Baby Steps: Packing a Self-Care Travel Kit

What makes you feel calm and grounded no matter where you are? My friend recently reminded me to figure out what to pack in my soul survival kit – the rituals that will remind me who I am when I’m far from a familiar location.

“Focus on what makes you feel calm, centered, and at home that has nothing to do with physical location. You’ll have those when you’re gone,” she wrote. (what wise friends I have!)

I’ll continue to think about this in the weeks ahead as I prepare to put all the belongings I’ll need for three months in one backpack. There’s not much room for extra physical items, but perhaps I can find some exercises and “touchstones” to rely on in times of feeling lost or homesick.

What would you pack in your self-care travel kit? 

Here’s my list so far:

  • my music (the kind I can sing along to, because singing just makes me happy)
  • laughing at myself (not taking things too seriously)
  • writing poetry
  • thinking of happy memories
  • listing what I’m grateful for (on paper or just in my mind) and letting the feeling of gratefulness well up in my chest
  • dancing!
  • a good, foamy latte
  • dark chocolate
  • dressing up
  • wearing purple (I call it my ‘power color’. it makes me feel confident and strong.)
  • the smell of lavender
  • taking walks
  • breathing deeply
  • yoga/stretching
  • people watching
  • going out/excitement/special occasion (create as often as needed!)
  • talking with strangers/being real
  • being honest about how I feel
  • writing in my journal
  • being barefoot on grass
  • pausing to observe the beauty of nature (be it a tree, a flower, a bee, the clouds)
  • smiling from my heart (just for me, just to feel the joy of being alive)
  • sitting beneath a tree
  • saying a prayer/asking my higher self and the universe for what I need


All this preparation for leaving my “comfort zone” has left me wondering…

What is home?

Is home a feeling to embrace or try to ‘get over’?

Where does homesickness come from? Why do some people get it, while others don’t seem to?

How will being away from home change me?

Thoughts?? Ideas? Tips? Please do tell….leave a comment 🙂

Below: my bedroom window in one of the many houses I’ve lived in during the last few years.



6 thoughts on “Baby Steps: Packing a Self-Care Travel Kit

  1. Kelly Nardo says:

    Abby! Thanks for your article, dear! Being far from home, I like having a smooth stone of some kind from home to hold onto… it can be relaxing and grounding.


    • adiskin says:

      Thanks for reading, Kelly! I like that idea — a smooth river rock perhaps or something else I can keep in my pocket 🙂


    • adiskin says:

      haha good to hear! I’m excited to talk about travel preparations, sister advice, and the benefits of taking the leap when you get home. Love you!!


  2. Naomi Jensen says:

    I also appreciate these sentiments being far from home, or at least my original home in the NW. Some people seem to make a home wherever they go, physically or with a list like yours above. I always marvel at how good it feels to come into my house at the end of the day. Why do humans have a need to collect and be around things?
    When I first moved to Chicago we had nothing in the house, and I felt a need to fill it. I compulsively found things that would make it feel like home, but the truth is its the people I’m no longer near that make me homesick. I miss the ease of deep conversation with my good friends and family. And although it is nice to make new friends it is hard work, takes some experimentation, and is not always fruitful. I am constantly having to readjust and learn, which is uncomfortable. And it seems as I’m getting older I become less comfortable with the uncomfortable, instead of the opposite reaction I expected. Maybe I’ve been approaching it all wrong, I’ve focused on a need to embrace the negative when what I actually need is fuel to rise above it. Maybe being comfortable with the uncomfortable is letting gratitude swell in my heart. I think so. There is a reason we hurt and I am learning to see that as okay, I used to feel guilty of that hurt–unworthy or just weak.
    There is a lot to be thankful for in this feeling of being homesick. Thankful for the opportunity to study, thankful that I have such amazing people to miss, thankful for the growth, for a playful approach to discovery.
    Recently I experienced some trauma, and my mother-in-law (of just two years) prayed for me. Her hand on my back she repeated “thank you” over and over again. At first it upset me, “what was there to be thankful for?” but then I let the feeling touch me, and it changed everything. It allowed me to see things in a new perspective.
    With only one year left in Chicago I am getting impatient. I feel an uneasiness similar to that feeling you get being in high school. I think it’s the waiting during those years that causes teenage angst. As soon as I leave Chicago I’ll look back on it with Rose Colored Glasses and think about how wonderful it was. How can I escape this pattern?
    I love your questioning, “is home a feeling to embrace or try to ‘get over’?” I’ll think about that. But my gut reaction is embrace. Isn’t embracing home what we use to “pack” our self-care travel kit? I’m beginning to think this kit is something I could put in a more accessible place.
    My dad always tells me to embrace the feeling of sadness. To allow yourself to feel it, because it is valid. In this way we appreciate it’s purpose and allow it to come and go. Leaving things behind does bring me grief, I too miss the windows of old bedrooms, and the feeling of a particular house that can’t be replicated. Isn’t this sadness just another form of gratitude?
    What does it even mean to “get over” something?

    Oh look, I’ve rambled on. Thanks for writing such a provocative entry! It has really helped me.
    With love,


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