ROOTED Worldwide

TIPS FOR BEING ROOTED ON THE GO.

Pack-worthy essentials to help give you a sense of stability and home while living up-rooted and traveling around the globe.

How important it is to find your roots while drifting over land and sea. It is hard enough to live out of a suitcase while living in the in-between. Some days you just crave the crash on your own pillow at home, the smell of your laundry detergent on your favorite sweater, or the simple feeling you get when passing through the doors of a home your soul knows.

Below are my necessities to help ground and settle my spirit while wandering and living without roots. 

 

·       Unpacking – I always say ‘Home is where I unpack.’ A simple rule of thumb I follow is to always unpack when I’m staying somewhere for more than two nights. It just helps you to drop into your space, experience it more deeply and feel like ‘this is my home; this is where I reside; this is where I lay my head; this is where my things are.’

·       Traveling Altar –  It’s your sacred space that holds the treasured things that keep you connected and rooted. They can be gifts from friends, photos of loved ones, trinkets from places of significance to you, statues or books of your spiritual path. They’re reminders of memories, of things that you’ve loved, and anywhere there has been any unfurling of the heart. This curated collection of objects represents the essence of your being and your home in this new space. I have mine wrapped up in a silk bag and I unpack it and set it up on a small table, empty shelf or even the floor of the room I call home at the moment. I like to have it in a place where I can set up my yoga mat and practice or even just sit in front of it for a meditation or prayer on my journey. I do this when I go to new places – places of the unknown.

o   Some examples of the items I have on my alter right now: a little rose pin from my mom, a small Buddha statue from India, an olive wood cross from California, a Ganesha statue from Indonesia, a silk scarf and mala from the Dali Lama, a seashell [“the eye of Lucia”] plucked from the Amalfi, a shell from Spain, a piece of volcano from Iceland, a bead from Kenya gifted from a dear friend, an amethyst crystal, a photo of my daughter Mila from her birth, a postcard from a friend, A tiny wooden elephant from Thailand, broken travel bracelets from adventures past, a picture of my husband Swiss and the one remaining earring from a pair that he gave me early in our relationships as his first gift while we were in Belize.

·       Traveling Candles – if you can handle the weight of packing a candle, lighting a fire can feel like home and can be an important element in your spiritual travel alter. 

·       Clary Sage – Smudge Sticks (preferably white sage from California) – these clear impurities in the air, detoxify and rid a space of bad energy. Light them, get them smoking and walk to each corner of the room a couple times or around a space or person.

lite one end with fire, allow to burn for a moment before blowing out the flame and just smoke remains. Smudge it out on a plate when finished "cleaning".

lite one end with fire, allow to burn for a moment before blowing out the flame and just smoke remains. Smudge it out on a plate when finished "cleaning".

·       Traveling Yoga Mat – I have an ultra light travel mat by Manduka that I bring with me. It’s yours, you sweat on it, and it is there for you when your ready. Whether you leave your mat laid out on the floor all day or fold it up when your not using it, the mat invites you in to practice, like the pot call the cook to the kitchen. Sometimes we need the reminder to drive up the intention.

·       Measuring Cups – I always travel with American measuring cups! If I get homesick and call my mom to make her buttermilk biscuits, I can save a lot of time and energy by using these tools rather than converting the ingredients to metrics and finding that they never turn out the same. There are some great plastic collapsable ones out there too.

·       Multiple Journals – I love a good Moleskin. But the Apica Note Book brand is one of my favorite. They’re thin, so I can have multiple for different topics, whether spiritual outpouring, family travel ideas, work-related projects or something pertaining to my daughter. I’m a Pisces so I like to have a daydream journal of things I want to do or envision doing in the future. There’s no rule that journals need to be filled cover to cover. I have lots of half empty journals, and each one tells a tale of my past.

·       For traveling with a child – In terms of traveling with a child, bringing certain snacks, books, and stuffed animals that are reminiscent of home is really important. At two, my daughter isn’t really attached to one thing in particular, but having an essence of home is something that comforts her and gives her a sense of place regardless of where we are in the world. This of course, means I have to bring many items on a  trip as opposed to just one important one. 

Green Grün - Muffins -

"bear-geh", in Swiss German"

"ber-gen, in High German"

My father in law patiently explains to me the difference in pronunciation of the word Berg (meaning mountain). I tend to roll my R's too Spanish-like, and I silence my ending vowels too French-like. I am a bit of a mess in learning the ropes and etiquette of Swiss German, all the while enrolled in a Babbel online course of High German. After 4 years of high school french, 8 years of travel to and living in Spain or Latin America, Learning Arabic and Italian for work, and spending loads of time in SE Asia. I end up marrying a Swiss man, and moving to Switzerland. Where I need to speak not only German, but the slightly more rolling, jumpy, and throaty neighbor- Schwiizerdütsch. 

Integration into a new language in a new land is always overwhelming at first, but it will get better. It always does. The saving grace to my constant frustration in language blending is that my 2 year old is fearless in her new language. Yes, she has heard it since birth from her father, but there is a courage that I see in her as she pushes through and attempts her words with family and strangers that I admire so.  

I would not say that I am "good" at learning languages. In fact, I'm terrible and lazy. Plus since I am on the move a lot, I have a much harder time to transition back and forth. Or maybe thats just a good excuse, no? dang.

Here are a few tips I TRY to keep with while adapting to new languages and picking up the ropes:

Rule of 3: I give myself the challenge of new 3 words or rules per day. This is a trick I picked up when I moved to Spain in my early 20's. I thought my Mexican kitchen Spanish could pull me through. But alas, I was completely unprepared for spain. 3 new random words or rules or phrases per day and repeat them as much as possible. 

Repeat, repeat, repeat: Whatever it is that you know and feel comfortable saying. Say it out loud and over and over again. In public or alone. Just keep repeating what you know.

Take a course: Even online, even if it's just 10 minutes a day or 10 minutes a week. Make progress and show others that you are trying to break through and become more confident in speaking their language.

Write it and read it: I need to see the word and even write it down a few times for it to log properly in my language memory bank. The image of the word arrives in my brain before I speak it. If I don't ever see the word written (and know that Swiss german is not a written language... save me) then I've noticed how much harder it is for me to remember the pronunciation.

Accept the challenge: Allow others to challenge you by not speaking your native language all the time when you know they can. 

Talk to small children: My 3 year old nephew has taught me more than any book so far. His language is slow, without slang, simple, and often does that adorable toddler-sentence-repeat-thing. This is golden for me.

*Side tip for saddling up your language skills before a trip- If it's just a vacation or quick trip your embarking on, then it's always good and polite to have a few language tricks up your sleeve. My rule of thumb is to always know and feel skilled with pronouncing a few basics. 

Hello. How are you? Thank you. Your welcome.

Thank you very much - great for when you want to show someone that you are not just on autopilot with your gesture of gratitude.

I'm sorry/Pardon me. How much?

This. That. Here. Yes. No -These are really all you need to know when buying food or goods at a market stall. I use these a lot.

Beautiful/Cute - as a compliment for someones child, a helpful stranger's gorgeous purse, or the cute guy at the coffee shop. All are needed, am I right?

And heres a recipe for green banana muffins that my toddler is devouring these days which gives me immense joy to see something green entering her body when normally all she will eat is bratwurst and fresh bread.... But who can blame her when Switzerland can basically turn any Atkins dieter into a bread believer. I mean.... brot gläubiger.

Banana Spinach Muffins, that just so happen to be vegan

Note that you can use all purpose flour instead of spelt, or even half all purpose and half whole wheat flour. You can also replace the almond milk for any variation descending from animal or nut. I am a strong believer in topping all cakes with a crumb topping, but feel free to omit. You'll regret it. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or other)
  • 1 (6 ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
  • 2 mashed banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Crumb Topping. Mix all together and hold in the fridge until ready.

  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar (or brown)
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 T melted coconut oil (or butter!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl: flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, place oil, milk, and spinach. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely puréed. Add banana and vanilla; blend on low just to mix.
  4. Pour puréed mixture into dry mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined.
  5. Fill muffin cups about ⅔ full, top with about 1 T worth of crumble per muffin and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

love from a very green Switzerland.