this; setting intentions and incorporating some specific daily practices have also helped me keep my feet on the ground and my heart open, even when times get tough.
Here are the top 9 ways I find home when I am traveling; I hope they help guide you back to that home inside your heart, while you keep pushing your edges and exploring new worlds…
1. BREATH: Coming home to yourself no matter where you are can be as simple as just closing your eyes and matching your inhales to your exhales. Breathwork helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed at a busy market, find myself lost in a new place, or I am feeling low on energy – especially on travel days. Click here for one of my favorite grounding breath techniques that helps me when I am traveling.
2. MOVEMENT: Whether it be your daily yoga practice, dancing or running on the beach, I have come to believe that movement is medicine. Our bodies can store trauma, emotion and stress in our cells and big muscle groups. Travel can often stir up anxiety, uncertainty, worry and illness and intentional movement cues the body to let it all go. I have personally experienced the sweet release of regular movement and the space it creates inside my body and it always helps me settle into the present moment. This can be done by doing a yoga retreat, dynamic meditation, dancing in your hotel room or simply getting outside and moving! It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – with the intention of letting go and grounding you will feel a shift – I promise. Here is one of my favorite Osho active Kundalini meditations… let it flow and observe what happens!
3. SOUND: Sound healing can mean something different for everyone, so seek what resonates with you. This might mean a local Kirtan, sound healing session, attending a retreat with sound healing, or just putting in some headphones and listening to your favorite playlist. Sound vibrates in our cells, resonates in our chakras and can bring us a deep sense of comfort, as well as increased awareness and peace. I have a travel playlist that I listen to when I am on the road and missing “home.” It constantly amazes me how in just hearing the first song I am reminded of the love that I am and the love that surrounds me no matter my physical location. This truth invites me to relax deeper into my experience and remember that “home” is truly inside and can be found even when my coordinates are ever changing. One of my favorite sound practices is waking up and starting my day with a chakra sound meditation to help me open each energy centre and ground myself in the present. You can find it here. ( https://www.youtube.com/
4. RHYTHM: Creating a daily rhythm helps me so much when I am traveling; even though my Ayurvedic constitution is largely Vata, so resisting routine is a part of my make-up! The most effective way I have found to do this consistently, is by connecting with cycles of the sun and moon. Rising with the sun and beginning my day with my sadna always helps me step into the world ready to offer my best. Then again when the moon makes her appearance in the evening, carving out some time to connect with her also really helps me find my way home to my heart space. Moon meditations are one of my favorite things to do on the road no matter where I am and they are so easy! Just sitting in silence and gazing up at the moon with the intention of grounding for as little as 5 minutes a night can work wonders.
5. NATURE: I make it a priority everyday when I am traveling, to try and connect with the 4 elements in some way. This can be swimming in the ocean, laying in the sun, visiting epic waterfalls, walking barefoot on the sand and breathing deep. Or it can look like drinking lots of fresh water, lighting a candle, sitting with a plant/flower and going for a walk on a windy day. The point is connection and when I feel connected, I feel “home” and everything feels better … even when my luggage has been lost for 5 days and it’s raining! Nature knows how to bring us home, it is just a matter of taking the time and inviting the connection to happen deep inside ourselves.
6. TRIBE: The thing is… light is everywhere and although we have our friends and family in our respective homes and communities, our tribe is all over the world if we are open to meeting them and letting them into our hearts. You know when you meet a stranger in the local coffee shop or when renting a kayak – your eyes meet and for a fleeting moment you “remember” one another? Or your path crosses with someone in a course, on a retreat or on a day trip and it feels like you have known each other your whole lives ? This is one way of growing our family – feeling safe and supported by other humans when we are in unfamiliar territory always helps with homesickness. Be open to the magic and the mystery of meeting someone again – for the first time! Most of my closest friends I have met in this very way and I continue to be transformed, inspired and held by the remarkable souls that I meet along my travels.
7. SCENT: What happens inside yourself when you smell newly cut grass or freshly ground coffee? Nag Champa, Palo Santo, Copal, Sage… what is it for you? What do these smells evoke within you? For me, they help me breathe a little bit deeper and assist me in traveling inward to my safe space – my bliss state. When I am traveling, a regular morning practice is lighting incense or rubbing some favorite essential oils in my hair. Particular scents can help me shift in and out of emotion and ache and often help me settle in to my new environment with ease and grace. So when you are packing for your next trip grab some of your favorite scents to bring along for the ride. The ones that are always on my packing list are lavender, tea tree, thieves and lemon grass essential oil; along with nag champa incense, sticks of palo santo and a few tea lights. These travel companions can help relax the nerves, assist with sleep, calm an itch or infection, make any dank room smell fantastic, as well as, clear the energy of a space. I don’t go anywhere with out them!
8. BEAUTY: Over the years, this one has become more and more important for me, in terms of creating home away from my home in North America. We can not always control the conditions of where we lay our heads when traveling and sometimes for the sake of budget, festivals and unforeseen circumstances, we find ourselves in less than ideal living spaces. However, with a few key pieces you can transform almost any space into a warm, peaceful and grounded place.
Here are some of my must-haves for creating beautiful spaces: Pack a couple of tapestries, sarongs or scarves that you LOVE. These can be multipurpose and used for beach time, creating alter spaces, a cover-up on chilly nights or simply to lay atop your bed for a splash of color. Next, bring pictures of loved ones, pets or favorite spaces from home. These are a huge help for me, as they seem to immediately help to ground me when I am missing home, feeling uneasy or overwhelmed. Lastly… crystals … oh crystals! Before leaving on any trip I always “ask” which stones/crystals need to travel with me. My practice is creating a small travel alter with these special crystals, the fabrics, the pictures and any other treasured objects like feathers and shells that I find along the way. I sit here at least once a day – sometimes for meditation, other times, just to be in the presence of beauty and in my sacred space.
9. SILENCE: I believe that it is in the silence that we hear our own inner voice more clearly and are invited to connect more deeply with our inner-selves. Travel, while being an amazing opportunity to connect outwardly with new people, can also be quite socially taxing and may leave you feeling depleted. Carving out come regular or extended quiet time while traveling, always helps me re-connect with my own inner landscape so that I can make choices that are aligned with my heart and soul. If you find yourself away for an extended period of time, keep your eyes open for Vipassana Centers or silent retreats – this can be a beautiful gift to yourself. Otherwise, simply sitting in silence in your sacred space surrounded by beauty, scents and photos of loved ones will do the trick. There is a reason why we’ve all heard it said, “ Home is where the heart is.” Connecting into your heart-space can take you home there no matter where you are. Remember that on any retreat or any given regular day, we can take alone time and find the silence we need.
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