You know the first couple days after you move to a new place, at first you are all excited and then it hits. You don’t know where anything is, it smells different, the food is different, your routine inevitably changes(not a bad thing), and you get homesick. Does this happen to you? Well it happens to me and it sucks!
In the past five months I have moved six times. Now I wasn’t moving apartments, just packing all my belongings into a 40 liter backpack and moving from one Work Away Host to another. It has been awesome! Yet the first three days at a new house just suck. Of course I am meeting new people, exploring a new home, and getting to know the area, but I just get homesick. Here are a couple routines I have when I move that help alleviate the homesickness.
It all starts with the packing. I love to pack all my belongings, I will usually get rid of belongings while packing, for those traveling you know that some how you just accumulate stuff! People give it to you, it was available, or it was just cheap and somehow your belongings have doubled! I like a fresh start and I tend to spend a good amount of time packing. I make piles: the keep, the maybe, and the definitely going. I’ll put all the keep belongings in my bag and depending on the room in my bag the maybe pile may make it into my bag. I also pack neatly. This leads to my next point.
Part of my moving routine is unpacking, which is super satisfying when I have packed everything neatly into my bag. I take everything out on my bed, and find it a place in my room. This usually takes about thirty minutes. It helps me orient myself and I am able to feel like this new space is mine. To me that is important. I have lived in a house with eight other young adults, a house with the parents and their two kids, with a single woman who liked everything her way, a small cabin with three other women, and it is so awesome to just go to my room, be around my stuff, and relax.
Next I will make myself a cup of tea. Green tea tastes like home to me, it makes my belly feel good, and it just works. The process also helps me familiarize myself with the kitchen. Green tea might not be your thing, maybe its coffee, or a beer, or whatever. This is just another part of the routine. It’s also a great way to start a conversation!
Other than my bedroom, the kitchen is usually where you will find me. I love to cook, and the kitchen it usually the most social part of a house. During a party, people gravitate towards the kitchen, it just happens. I open every cupboard and check it out. I am a Work Away, if you don’t know what it is just go to the website and check it out. I might talk about it in a later post. But what is important here is that I live in hosts home for room and board. Many hosts have had a lot of Work Aways through their homes, so instead of asking where everything is I try to be independent about it. For you it might be finding out how to work the TV, but I want to know every nook and cranny of the kitchen.
My next tip is to take a walk. I feel isolated when I move to a new space. I will strap on my running shoes and explore the neighborhood around me. I always, and I mean always find a Dead End, and somehow get lost on my way back home, and it’s awesome. Nothing makes you more familiar with an area that getting lost and having to find your way home. Also I usually meet locals who are interested in meeting travelers.
My last tip is every time I move I set a new goal for myself: to write more, set a new sleep schedule, or to practice Spanish more often. Focusing on a a new goal helps alleviate the stress of a new place.
Just make a routine, an everything little think might not be alright, but hey you’re traveling. The best memories come from the misadventures!