5 Things I Learned From Traveling That Changed My Home

070908-lessons01.jpgI love traveling. Give me five minutes and I’ll be ready to go. If you make the reservations and figure out the itinerary, even better. There’s something about going away that energizes me. And it’s not only souvenirs for my home I bring back…

Being away teaches me lessons as well. Lessons that have influenced how I live.

  1. The freedom of living with less: After a weekend, a week, a month or more of living out of a suitcase, I revel in the freedom that having so little brings. But even though I may be a light packer, I feel a joy in knowing that I’m completely prepared for every situation from a picnic to tea with the Queen. In my home I’ve learned to toss more often and buy less. And there’s always a packet of pasta, a jar of sauce and a hunk of parmasen in the fridge so I can whip up a meal for a visitor at a moment’s notice.
  2. But less doesn’t mean disposable: I always pack my favorite things, from my handmade silver flats to my amazing leather jacket that, enough though it has enough pockets to hold my wallet, my camera, my lipstick, my keys, my business cards, a pen and a small pad, never looks bulky. At home, I use the good stuff and take joy in it; I buy only stuff that I love and that will bring me joy for years.
  3. The resourcefulness of being flexible: A scarf can be a shawl, a shirt can double as a jacket, the same dress can be worn with heels for a night out or with flats for a day of sightseeing. At home, a tray can hold mail or serve drinks to guests, cups can hold flowers or hot steaming tea.
  4. Sometimes the best thing to bring home is not more stuff but more photos: A few souvenirs are great but I didn’t come to this amazing place to spend all my time shopping. I’m more interested in doing. Same with my house. I’m less interested in stuff and more interested in making memories, in making it comfortable for guests. After all, what good’s a home if it’s not filled with people you love?
  5. Always be prepared to leave: Traveling for me is about spontaneity, about saying “Yes” to every suggestion. So I need to be able to throw everything together and split. Whatever gets left behind, gets left behind. Same with my home. Especially living in earthquake country, I’m prepared to go at a moment’s notice. On more philosophical note that means that as much as I love my home and the stuff I’ve worked hard to accumulate, I try not to be too attached to it. So a guest spills wine on the sofa, a plate breaks, my towels get bleach on them. What of it? t’s just stuff and stuff can be replaced.

What lessons have you learned from traveling?

[image: Plum Pretty Sugar Plum Pretty Sugar‘s Flickr with a Creative Commons License]