I’ve been travelling a lot lately. And no, not the sexy, tropical vacation type of travel. Or the “explore a new city” kind of travel. And not the “take a break from city life to enjoy nature” travel either. I’m back to making regular trips back and forth to Atlanta for work (read more here).
Albeit exhausting, I appreciate the more consistent work travel because it means more predictability. And more predictability means more time to plan ahead, which translates to more frequent personal travel and trips to Dallas (Home Base #2). Last month, for example, I alternated between Dallas and New York on the weekends. That’s meant flying from New York to Atlanta to Dallas to Atlanta to New York to Atlanta…you get the picture!
As you can probably guess, this season of my life has been particularly hectic. And, if I’m being honest, the combination of work stress, change of routine, and schedule irregularity has been taking a toll on me. For the first time in recent memory, I’ve been feeling homesick when I travel. A feeling that’s been further complicated by the fact that “home” isn’t just one place right now.
Feeling “out of it” when I travel has made working, writing, resting—EVERYTHING—feel a lot tougher. But I’m actively working to combat it! So, as I bounce around a handful of cities in the months to come, here are a few strategies I’m relying on to find “home” on a regular basis.
1) Sticking to a routine
The combination of timezone changes and varying flight times means my mealtimes, bedtimes, and me-times are totally inconsistent. This month, I’m incorporating a few key guidelines I think will support my wellness and peace of mind on a daily basis.
I’m working toward 5:30 AM (local time) wakeups, 6:00 AM workouts, followed by 15 minutes of prayer and devotional sessions, and a 10-15 minute check-in with Dazell each morning. My hope is that carving out time for what’s important to me each day, despite my location, will bring a new level of comfort. Taking time to connect with God, to touch bases with Dazell, and to nurture my body bring a familiar comfort to my day. While I don’t have it down to a perfect science, I’m eager to fully protect and utilize my personal time.
2) Eat what I want to
Eating foods I like—and that my body agrees with—is a challenge when I’m on the road. Typically, I end up eating something relatively healthy from whatever restaurant my teammates are in the mood for or simply eating out of convenience (hello hotel-room Pringles!). But “going with the flow” often leaves me feeling bloated, lethargic,
In an effort to feel better about what I’ve been eating, I started taking trips to the grocery store to stock up on snacks and staples to get me through the week. These quick shopping trips give me the chance to incorporate items I’d eat at home into my weekday diet. So even as I’m pressed for time or struggling to meet a tight deadline, I can eat what I know will make me feel good.
3) Making time for communication
A huge part of feeling homesick has been feeling alone or wishing I was around people who knew me outside of a professional context. With meetings, team dinners, and heavy workloads occupying most of the time on my calendar during the workweek, finding time to nurture my personal relationships can be tough!
To make it all work, I’ve taken to setting aside 10-15 minute blocks of time to talk and text. As time is limited, phone calls are typically reserved for Dazell and I during the week (even if only for a few minutes during our morning commutes), but I’m in regular text communication with my parents and sister. Also, connecting with friends in the cities where I travel, which I try to do at once a week, has been an incredible remedy!
4) Affirmation of what home really means
As I work through my feelings of homesickness, I’ve had to be clear about what I’ve, in fact, been missing (Hint: the answer is neither Dallas nor New York). By shifting my focus from the where to the what or who I’m missing, I can more reasonably take steps to address my needs!
For starters, home isn’t determined by where my car is parked or where my clothes are. It’s not about the office I’m aligned to or the state that issued my drivers license. It’s not defined by my accent or the way I drive.
For me, home is where I’m comfortable opening the fridge or throwing a shirt into a laundry load. It’s where my weird quirks aren’t disruptive and unprovoked handstand practice doesn’t cause a second look. It’s where I’m most comfortable praying and leaning on my faith.
Home is engaging with the people I love and who love and support me. And if I can find that more consistently when I travel, I’ll be just fine.
What makes home home for you? How do keep that sense of home with you when you’re away? Give ya’ girl some advice!