How to feel at home while you travel

In just a few short days, the holiday season will be in full swing. When I think about this time of year, I feel a bit of dread. Sure, there’s so much to be thankful for. Life is SO GOOD, and this is certainly a season of gratitude. But my history with the holidays hasn’t always been a walk in the park. Can you relate?

This time of year has gone one of 3 ways: 

  1. I ate all the food, all the time. 
  2. I resisted sugar with all the willpower I can muster up, practically white-knuckling my way through dinners and family gatherings so much so that I’m not even present. 
  3. I felt proud of myself for listening to my body and eating well, and then as soon as I traveled away from home, it all went out the door.

Yes, even I struggle during the holidays. In case you didn’t get the memo: I’m no saint. And while I’ve thankfully outgrown the first few on that list, I still struggle with that last one. TRAVEL. It’s almost as if being out of my normal environment, my routine, my safety net, makes me subconsciously uncomfortable, and I turn to food as my comfort as that thing that makes me feel “okay” in my own skin. It’s gotten much subtler as I work on my ongoing relationship to food, but it still creeps up when I least expect it. 

If you’ve been following me over the last few months, you know my husband and I just spent 6 weeks on the road touring the southern U.S. in search of our next home. What an adventure! (Really, so much adventure to share, there will be a whole trip recap coming soon.) On paper, in conversation with others, and as an idea, this trip was the ultimate dream come true. Working from the road while exploring, experiencing the world together, and creating our dream life, what could be more romantic?

Yet being away from my comforts was a true test in listening to myself. Sure, I’ve done my fair share of traveling, but this was a trip like no other! The length, the distance, living in strange Airbnb homes – despite being ready and willing to experience sheer adventure, I knew before we left that I might struggle to feel that sense of home.

Just days before we left, my beautiful bestie, Ali, reminded me to make a list of all the things I can do to take care of myself (which I have made many, many times). But HOW she explained it was unlike anything I’d ever tried. She suggesting committing to a few things on that list each day, rather than all of them. You see, my natural instinct is to do ALL OR NOTHING. 

“Oh, man, I missed yoga class? I guess we’ll just go around town trying all the ice cream shops,” or “I journaled, drank tea, meditated, and ate clean all day, I can’t have a drink with dinner because I won’t be able to stop.”

This concept of making a big list, and doing some part of the list, at least once a day, felt totally do-able! And it is THIS that helped me every day. There were moments where I started to feel exhausted from being “on” all the time, overstimulated from the sensory overload of constantly being in new places, or irritated by people -- all common irritants while people travel and are out of their elements. Yet as soon as those feelings crept in, I would use that as a reminder to re-visit my list.

And in case you wanted to know my list at the start of the trip, it looked something like this (committing to 4 actions per day): 

  1. Check in each morning and ask myself what I need for the day, listen, and indulge in it
  2. Move for 30 minutes (working out, going for a long walk around the city, dancing)
  3. Meditate
  4. Journal
  5. Call a gal pal
  6. Drink lemon water in the AM
  7. Take supplements in the AM
  8. Eat at least 1 serving of greens
  9. Abstain from technology an hour before bedtime
  10. Read before bed

ou know what? IT WORKED.

Through even the most unpredictable day full of new people, experiences, emotions, and conversations, at the heart of it all I was taken care of. This commitment to myself literally saved me. It saved me from arguing with my husband and shutting down in conversations with locals. It kept me present in each city (which is kind of important when you’re researching a city to potentially move there!); it kept me present with myself, allowing me to best serve my needs each day and ultimately be there for others. Simply put, this was my life line.

So, as we head into this holiday season, our schedules will free up during the break, we may travel to visit family, or we may experience new situations. I invite you to commit to yourself just a teensy bit more. And not that all-or-nothing black-and-white mumbo jumbo. Perhaps it shows up as 2 loving actions daily, or maybe 5 activities you want to experience during your week off. It doesn't need to be food or exercise, though it can be. It just needs to make you feel like your best self. Ask yourself what will make you feel great, and listen to your intuition. Your body is wiser than you think, and she will tell you what she needs.

Home is where the heart is, and when you love up on yourself, your heart is infinitely more open to give and receive. 

Wishing you and your loved ones a beautiful Thanksgiving. I am oh so grateful for you sharing your world with me! I’d love to know – how will you be taking care of yourself this holiday season? What’s on your list?