How I Keep Grounded While Traveling Frequently
Those who know me personally are familiar with my insatiable appetite for traveling. Be it around the current locale, a next city over or long-distance international travel – I love to traverse the globe. It wasn’t innate in me to be comfortable with not knowing what exactly to expect on the other side. To set the stage for you: I typically travel alone, that’s my favorite way so far. The points I share below are made with the solo traveler in mind but can be applied to couples and groups of tight friends as well.
It took some effort and experience to adjust myself to regularly changing dwellings, especially when it comes to sleep. It helps to pack earplugs, a blackout eye mask, and maybe even your own pillow, if you can fit it in your luggage. Sleep is a whole subject of its own, however. In this article I will share my quick thoughts on how I settle into a new place easier.
Meditate at the new place
To connect with my new room I often try to meditate there soon after checking-in. 5-10 minutes of sitting in silence with my eye shut on top of the bed is enough to ease in and calmly integrate with the new environment. It also trains my brain that this space is suitable for remaining calm.
Put out mementos
To build continuity between my previous place and the new one I put out some mementos, which can be practical objects such as a book, a coaster, a postcard, maybe even post-it notes with some reminders that I stick on the new desk. There is a risk of leaving these behind upon checking out but treat it as an inevitable cycle and an exercise of letting go.
Light up an incense
I carry a small wooden case full of incense that I burn at a new place to make it smell familiar. My favorite is the classic Nag Champa of Indian origin and the variants from the same brand. In my experience most people like its fragrance and it sets a calm relaxing ambiance.
Take a walk around the block
Shortly after getting settled in I change into comfortable clothes and shoes, aiming to blend in with the local crowd, if possible, and take a walk around the block, maybe even 2-3 blocks. This helps me to kick-start assimilating in the new neighborhood, take notes of what’s around, feel the pulse of the area. I notice the locations of convenience shops, restaurants, food trucks, supermarkets so that I can plan my errands easier in the days to come.
Watch a favorite show or a comforting video
Continuing with simple and comforting activities in the new place also allows to bridge the gap between locations. If I am currently in watching a series, I’ll hook up my laptop with an HDMI cable to the TV (I try to pick apartments and hotel room with a nice flat panel) and watch another episode. It can be something nice on YouTube as well. One example of how I get fired up about exploring the town I arrived in is to watch an Anthony Bordain show about it, if available.
Make a simple meal inside
If the place has a kitchen, I take a trip to the local supermarket and get some basic groceries to make myself a simple meal. Even if street food is king in this town, there is something grounding and calming about using the new kitchen space. It’s another way to connect and feel like a local. Experiencing the place like a native is an undeniable source of joy and you still travel with the mindset of a foreign explorer, I highly recommend you meditate on reframing it towards full immersion. Shopping and then cooking with local ingredients is one step towards it.
Overall, exercising my ability to be calm and comfortable in potentially uncomfortable and disturbing circumstances was the main factor in becoming better at grounding myself. During the ever changing settings it’s imperative to be able to take a deep breath and stay composed. I need all the energy I can conserve to later use on exploring new territories, connecting with the locals, and delivering kick-ass work while jockeying my laptop. Boa viagem!