A sense of home develops as we build, design, alter, and live in our spaces, but it just as easily develops when we're away from them. In fact, sometimes you don't notice what it is about home that means so much to you until you're not there. I just spent two months away for work reasons, and it drove home the importance of some basic things that I take for granted when I’m in my own space. Take a minute today to focus on and appreciate the little things that make your home, home.
(Note: This list does not include people or pets, since that’s a given!)
1. My pillow: Sometimes you're lucky, and you get a hotel pillow that doesn't remain as "firm" as a piece of slate or doesn't deflate like someone's wounded pride. But most of the time, the pillows never quite measure up to the comforts of the ones at home.
2. A kitchen (or kitchen implements): For short-term trips, I find that I miss my kitchen after just two days of restaurant dining. But even on long-term trips, when you have access to a kitchen, things can easily go awry. For example, I just spent two months without a chef's knife. I had only a paring knife and a bread knife, and I longed for that Goldilocks-like tool that was "just right."
3. Books/ magazines/ other types of non-TV entertainment: I'll admit that I'm something of a media hoarder. I keep a stack of books that I want to read on a shelf in my office, so it feels like I'm going book shopping every time I want something new. I also love breaking up the Netflix routine with board games, decor books, and video games. The absence of my stash quickly became noticeable, and I watched more episodes of Empire and Inspector Lewis than I care to admit.
4. Washing machine: I'm admittedly spoiled by having a washing machine in my house, but even when I was an apartment-dweller who had to go to the laundromat, it was nice just to have a familiar routine. I feel particularly unmoored when it comes to performing basic chores in unfamiliar settings.
5. Wider selection of clothes (particularly shoes): Living out of a suitcase isn't all bad, until the day comes when you really want to wear your snake-print high heels or your 1960s yellow sequin dress. Obviously, these things didn't make the cut when it came to packing the essential items. I looked respectable in my basics, but my wardrobe was significantly less joyful without the extras.
6. Your shower (unless you’re lucky enough to be in a hotel with a great shower): One might expect that something as basic as a shower would be easy to handle, but I find that there is always an adjustment period with a new one. Calibrating the hot water, getting the angle of the shower head just right, and making do with different water pressure—these are the little things that I didn't expect to matter, and yet they definitely took time to get right.
7. Comforting smells: Even if a hotel is clean, it doesn't smell like home.
8. Non-neutral colors: My home has lots of bright colors, and unfortunately, many hotels have generic interiors that lack in personality. Obviously, this will depend on where you're traveling and where you're staying, but for basic business purposes, I've always found bland to be the order of the day.
What do you miss most when you're away from home?