Being a college student and with parents overseas, I travel a bit. I've moved around a lot the past few years, so being able to "set up house" quickly has become an important skill. At one point when my family travelled a lot, even staying at a hotel two nights in a row felt like we were really settling in!
Of course, there are many other reasons to travel and many other life circumstances that would make you want to make a place that isn't home feel like home! Even a vacation can make one homesick. Here are a five small bits that you can pack with you that will immediately make your environment feel more like home:
1. A candle (and you should hold it epically like the lady above!)
Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I'm into candles because of family tradition via my mother! Bring a scent that you burn often at home or smells like the area around your home. Scent is one of the most powerful memory triggers! If burning things isn't allowed, opt for a candle substitute (like a Bath & Bodyworks Wallflower) or candle warmer, if you have space.
2. A picture in a frame
Kind of an obvious one, but be sure to put it in a frame, too, if you have room! It classes it up and makes it feel less like a summer camp taped-on-the-bunk-bed photo and more like a real home's decor. Bring pictures of your loved ones, favorite memories, or the area you're from.
3. A pillow
There's nothing worse than a too-hard or too-flat pillow. A good, familiar pillow will make a world of difference for your sleep, and when you close your eyes, it'll feel like home!
4. A mug/ tea cup and beverage
This one has brought a lot of comfort to me. When you leave home, bring a favorite mug or teacup with you, and take your favorite beverage, be it a tea, drink mix, coffee, etc. Especially if this beverage is unavailable in your destination area, this little taste of home will bring a lot of comfort! You can close your eyes and sip, remembering the other good times when you had this beverage in this cup. My own father brought his "perfect sweet tea glass" with him to Africa, and there have been many times where I fondly remembered drinking coffee in Kassala or tea in Cardiff as I enjoyed the matching taste.
5. A song
Bring your jam with you! Bring a song in your native language that you know all the words to, that reflects how your home feels, and that has good memories connected. When I was adjusting to life in Egypt, I oftentimes sat in my room and listened to country music. Before then, I didn't even really like country music, but it seemed so American, and I just needed something familiar. A good song can do wonders for your mood and take you back home as you close your eyes and listen, even if for just a few minutes.