Having spent a few weeks trying to settle down in a completely foreign country, I’m often asked, “Do you miss home?“.
The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.
Yes, I miss my family and my home, but that doesn’t mean I want to go back right now. I care about them a more than they know, but I would much rather be where I am now. Even though everyday presents small challenges and leaps out of my comfort zone, I manage to learn something new about the world each and every time.
And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that even though I’m on the other side of the world, perhaps I’m not really away from home at all.
the secret to minimalist travel
Before I moved, I wrote a post about how to pack a minimalist suitcase. Carrying less is only one part of what minimalist travel really means. You can pack as light as you want, but you won’t be satisfied if you don’t have the second ingredient too.
The secret to true minimalist travel is having portable peace of mind.
What does this mean? In short, it means having the ability to take ‘home’ wherever you go.
If you can take your peace of mind with you, you will be content wherever you are. You can go anywhere and you won’t have to worry about being homesick if your home is always with you. Imagine if there was a way you could pack it up and carry it everywhere, without it weighing a thing…
What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? For most people, it’s
- the place they keep their stuff
- the place they grew up/made good memories
- where they ‘live’
If you take these three things and think about them carefully one by one, perhaps it’s not so hard to believe that you can make your home ‘portable’.
1. “It’s where I keep my stuff”. If you take your stuff with you, then your home is no longer where you keep your stuff! If you go travelling often, it might be the place you use as storage. If that’s the case, any safe place will do as storage space! When I first moved to university, I left a few things at home that I didn’t need. Because I had all of the things I did need in my dorm, it felt more like home than the one I left behind.
2. “It’s where I grew up”. When people get nostalgic, they’re not really thinking about the particular thing, it’s for the memory of it. A piece of clothing, an old toy or even a building isn’t what is making you happy, it’s all of the happy times you’ve associated with it. Memories are stored in your head, so if you really think about it, you don’t actually need the thing to be with you forever. You can move from place to place, and create new memories which will be just as good, or even better, even after you’ve moved away. Of course it will be a little sad if you never saw the place you grew up again, but not getting too attached to things that don’t last anyway, is the key to moving on. Even though it may be nice to revisit memories once in a while, dwelling on the past isn’t something you should do forever.
3. “It’s where I live”. By ‘live’ I mean where one eats, drinks, sleeps and relaxes in general. If you move to a new place, this is now where you will ‘live’, so who cares where it is? Wherever you eat and sleep is where you are, so a part of what ‘home’ means is you. You are your home.
My biggest aspiration in life is to be able to see the world and experience new and different ways of thinking. For me, I feel that my ‘home’ will always be a safe place I can go back to, where I can find my bearings if I get lost and where I can ground myself and think carefully when I don’t know where I want to go next. For me, ‘home’ is a place beyond an arrangement of bricks.
Home is special, it’s mine and it’ll always be with me.