You don’t know how long you’re going to stay. You pack the basics. You’re a nomad and you want to carry the bare minimum. Or you are on assignment and your company pays for your move. You wonder what to bring that will make you feel like home. You pack the essentials and wonder if someone could just send you something from storage if you discover that you left something really important behind… Or you madly organize in preparation for the packers to come and disrupt your life… Yet again, for some people…
I asked someone who travels for a few months at a time what she packs. She said 3 pairs of pants, a few tops a few shoes and lots of layers. She said, “You know you’re going to buy clothes when you’re there.” Fashions are different and the weather is different. This is good, practical advice. But I’m like, what? A hundred years ago when I moved to Italy, we brought 13 very large boxes including 2 bike boxes, a guitar, skis, and 9 medium size moving boxes 18” x 18” x 24” filled with clothes and books and a few kitchen essentials.
For me, it’s the visuals that make me feel like I’m home. When I packed for Poland, I brought a bunch of pictures without frames in a large carboard envelope. Thank goodness for 3M, Command
no-damage stick ‘em products.
In Mexico and Europe, I traveled with my jewelry wrapped in tissue paper and grouped in plastic bags. Once I got settled, I saved egg cartons and divided my earrings into separate compartments. I hang my necklaces on a tie hanger. I use empty shoe boxes to stack stuff like 6 months of contact lens supply boxes, perfumes, purses, and other small things.
Fabrics can transform a temporary home. Scarves, shawls, table runners, bed spreads can add a touch of your favorite color and remind you of the time when you bought it. It’s fun to put out a few sea shells or other small things you’ve collected on a table top, bathroom counter or shelf.
Music transforms an environment as well. A phone and speakers can make an important difference.
Some of us like aromatherapy. Some appliance stores and some mega-stores like Tesco
carry diffusers. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a link to a diffuser at Auchan.pl, but they did carry diffusers the last time I was there.) Bring your favorite essential oils with you. Once you’re settled, finding new essential oils will be an adventure. It will connect you with interesting people and places.
I’d love to hear your solutions for moving and settling in a foreign country. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (servers in Switzerland in compliance with GDPR)