Moving abroad is hard at any age, whether you’re a teen, adult, or moving your whole family overseas. I’ve moved between countries a couple of times, I moved to Western Australia when I was 16, and then back to England a couple of years later. I then also moved back to Australia (but to the East Coast) from England a year ago at the age of 25.
Each time had its challenges and obstacles, but each time the things from home I took with me in my luggage helped me feel more ‘at home’ and less homesick. These small comforts helped me get through my first years overseas with relative ease, and allowed me to enjoy my time abroad whilst still feeling close to home in small ways.
Hard copies of your favourite photos
I’ve always loved having photo frames dotted around, and so I knew I wanted to have the same when I moved abroad. I have a folder with about 20 of my favourite photos of family and friends, and I rotate them within my photo frames. Having them around me makes me feel closer to them, even though I’m over 10,000 miles away.
I have a few cute postcards that friends have given me over the years that I brought with me. I still need to frame them, I’ve just been super lazy with finding the right sized photo frames. I also have a piece of artwork that my best friend painted for me when we were 16, that I have framed and hanging above my bed. It’s a nice little reminder of our 22-year friendship, and the painting is of a coca-cola bottle – one of my favourite brands that I’ve been obsessed with for years (I’ve collected limited edition bottles since I was 14). Funnily enough Coca-Cola are now actually my client at work too! Triple meaning from one 10-year-old painting 😉
This one seems a little silly and ridiculous, and a bit childish, but I have a flannelette pillowcase from my old bed at my parents’ house that is just the softest warmest thing. Whenever I feel homesick I put it on my pillow and it makes me feel like I’m home again when I’m sleeping.
Your dressing gown
I didn’t actually bring this with me as it’s super bulky, but it’s very light so my mum sent it to me in the post and I’ve used it WAY more than I ever did at home! It’s just like a warm hug and if you’ve had a crappy day, it feels blissful to have a hot shower then wrap up in your dressing gown in-front of Netflix!
A childhood object
It could be anything at all! I have a stuffed Eeyore I’ve had for years, my housemate has Lego that he builds when he’s stressed, and a work colleague has a stuffed bear! It could even be a family board game – which is a great way to get people together, whether it’s hostel-mates, new housemates, or new colleagues and friends.
Letters and cards from friends and family
I have a couple of cards sat on my dresser from close friends and family, and they’re just nice to have and remind me that I’m loved. I also love just seeing my Mum and Nan’s handwriting. Sad, eh? As an expat you need that kinda stuff though!
A favourite book
Books are heavy, so are pretty difficult to move with when you have limited luggage allowance. But always take your absolute favourite book: the one you can read over and over again and never get bored of, and the one that you can feel your heart skip with every turn of the page.
Tell me, what personal items did you take with you when you moved abroad?