Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Intersection of Home and Travel

by Stacey Ebert / Apr 02, 2018 /

As travelers, we go to many different lands. We cross bridges, we break bread with strangers, we learn languages, and get bombarded by cultural change right and left. There are deliberate choices, those we have no control over. and everything in between. We visit particular places for certain reasons and others because…why not? But, throughout the entire process, there are times that we yearn for home. What is it that ‘home’ really means? When traveling, how do we find home?

The Intersection of Home and Travel

For students in a classroom, teachers do their very best to bring facts to life, put history into perspective, and transfer the global world into a four-walled unit - none of this is easy. Now add to that families who travel, kids wandering abroad, those who chose to have no ‘one’ abode to call home, or even those who have picked up from that traditional home (knowing they will return soon) and headed out for an adventure elsewhere - how does ‘home’ become a focus, a thing, a concept, or even a meaning? Where do we get that feeling of ‘home’ and how do we bring it to light? 

The Intersection of Home and Travel

For each and every family and traveler, it’s different. A bite of food, an aroma in the air, a dance in the rain, a comfy bed, a friend to call your own, a favorite pancake, a hand to hold, a trail to walk, a sourdough bread starter, a glowing candle, that special pillow, a certain view, the smell of a newborn infant, your own coffee mug, a picture you carry, a kitchen to cook in, an essential oil, a dog to snuggle - it could be anything and everything, and all things in between. How do you find home?

The Intersection of Home and Travel

Has it happened to you anywhere in particular? Have you ever walked through a laneway in Melbourne, and had an aroma waft past your nose that reminded you of that meal your best friend once cooked? Have you wandered a trail in the European countryside and the rain hitting the earth reminded you of the smell of sleep away camp when you were ten? Have you sat at a café in Cape Town and had someone walk past wearing the perfume of your grandmother? Each one of us has had this experience or something similar at some point and in some location in our traveling journey. Do you crave it? Do you treasure it? Do you try to create it along the way?

How can we translate this feeling of home for our students? How can we make home mean more than a place, more than an architectural structure, and more than a tangible item? How do we show them that home can mean something bigger, something beyond walls, and something that is able to travel with them whenever and wherever they roam? When they’re out and about in the world, how do they conjure that ‘feeling of home’ to provide the strength they may need, the joy they may crave, or the knowledge to know they are part of a bigger world - that one way or another will always have their back?

The Intersection of Home and Travel

I collect magnets. Wherever I roam, I try to pick up a small magnet from a city, country, state, or experience - and when I return home, that magnet takes pride of place on my fridge. I travel with essential oils, and the smell of peppermint makes my lungs happy and reminds my brain to take a moment, breathe, and be present. I have friends who travel long term and often have their favorite candle, bread starter, and much loved stuffed animal. Sometimes we carry photos, sometimes a card game reminds us of traditions kept, and at other times, that cup of tea and a good book is all that’s necessary to transport our senses to a much needed feeling.

The Intersection of Home and Travel

One family’s journey may be different than the next. Honoring or celebrating ‘home’ varies in more ways than we can imagine. Find the way that works for you by encouraging trial and error, inviting input from all members, and creating ways that make your journey feel new and adventurous yet flexible and able to fill those ‘home’ voids when they arise. I used to think home was an abode, a structure, or a geographic point on a map. After traveling and meeting people whose ‘homes’ are all different, today, I believe that ‘home’ might mean more of a feeling, a sense of belonging, a constant, a comfort, a connection, a kindness, a love, and less of a stationary unit. The more we travel, the more we seek inward, look beyond the scope and realize that ‘home’ is a place in our minds and hearts that we have the power to get to at a moment’s notice.

How do you find ‘home’ on your journey?

The Intersection of Home and Travel

 

25 ways to feel at home while abroad

1. Stay in a space with kitchen facilities
2. Find a location that coincides with your heritage or languages
3. Encourage diversity at home and continue that belief through travel
4. Have an open door policy to friends and neighbors at home and on the road
5. Welcome others to your table on mundane days as well as holidays
6. Remind young people of perspective on a regular basis
7. Visit a restaurant of a cuisine close to your family
8. Take along a ‘smell’ of ‘home’
9. Bake bread/cupcakes
10. Carry a few tiny items that make anyplace you stay feel like ‘home’
11. Discover your ‘normal’ in a place that is very different from your regular life
12. Maintain familiar ‘chores’ or ‘responsibilities’ in a different space
13. Through books, music, and the arts, bring the learning spirit along for the ride
14. Preserve friendships and relationships through travel & communication
15. Utilize technology to ‘bring home with you’
16. Celebrate traditions, holidays, and milestones on the road
17. Encourage friends and family members to join your travels and adventures
18. Care for animals, gardens, farms, and communities to nurture emotional bonds
19. Continue with your diet, nutrition, & exercise programs while abroad
20. Foster learning through culture, community, educational programs, and world travels
21. Build relationships with others who can contribute to that familial village
22. Continue hobbies/joys on the road (drawing, music creation, building)
23. Volunteer in a local community/organization
24. Make new friends who can be a part of your day to day existence on the road
25. Find a local/new version of a ‘home’ favourite (food, experience, store, trail)

25 ways to feel at home while abroad

 

Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com for more of her travel musings.

 

 

 

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