How to feel at home when moving countries

January 17th, 2012 § 3 comments

I’ve been on the move for the last nine years. From the small country town of Bathurst to the bustling political base of Washington D.C, the longest I’ve lived in one place has been two years.

Moving around can be quite stressful. You feel misplaced, reborn, a fish out of sea. These are the ten things I do to calm me down when travelling:

 

  • Paradoxically, get really close to the people you’re going to leave behind. This will motivate both parties to keep up the long distance love for a greater duration.

 

  • Pick a passion other than your job and embed yourself in that community. I assisted at a yoga studio in exchange for yoga classes. By doing that, I became friends with the yoga teachers I admired and there’s nothing better than having friends you admire.

 

  • Stay curious. Find new nooks and crannies that excite you. Isn’t this why you moved in the first place? Remind yourself every now and again.
In Washington D.C

Exploring museums in Washington D.C

 

  • Don’t look back too often. This was my biggest mistake. My first year in the states was spent comparing everything to Australia. For example, I was drinking sub-par Australian beer at the Outback Steakhouse when there was beautiful locally produced beer at a pub down the road.

 

  • Keep a piece of sanity. Your figurative home. It could be a watch your father gave you, a statue of your chosen religion. A boomerang or bag pipes. Choose to believe that as long as you have that object, you are home.

 

  • Cook for yourself, especially if you’re backpacking or moving around every week. You’ll reap the benefits and it will remind you that “hey, somewhere people are still doing laundry.”

 

  • Listen to music from your home country/city. It will keep you in touch with your culture and you can introduce bands to your new friends.

 

  • Skype often with your family, but not so often you forego a social life.

 

  • If you’re moving for work, make friends with the people you find interesting. They’ll introduce you to their network and before you know it, you’ve got a warm, loving group of friends. I find with work mates these things take time.

 

  • Have a coffee shop where they know you by name. My husband swears by this. Nothing makes him happier than walking in at the same time every day and saying “the usual”.

 
Any tips you would like to add? Have you moved lately?

§ 3 Responses to How to feel at home when moving countries"

  • […] How to feel at home when moving countries: For the third-culture kid in your life. […]

  • Tash says:

    I agree Sameer. I love exploring new places but there is an inherent loneliness that comes from the non-familiar. Apart from having your default restaurant, I also love having a library around. Somehow a library card and a regular flow of books gives me a sense of permanence.

  • Sameer Vasta says:

    As someone who has spent my entire adult life moving to different cities, these are all great tips. Some people think the “travel for work” and “be somewhere new every six months” lifestyle is glamorous, but it’s actually quite difficult.

    The last tip (coffee shop) is key; having a place to call “your own” and where they recognize you is important to feeling at home.

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