Hello SOTGC community!
As a Canadian Medical Student in her final year of training, I am in the same boat as all my fellow Canadian fourth-year medical students, in that I am feeling a bit like a gypsy, a traveler, an explorer; as I do medical placements at hospitals across the country I am calling a new city home every couple of weeks. As I do my best to ground myself amongst all the changes and embrace my newly bestowed “gypsy spirit” I am quickly learning the ways by which one can feel more at home when traveling for school or business.
Lesson 1: Bring a little piece of home.
Whether you are staying in a hotel, rented apartment or on a generous friend’s couch for any extent of time, bringing a little piece of home with you can make you feel more comfortable and settled. It can be your favorite coffee mug that you use every morning, the scented candle you are addicted to lighting every time you take a bath or, in my case, your great-grandmother’s woven throw cover to cuddle up with on the couch. Little pieces of home can make a difference in making a new place feel less estranged.
Lesson 2: Unpack – DO NOT live out of your suitcase.
There have been times in the past where I have indeed lived out of my suitcase; for the most part these were laissez-faire trips to Mediterranean seaside towns where organization and efficiency were not required or on my mind for that matter. I have, however, realized while traveling for school placements that settling in properly is a must! This includes unpacking one’s suitcase and organizing clothes, accessories, and travel items in a practical way. When you are trying to figure out subway schedules and travel routes on your first day, the last thing you want to be doing is rummaging through your suitcase to find a matching skirt and blazer.
Lesson 3: Keep up with things you like!
Are you a yoga aficionada? Then seek out a fun yoga studio near where you are staying. Do you love a good cup of espresso? Research the best places in your area to grab the best espresso and coffee in town! Enjoy art? Make sure you visit the local art gallery. Feeling at home in a new town or city has much to do with staying true to yourself and not forgetting about the things that bring you happiness!
Lesson 4: Do like the locals!
One exciting aspect of calling a new place home for any extended period of time is discovering the unique parts of that area! What a beautiful way to live … where every new street corner offers a novel experience and every street holds hidden gems waiting to be discovered! Whether it be shopping at the local bakery, take-out from the famous sushi place down the street, or visiting local festivals, find out what locals are doing in the area and follow suit!
Lesson 5: Keep an open mind!
This may very well be the most important lesson of all – keep an open mind to new experiences, adventures, and perspectives. Take advantage of the new setting to explore and discover. It can definitely be unsettling at times to not be in one’s usual environment; home is a safe place with few unknowns and uncertainties. Despite this, it is important to embrace the unknown and treat the new as an adventure full of exciting potential.
My dearest SOTGC community, I hope this post has provided you with some ideas on how to feel more at home when traveling for school or business. If this post resonated with you, share it with your friends, family and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter! We’d also love to hear from you about your own experiences and ways that you make yourself feel more at home in new places. How do you embrace a your “gypsy soul”?