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HOW TO FEEL AT HOME WHEREVER YOU GO: ADVICE FROM AN INTERIOR DESIGNER

*This blog post is written by Mariana Jaramillo, architect and interior designer and participant in Rooral Benarrabá & The Break Fellowship in Spring 2023.


In recent times, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic, where individuals have reevaluated their career choices and reconsidered their work-life balance, a growing number of people and organizations have embraced the concept of remote work.


The rise of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and individuals working for diverse businesses has led to the emergence of a new breed known as digital nomads. The term itself, "digital nomad," conveys the idea that these individuals are in constant motion, unbound by a fixed location.


However, digital nomads and remote workers face significant challenges that may not always be straightforward. They are tasked with living within the confines of their luggage and adapting to diverse environments, including different living spaces. Overcoming these challenges requires finding ways to make any location feel like home.


First and foremost, it's essential to redefine the concept of "home." Rather than confining it to a physical house, home can be a feeling, it can be the place you grew up, it can be your family and friends, and even certain foods. For me, home is a broader idea and feeling that you can tune into wherever you are. 


For those living remotely or far from their familiar surroundings, creating a sense of home involves incorporating elements that evoke positive memories. Here are five little hacks for remote workers to feel at home wherever they go:


  1. Special Items: In this category you can include anything that is special to you, that has a sentimental value and that reminds you of loved ones or cherished moments. For example, something that your grandma left you, something you bought with someone special, an item you found while traveling to a place dear to you,  or any other thing that connects you to joyful moments.

  2. Smell: Did you know that the sense of smell is one of the strongest ones for triggering memories? You can use scents that remind you of your childhood home or places that you love. For example, you can use the same washing detergent that your mother used at home or the same kind of incense connected to a place sacred to you.

  3. Taste: Revisit the past by recreating tastes associated with positive emotions. Cook or bake dishes you shared with loved ones, using familiar recipes to evoke a sense of connection even from a distance.

  4. Sounds: Music and sounds can be used to bring us back into feeling a sense of home. You can use songs that remind you of specific places or people, as well as nature sounds from locations that resonate with you. All of this also has the added value of being a great tool for relaxation and mindfulness. 

  5. Activities: Lastly, you can foster a sense of home by engaging in activities that connect you with others. Sharing a meal, enjoying good music, and exchanging stories with fellow remote workers can create a communal atmosphere that enhances the feeling of being at home.


Ultimately, many things can be done wherever you are to foster a sense of familiarity and recall fond memories. Our experiences shape our memories, and those memories, in turn, form the foundation of our lives.


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